Sixty years since Britain tested its first atom bomb in Australia, those who witnessed the blast – many who now have cancer – have reunited to talk about how it changed their lives.
The veterans are still seeking an apology from the Federal Government and appropriate health care for them and their children.
Official records say those serving on the HMAS Murchison on October 3, 1952, were 70 miles away when Britain successfully detonated an atomic bomb on the Monte Bello islands, off the coast of the Pilbara in Western Australia.
But to this day, many who were there say they were much closer.
Michael Rowe was on board the ship and remembers the moment the bomb went off.
“We were told to face east, which we did, and then we were told we could turn around and face west and we saw the first British atom bomb go off,” he said.
Mr Rowe is among those who attended a lunch at a Navy base in Sydney with other veterans and their families to mark the anniversary.
“I think it’s an important day in our lives. It’s 60 years after we were at Montebello when the Brits set off their bomb,” he said.
He smiles when he recalls how underdressed they were.
“We were clothed to protect ourselves in a pair of shorts and sandals. That’s all,” he said.
Continue reading at Atom bomb veterans remember life-changing blast
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