Source: “Atomic Fallout”, Vol 5, No. 3, Nov – Dec 2013. pp 2. (Journal of the Australian Atomic ExServicemen’s Association)
Favorable Outcome for War-Widow’s Pension Claim – Operation Mosaic G1 – Nonte Bello Islands, May 1956. Considerable Inflammation of Skin and Suicide.
A RAAF (Royal Australian Airforce) veteran’s widow has a 10 year fight for the war widow’s pension after she successfully argued that her husband committed suicide because of his involvement in the British nuclear testing in Australia at the 1956 ground atomic explosions at the Monte Bello Islands (WA).
The retired RAAF Air Commodore, who was stationed at RAAF Richmond in NSW, was 67 when he died in October 2001 – a death deemed not to attract the $840 fortnightly war widow payment.
But Air Commodore Colin Prior’s widow, Mrs Margaret Prior, refused to give up after initial pension claim was rejected in 2003 and again 2011, stating her husband’s suicide was brought on by the chronic pain of the considerable inflammation of his skin from type of strange dermatitis.
The reason put forward by Mrs Prior to support her war widow’s pension claim concerned her late husband’s grave in nature and disposition skin condition which had been brought on from her husband’s involvement with flying a RAAF Neptune aircraft for tracking duties of the atomic mushroom cloud, after the May 16, 1956 nuclear explosion at the Monte Bello Islands.
Editor’s Note: The Association’s health studies have shown harmful skin problems from RAAF air crew personnel from duties tracking nuclear clouds across Australia. The late Geoffrey Tuck passed away at 37 years of age with every cell of his skin riddled with cancer. Professor Hedley Marston from the CSIRO reported a days after the May 16, 1956 nuclear explosion at the Monte Bello Islands, had deposited radioactivity quite extensively on the mainland.”
The skin condition described has been described in this blog in relation Lallie Lennon and her family. The affliction was and remains – among survivors – commonly reported by other Aboriginal people who were under the clouds from the Totem nuclear tests conducted at Emu Field.