Veteran from Pewsey hopes for payout over nuclear testing

This Is Wiltshire: Michael Thompson hopes for compensation for  damage done to him by nuclear testing Michael Thompson hopes for compensation for damage done to him by nuclear testing

Christmas Island veteran Michael Thompson is hopeful he will finally receive compensation for the irreversible damage nuclear testing had on him.

The 77-year-old, of Aston Close, Pewsey, spent six months on the island in the South Pacific in 1958 with the RAF parachute regiment working as a cook.

He believes the radiation caused by drinking and washing in the sea water is the reason his son, Paul, died at just 20 minutes old.

He said: “I can talk about it now because it was a long time ago but at the time it was very painful.

“Afterwards my wife and I discussed trying again but we thought the same thing might happen and we couldn’t go through that again.

“I should have a different life now. I’ll never give my daughters away or play sport with my sons. I should be having my grandchildren around for Sunday lunch but that life was taken away from me.”

A large group of survivors are battling for war pensions and a High Court appeal is under way, which Mr Thompson is backing.

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to consider the veterans’ case for a £25m benevolent fund for sick descendants after a plea by Basildon MP John Barron last week.

Around 22,000 men were sent to witness the test but fewer than 3,000 are alive today. Studies have shown children of British veterans have up to 10 times the normal rate of birth defects, elevated rates of miscarriage and six times the usual amount of leukaemia.

Mr Thompson said: “We’ll see if the wait is worth it but nothing can make up for losing my son.”

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