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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 20:23 GMT
Veterans hoping for compensation
Service personnel watch test explosions
Servicemen claim they were not given adequate protection
A former Royal Navy diver from Cornwall involved in nuclear tests during the 1950s is waiting to hear if he is entitled to compensation.

Derek Redfern from Newquay blames years of suffering exposure to radiation from the tests in the Pacific.

Many veterans claim they were not given suitable protective clothing during the detonation of nuclear devices at Christmas Island.

Discussions are currently taking place in the House of Lords.

Legal aid

Mr Redfern says veterans want compensation and an apology from the Ministry of Defence.

He is the secretary of the British Nuclear Test Veterans' Association which is battling for compensation for ill health.

Mr Redfern said: "I've been fighting 13 years. For 16 years I was a recluse and I've lost my life since I've been out of the Royal Navy".

The H-bomb tests were carried out on Christmas Island in the South Pacific in 1958 and Mr Redfern says he developed boils all over his skin immediately afterwards, which doctors claimed were caused by prickly heat.

The veteran from Cornwall has also developed diabetes and glaucoma, which he blames on the nuclear tests.

The MoD has always denied that the level of exposure was enough to have caused the cancers and associated illnesses which many of the veterans say resulted from the tests.

Mr Redfern's next task is to try to get financial help from the Legal Aid Commission as the Veterans' Association only has until April to take its case to the High Court.


SEE ALSO:
Solemn ceremony for test veterans
02 Oct 04 |  West Yorkshire
Australia probes nuclear test claims
04 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Servicemen exposed to radiation
12 May 01 |  UK News


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