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Veteran claims three generations of family left with deformities due to nuclear test radiation exposure via Eastern Daily Press

When Robert Fleming watched one of the world’s most powerful weapons detonate 60 years ago, little did he know of the lasting impact it would have on future generations.

Aged just 24, the RAF serviceman was stationed on an island in the Pacific Ocean when Britain tested its first megaton-class thermonuclear bomb.

Now aged 83, he believes his prolonged exposure to radiation in the following weeks has led to deformities in three generations of his family.

He said his grandson and great grandson suffered problems with their genitals, while his youngest daughter was born with extra knuckles.

In total, he said eight members of his family – mostly grandchildren and great grandchildren – were born with severe health defects.

[…]

Around 22,000 men, many on National Service, were ordered to Australia and Christmas Island in the South Pacific from 1952 to witness the explosion of dozens of atomic and hydrogen bombs.

[…]

In the following years, many reported increased cases of blood, thyroid and tongue cancers, as well as rare blood disorders.

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has always denied blame.

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He was one of around 3,000 servicemen stationed within a 23-mile radius of the planned detonation point.

The men, who were from the RAF, Navy and Army, were given no protective clothing or individual dosimeters to measure radiation levels.

Instead, they were told to sit with their backs to the blast and cover their eyes.

Mr Fleming, who also took part in the Grapple Y test months later, believed radioactive fallout contaminated water sources on the island.

He said: “We used to swim in the sea and in the lagoons, shower in sea water and eat fish that were caught there.

“It was all contaminated, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time.”

[…]

Instead, they were told to sit with their backs to the blast and cover their eyes.

Mr Fleming, who also took part in the Grapple Y test months later, believed radioactive fallout contaminated water sources on the island.

He said: “We used to swim in the sea and in the lagoons, shower in sea water and eat fish that were caught there.

“It was all contaminated, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time.”

[…]

 

 

 

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