‘A lasting symbol of gratitude’: Thousands who took part in Britain’s nuclear test program to receive medal |  UK News

‘A lasting symbol of gratitude’: Thousands who took part in Britain’s nuclear test program to receive medal | UK News

Thousands of veterans and civilians who took part in Britain’s nuclear testing program will receive a medal recognizing their service after years of campaigning for the honour.

An estimated 22,000 veterans and civilians will be eligible for the nuclear test medal, which has been introduced to mark the 70th anniversary of the country’s first nuclear test, Downing Street said.

Those who worked under British command during tests at Montebello Islands, Christmas Island, Malden Island and Maralinga and Emu Field in South Australia, between 1952 and 1967, will be eligible to apply for the medal.

The honor commemorates the contributions of veterans, researchers and local staff from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Kiribati.

Relatives of participants who have since died will also be able to apply to be awarded the honor posthumously.

It comes after several years of campaigning by groups including Labrats International – a charity representing people around the world who have been affected by nuclear and nuclear tests.

A cloud of dust rises from a 1952 British atomic bomb test in Maralinga in 1952. Image: AP
Picture:
A cloud of dust rises from a British atomic bomb test in Maralinga in 1952. Image: AP

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who today attended a memorial event at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, described the decoration as “a lasting symbol of our country’s gratitude” to those involved in the test programme.

He said: “I am incredibly proud that we are able to mark the service and dedication of our nuclear test veterans with this new medal.

“Their dedication and service have kept the peace for the past 70 years, and it is only right that their contribution to our safety, freedom and way of life be recognized with this honor.”

Veterans Affairs Minister Johnny Mercer, who also attended the event with Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, said: “This medal honors those who served far from home, at a crucial time in our nation’s history.

“To this day, the nuclear deterrent remains the cornerstone of our defense, and that is only because of the service and contribution of the distinguished veterans and civilian personnel.”

Read more from Sky News:
England get off to a winning start at the World Cup in Qatar
NASA’s Orion space capsule reaches the moon – for the first time in 50 years

Downing Street has said the first awards will be presented in 2023.

The Government is also investing £450,000 in projects that will build understanding of the experiences of veterans who were deployed to Australia and the Pacific.

It will include an oral history project to chronicle the experiences of those who supported the nation’s efforts to develop a nuclear deterrent.

The project will start in April 2023, and will last for two years, and aims to build an accessible digital archive of testimonies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *