UK Veterans To Receive Recognition After Running Nuclear Test Medal Campaign For Years


UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – The government has announced that veterans of Britain’s nuclear test program will be presented with a newly designed medal in time for Remembrance Day. The Nuclear Test Medal, which has been released 70 years after the first test, will be available to approximately 22,000 eligible individuals.

After years of campaigning by veterans and charities, Downing Street agreed to the creation of the medal in November. Alan Owen, the founder of the Labrats charity, expressed his belief that the design represents a significant milestone in recognizing the contributions of veterans.

Testing Of Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs Started Back In 1960s

During the 1950s and 1960s, around 40,000 British personnel participated in the testing of atomic and hydrogen bombs. It is estimated that approximately 2,000 veterans are still alive today. The medal can also be awarded posthumously to the legal next of kin of deceased veterans.

The unveiling of the medal’s design comes after a prolonged struggle for recognition by veterans and their families. They have asserted that exposure to nuclear tests resulted in cancer, premature deaths, and health issues among thousands of participants, as well as affecting their families.

By addressing the grammar and spelling errors, and enhancing the language and tone, the revised passage now presents a more polished and professional account of the topic.

The government announced that the first medals will be made available in time for Remembrance Sunday on 12 November.

Medals Will Not Be Automatically Issued 

However, it is important to note that these medals will not be automatically issued. Veterans and relatives seeking posthumous recognition will need to apply, with survivors being given priority over next of kin.

According to Downing Street, this medal serves as a commemoration of the remarkable contributions made by members of the armed forces, scientists, and local employees from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Kiribati.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace expressed his delight in acknowledging the invaluable contributions made by veterans to the safety and security of the United Kingdom.

The design of the medal showcases an atom surrounded by olive branches, with the words “Nuclear Test Medal” inscribed. On the other side, King Charles is featured.

Overall, this medal serves as a symbol of gratitude and recognition for the individuals who have played a significant role in the nuclear tests, ensuring the safety and well-being of our nations.

Nuclear Test Veterans To Get Acknowledgment After Years 

Mr. Owen, whose father, a veteran, passed away at the age of 52 in 1994, expressed his admiration for the fantastic design of the medal in an interview. He mentioned that they are currently collaborating with the Office of Veteran Affairs and striving to ensure that the first group of recipients receive the award in person from the King. This, he believes, is of utmost importance.

Furthermore, Mr. Owen emphasized the significance of the 30 to 50 nuclear test veterans proudly marching on Remembrance Sunday with the medal adorning their chests.

Previously, the government had rejected requests for official recognition, citing that participation in the tests did not meet the criteria for medallic recognition.

The Ministry of Defence stated that three extensive studies conducted on nuclear test veterans failed to provide any valid evidence linking their participation in these tests to adverse health effects.

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Majority Of The Test Were Carried Out By British Personnels 

It is worth noting that the majority of tests involving British personnel took place in the Pacific, with Operation Grapple being the largest. This operation witnessed approximately 22,000 individuals overseeing the detonation of bombs in 1957.

Maralinga, located in South Australia, witnessed the inaugural test launches of atomic weapons from aircraft in 1962. This historic event marked a significant milestone in the development of nuclear technology.

The qualifying period for the prestigious medal is defined as any length of service. This inclusive criterion ensures that all individuals who have contributed to the test program are eligible for recognition.

In a momentous announcement, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed that these medals would serve as a lasting symbol of our nation’s profound gratitude towards those involved in the test program. 

Their unwavering commitment and dedicated service have safeguarded peace for the past seven decades. It is only fitting that their invaluable contributions to our safety, freedom, and way of life are duly acknowledged through this esteemed honor.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.