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Nuclear Test Veterans scandal continues as children are STILL being born with medical defects three generations via Daily Mirror

The Sunday Mirror today relaunches its campaign for justice for the thousands of men exposed to atom bomb radiation – and their descendants who still pay the price today

For 12 years the Sunday Mirror has campaigned for the survivors of Britain’s nuclear tests – 22,000 men ordered to watch as the toxic bombs exploded.

Today most are dead, having been denied justice by successive governments who ignored their health problems.

But their legacy lives on in the genes of descendants who suffer 10 times the normal rate of birth defects. Today we relaunch our battle for justice…

At first little Ella seemed a healthy baby, and her great-grandmother Shirley Denson breathed a huge sigh of relief.

At last, she thought, maybe the terrible genetic legacy that had cursed her family for 56 years was finally over.

But at the age of six months Ella was rushed to hospital with what could have been a fatal infection. It turned out she’d been born with a dangerous kidney defect – and Shirley knew then their problems would never end.

She says: “I quake with fear every time I hear one of the family is pregnant. I’m so worried about what will go wrong.

“Because of something dreadful that our government did so long ago, sick little children like Ella are suffering today with deformities and ­operations.”

The Denson family’s problems stem from 1958, when Shirley’s husband – RAF ace pilot Eric – was sent to Christmas Island in the South Pacific.

He and 22,000 other men, many on National Service, were ordered to bear witness as Britain exploded a series of atomic and hydrogen bombs in the race to become a nuclear power.

Most of the men were mustered on shore in cotton shorts and flip-flops to watch the blasts, but Eric’s task was to fly a converted Canberra “sniff plane” through the mushroom cloud to collect samples. Afterwards he was sick for days and covered with a rash – a classic case of radiation poisoning.

On his return to England, and unaware of any risk, he and Shirley, who already had one healthy child, had another three daughters.

But Eric began to suffer crippling, ­unexplained headaches, and – unable to stand it any more – killed himself in 1976.


Their second daughter Nicola, now 55, was born with a malformed eye and nose and tooth problems. Three of Nicola’s four children have unexplained spinal conditions.

Another of Shirley’s daughters had developmental abnormalities, and went on to have Kimberley, 30, who grew up to find three of her adult teeth were missing.

Kimberley’s son Jamie, eight, had three sets of front teeth.

Then Kimberley had Ella, who was born with a duplex kidney, with two tubes to the bladder instead of one. She also has a bladder reflux. Now aged 14 months, she has to take daily antibiotics and will need an operation aged three.

As well as four children, Shirley has 10 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. Thirteen of Eric’s descendants – that’s 37 per cent – had birth defects or have unexplained medical conditions.

Granddaughter Danielle, 31, and her four children all suffer excruciating joint pain. Her son Daniel, 10, is only just getting adult teeth but they are so filled with holes he is on daily painkillers.

Danielle has just discovered she is pregnant again. She says: “The babies were all born healthy. I thought we were fine. But as they’ve grown more of a pattern’s emerged. Now I’m pregnant and worrying what radiation might do to this one.”

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  1. yukimiyamotodepaul says

    It is quite unsettling to read what this group of veterans and their families demands. I cannot help wondering what happened/is happening to the residents–civilians–of the test sties, such as the Christmas Island.

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