09:26 Tuesday 24 December 2013

Nuke vets in new year court date

Written byROB SMYTH

Archie Ross, nuclear test veteran Archie Ross, nuclear test veteran

NUCLEAR test veterans battling for recognition of their plight are set to get their case heard in the new year.

The dwindling group of men, who say they have been left with debilitating illnesses as a result of tests in the South Pacific in the 1950s and 60s, are set to have their case heard at the High Court in June 2014.

Hundreds of servicemen, including ex-RAF man Archie Ross (pictured), 79, of Oak Close, Castle Gresley, have been campaigning tirelessly for years in a bid to get the Government to recognise what happened to them.

Mr Ross said: “We are not going to let go until someone pays for what has happened to the thousands of people involved.

“We now, and always have had, nothing to lose — all we want is the Government to stand up and take responsibility for the pain and suffering that people have endured.”

Recently, the veterans had their case discussed in the House of Commons and they also marched on Parliament to present a petition urging the Government to act.

Heather Wheeler, MP for South Derbyshire, said: “I am looking for a glimmer of hope that there will be practical measures as well as support, verbal apologies and congratulations to the servicemen involved at the time.”

In 2006, 1,000 veterans attempted to sue the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Nine of these took their case to the Supreme Court last year but lost their bid for damages.

The MoD argued that too much time had passed since the tests for the case to be allowed to go to court.

A succession of governments, both Tory and Labour, have denied there was anything wrong with the procedures.

The MoD has always acknowledged a ‘debt of gratitude’ to the veterans, but has denied negligence.

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