The Courier , newspaper, UK,
Fife Christmas Island veteran vows to fight on with campaign
By Michael Alexander, 9 May 2013 9.14am.
A Fife Christmas Island veteran who recently won a legal fight against the Ministry of Defence (MoD), has vowed to continue his fight for “the truth”, despite 12 ex-servicemen losing their appeal to be granted a war pension.
Dave Whyte, 76, of Kirkcaldy, told The Courier that, thanks to his recent freedom of information victory over the MoD, he can now “prove beyond doubt” that he was exposed to massive levels of unsafe radiation following the British nuclear tests carried out in the 1950s.
He remains adamant the whole situation is a “cover up” by the MoD to protect the civilian nuclear industry.
Mr Whyte took the MoD to court last year for refusing to supply him with information about radiation levels he and thousands of veterans were exposed to while serving in the armed forces.
The MoD initially said it did not hold the information Mr Whyte sought and could not send it to him under freedom of information legislation.
However, following a legal contest at the Tribunals Court in London, the MoD later admitted the exposure records did exist and sent them to him.
His London solicitors, Rosenblatts, have passed the records to experts for analysis.
However, Mr Whyte is continuing to press the MoD for information on “true radiation doses” recorded on film sensor badges for entry to ground zero just hours after the 1958 atomic test blasts.
The MoD has now told Mr Whyte that while this specific information does exist, it is “subject to legal privilege”.
Mr Whyte, who is among more than 1,000 veterans fighting for MoD compensation, consistently maintains a conspiracy of silence is being conducted at the MoD.
He had hoped his recent legal victory could pave the way for war pension and compensation pay-outs to the families of servicemen who claim they suffered because of exposure to radiation at Christmas Island.
It emerged that one appeal was accepted and one is now the subject of another judgment, but the remaining 12 were rejected by the War Pensions Tribunal after a four week trial in March.
Solicitors Hogan Lovells represented 11 of the ex-servicemen and in some cases their spouses or personal representatives, who had been denied a war pension.
Rupert Sydenham, from Hogan Lovells, said they were “extremely disappointed” with the ruling. The veterans blame ill-health on their involvement in the nuclear tests carried out by the British government between 1956 and 1958.
All of the nuclear devices were exploded in the air during the largest British military operation since the Second World War.
Some 1,200 personnel were stationed on Christmas Island building structures and preparing for the British nuclear tests, and neither veterans nor islanders were evacuated.
The trial heard from a range of experts on nuclear physics, meteorology, epidemiology and medical science to try and determine whether the nuclear radiation caused illnesses.