A NUCLEAR test veteran has welcomed news that his plight is set to be discussed in the House of Commons this week.
Archie Ross, of Oak Close, Church Gresley, spoke to the Mail after it was announced that a debate would take place as part of an ongoing battle for justice by thousands of men left who say they have been left with debilitating illnesses as a result of nuclear tests in the 1950s in the South Pacific.
A motion by John Baron, the Conservative MP for Billlericay and a persistent campaigner on the issue, will help highlight the case of those who watched the mushroom cloud wearing just shorts and sandals.
Mr Ross, who has been battling thefor compensation for 30 years, told the Mail: “I am pleased to hear about the debate in the Commons as we need all the help that we can get.
“We have tried every option that is open to us and this will, hopefully, do us some good.
“I remember the testing as if it was yesterday – it is something that I will never, ever forget. We watched it all and then went back to work.
“I would like to thank John Baron for his help in pursuing this issue, and let’s hope the debate helps us all in the long run.”
After losing a High Court battle, the veterans are still focused on heading to the Court of Appeal with their case.
More than 20,000 men, many of them on National Service, were ordered to witness repeated bomb tests in the South Pacific as British scientists tried to build atomic and hydrogen bombs.
A succession of governments, both Tory and Labour, have denied there was anything wrong with the procedures.
The Ministry of Defence has always acknowledged a ‘debt of gratitude’ to the veterans, but has denied negligence.
Former RAF serviceman Mr Ross claims his exposure to radiation on Christmas Island impacted on his own health, as well as that of his daughter and his young grandson.
The Mail also understands the number of people fighting the case is beginning to fall dramatically.
Membership of the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association has dropped from 2,000 three years ago to just over 1,000 this year.