Sunderland army veteran hopes for atomic bomb testing compensation

George Davies is one of many old soldiers suing the government for compensation after suffering illnessess due to witnessing atomic bomb testing on Christams Island in the 1950's

George Davies is one of many old soldiers suing the government for compensation after suffering illnessess due to witnessing atomic bomb testing on Christams Island in the 1950's

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AN ARMY veteran could be a step closer to compensation over atomic bomb testing after a court ruling.

George Davies, pictured, witnessed three explosions when he was posted to Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean, in 1957.

george davies

george davies

The 75-year-old, from Pennywell, is one of about 1,000 soldiers who believe they have suffered health problems because of the blasts they were exposed to, and are suing the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Their long battle for “justice” and compensation from the Government has moved one step closer, after they won the latest round of the legal fight.

The veterans have been given permission by The Supreme Court to appeal against a previous Court of Appeal decision.

That had backed the MoD’s bid to block attempts to claim damages, with a judge saying the servicemen’s claims were made too and late and lacked medical evidence.

George, who has had two hernias, a quadruple heart bypass, major gastric problems and developed Parkinson’s disease seven years ago, was only 21 when he witnessed the bomb tests.

They were carried out by the British and American governments in an attempt to match Soviet technology during the Cold War.

He said: “If we win the next round that’s good. I reckon I’ll get a letter in the post about it in a couple of days.”

If the claim is successful, the ex-soldiers could win unlimited damage from the Ministry of Defence, who have acknowledged a “debt of gratitude” but who deny negligence.

George went to the Indian Ocean island to work as an engineer for a year, just three months after joining the Army and is angry that soldier from other nations involved have been compensated.

“You can’t explain why we have been left out, when other countries have given payouts and they can’t even explain it.

“That’s the trouble. They’ve just put the blocks on.”

Veterans are now expected to ask the Supreme Court to give them the go-ahead to launch damages claims at a hearing in November.

If they succeed, actions are then likely to be heard in the High Court.

George, who also worked as a welder at Short’s Pallion shipyard, hopes to gain money for his loved ones’ futures.

“Ideally, I’d get the payout money and I’d be able to see the family right for when I’m not here.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho