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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Veterans feel betrayed by 'final word' decision on historic medals claims

More on the Government betrayal of British Veterans in The Independent by Jonathan Owen and Rosie Shields

British veterans from wars and conflicts around the world have lost a battle for recognition of their service to Crown and country. A decision by Ministry of Defence officials, that only some of the hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who served in conflicts and operations ranging from Aden and Suez to the Berlin Airlift should be awarded medals, has provoked a bitter row.

Tony Morland, co-chairman of the National Defence Medal Campaign, said: "I am, as are many thousands of others, extremely disappointed by the decisions that have made in respect of the medal review. It is completely arbitrary. The whole point of the review was to bring some consistency to how decisions are made and in that they have failed."

Read the full article HERE

The review also concludes that its decision should be the final word on the subject.

"No other historic claims for medallic recognition will now be reviewed, unless significant new evidence is produced that suggests that an injustice has been done"

BNTVA: Apart from Veterans who's lives have been shortened and riddled with illness is the injustice of seeing the heritage of their exposure to radiation causing birth defects and serious illness in their children and grandchildren significant enough?
 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Whitehall medal snub for millions of veterans on eve of First World War centenary

Millions of veterans of the Armed Forces have been denied a medal to recognise their service on the eve of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, The Telegraph can disclose.
Veterans’ groups have been campaigning for a National Defence Medal which would reward members of the Armed Forces who served for more than two years.
 Photo: SPINKS/BNPS

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, commissioned a review in May 2012 into the merits of the medal, as well as claims for recognition by veterans in other conflicts.  The final results of the review, which were published without fanfare last week, found that it was too expensive to proceed with the Medal. 

Veterans groups, who feel that their service has never been recognised by the Government, have long campaigned for a National Defence Medal. 

Campaigners – backed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - wanted the medal to be awarded to anyone who served more than two years national service or for four years service in total. 

In the US and New Zealand members of the armed forces can earn a medal after serving for three years. In Australia the qualifying period is four years. But in the UK the regular servicemen can only earn a long service and good conduct medal for 15 years’ service. 

A Cabinet Office report estimated five million former and ex-servicemen, including two million who did National Service in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, would have qualified for a National Defence Medal. 

The report said that offering a National Defence Medal retrospectively would “deal with past grievances for example of national servicemen, Cold War veterans and others whose service was never recognised in medallic form”.
The report was “out of line with most of those countries with whom we serve closely, although this is consistent with the traditionally parsimonious attitude to military medals which has long characterised the UK”. 

BNTVA :The decisions made on a misinterpreted costings basis from this review, has let down generations of British Service Personnel including our British Nuclear Test Veterans, who were seeking a bar to this medal.  

 Read the full story by Christopher Hope in The Telegraph HERE

Saturday, 26 July 2014

We lost 21 babies: Terrible legacy of nuclear bomb tests for two mothers

More coverage of the real issues behind the story of our Nuclear Test Veterans and their families.

More evidence supporting the need for a benevolent fund to address health and wellbeing problems wrought on British Servicemen and their families.

Blighted: Margaret and Sharon and veteran Michael in 1966 (inset)  
Every day these two mothers live with the tragic legacy of nuclear bomb tests half a world away and half a century ago.
Margaret Pontin and daughter Sharon Harris have five children between them, all with severe health problems.
But the heartache goes even deeper, as between them the women have suffered 21 miscarriages which they blame on a radioactive legacy of genetic damage the Government still denies.
Margaret’s husband Michael Watson was present at half a dozen nuclear bomb tests. He was a national serviceman in his early 20s when he was sent to Maralinga in Australia, where British scientists were testing atomic bombs in the late 1950s.

Read the complete story by Susie Boniface in the Mirror HERE

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Nuclear test veteran: 'We watched blasts in shorts - no wonder two-thirds of my family have birth defects'

The family of BNTVA campaigner Bob Fleming feature in another great article from Susie Boniface in The Sunday Mirror

For decades, nuclear test veteran Bob Fleming believed what successive Governments told him.

The patriotic ex-RAF serviceman accepted their insistence that the blasts he witnessed caused him no harm.

Even as odd illnesses began to strike his children, Bob and his wife June just put it down to bad luck.

But the believing has long been over. Because that “bad luck” has left a ­horrifying 14 of the couple’s 21 descendants – 66 PER CENT – with birth defects and deformities.

That figure is 33 TIMES worse than the national average of around two per cent per family.

Read the rest of this moving article HERE

Thursday, 3 July 2014

PM formally recognises plight of nuclear test veterans as recognition campaign steps up


Coverage from ITV's Carl Dinnen -
Full site with main news video which you will find at the bottom of the page HERE





He was there from February to December 1958, working in the vicinity of nuclear bombs tests.
Wearing nothing more than a T-shirt and shorts, he and other service personnel were told to "look away and cover their faces with their hands," he recalled.
As he shielded his eyes from the blasts, he was able to see the the bones in his fingers, as if he were looking at an X-ray.
Former Royal Engineer Don James, centre, on Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean in 1958.
Add caption
Afterwards he became afflicted with a blood disorder. His daughter too has health problems, which Mr James believes is a result of his exposure to radiation.
He was not the only veteran who worked on Christmas Island in the 1950s whose descendants have suffered health problems. One in three children of former nuclear test veterans are born with a serious condition.
A long-running campaign for official recognition of the "shameful chapter in Britian's nuclear history" and a £25 million "benevolent fund" for veterans and their families took a step forward today when the Prime Minister gave formal recognition to the nuclear test veterans.
I'm happy to tell the House that this Government absolutely recognises and is extremely grateful to all the service personnel who participated in the nuclear testing programme.
We should be in no doubt that their selfless contribution actually helped to make sure the UK is equipped with the deterrent that we need.
Following our meeting I have asked my officials to look again at the specific points and arguments you have made and I'll come back to you as soon as possible.
– Prime Minister David Cameron
Don James, was given this postcard as a 'souvenir' of his time on Christmas Island, when he was exposed to nuclear bomb tests.
Don James, was given this postcard as a 'souvenir' of his time on Christmas Island, when he was exposed to nuclear bomb tests. Credit: ITV News
donjamesMr James, 76, told ITV News he was "very pleased" with the Prime Minister's on-record comments, which he described as "one step forward for us."
He said that the campaign for the establishment of the benevolent fund was now in the hands of Mr Cameron.
"Lets hope he takes it a step forward to follow," he said.
Mr Cameron had been challenged during Prime Minister's Questions by MP John Baron, a patron of the British Nuclear Test Veterans' Association.
The Basildon and Billericay representative had asked the PM: "One in three of our nuclear test veterans's descendants have been born with a serious medical condition.
"Given our cross-party campaign seeks recognition not compensation, including a Government ex gratia payment to a charitable fund to help those in need, will you - following our last meeting in April - now clear the logjam, recognise the veterans and finally resolve this shameful chapter in our nuclear history?"
Welcoming the Prime Minister's comments, Mr Baron told ITV News that he thought the Ministry of Defence was "afraid of accepting liability," which is why the British Nuclear Test Veterans' Association is calling for an ex gratia payment into a charitable fund to "help those veterans and descendants in need."
An ex gratia payment into a charitable fund would in a major way finally resolve this shameful chapter in Britain's nuclear history.
– MP John Baron, a patron of the British Nuclear Test Veterans' Association

Nigel Heaps, chairman of the British Nuclear Test Veterans' Association and son of a test veteran, called Mr Cameron's recognition of the veterans "historic".
We really welcome the Prime Minister's historic recognition of the nuclear test veterans and we look forward to the ultimate establishment of the benevolent fund, which will help address the short-comings in treatments and wellbeing for veterans and their descendants.

The Hansard Record


Q3. [904590] Mr John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) (Con): One in three of our nuclear test veterans’ descendants has been born with a serious medical condition. Given that our cross-party campaign seeks recognition and not compensation, including an ex gratia payment by the Government into a charitable fund to help those in need, will the Prime Minister, following our last meeting in April, clear the logjam, recognise the veterans and finally resolve this shameful chapter in our nuclear history?





The Prime Minister: First, I pay tribute to my hon. Friend, who has campaigned consistently on this issue in the House and outside it. He and I have discussed the matter. I am happy to tell the House that the Government recognise and are extremely grateful to all the service personnel who participated in the nuclear testing programme. We should be in no doubt that their selfless contribution helped to equip the UK with the deterrent that it needs. Following our meeting, I asked my officials to look again at the specific points and arguments that he made. I will come back to him as soon as possible.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Prime Minister Recognises the Contribution of British Nuclear Veterans

Today at 12:12 David Cameron made history as the first British Prime Minister to officially recognise the contribution of our British Nuclear Test Veterans.

In response to a question from John Baron MP & BNTVA Patron the PM paid tribute to the service of our men.

The issue of a Benevolent Fund to support he Veterans and their families is now being reviewed.


Full story Later when Hansard is published.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Veteran Family Health Snapshot

Your help is needed to complete a 'Snapshot Survey' of the health of British Nuclear Test Veterans families.

Using SoGoSurvey we have launched a very quick simple survey that can be completed by any members of a NTV's family tree.

We only need numbers of children within each health category and each generation.

The name of the Veteran and your email address will only be used to resolve duplicate responses from other family members and will not be used in the Survey Report.

The detailed Health Analysis Survey into Nuclear Test Veterans Descendents is continuing but this short survey will provide a much needed snapshot to help our Recognition Campaign.

You can either complete through the window below or click HERE to open a new page