Family of former Aston Down worker take MoD to court over claims of radiation

Stroud News and Journal: Hangar 41 at Aston Down - one of the two buildings used to store artefacts brought back from nuclear testing in the South Pacific during the 1950s Hangar 41 at Aston Down - one of the two buildings used to store artefacts brought back from nuclear testing in the South Pacific during the 1950s

THE family of Ernest Jones are seeking compensation against the MoD because they believe he died due to exposure to radiation at Aston Down.

Ernest worked as a storekeeper in the 1960s and was responsible for checking in crates and storing them in the right hangars.

He worked in hangar 41and handled crates that came from the South Pacific nuclear testing programme.

In 1991 he died aged 71 after battling multiple-myeloma - a rare form of leukaemia associated with exposure to ionising radiation.

His son Malcolm, 65, who now lives in Malvern, Worcestershire, said: "At the time the MoD brushed it under the carpet but I saw the stuff they had up there and dad said it was from Christmas Island.

"I used to pick him up from work on my motorbike and would go to the hangar to meet him.

"I saw a blue streak missile and crates filled with bits of mannequins. It was like something from a film."

Ernest contracted leukaemia in the late 1980s and spent years in and out of hospital having bone marrow transplants and blood transfusions.

The family have been legally represented for six years and have had their case heard at the High Court but the MoD says it has been too long after the contamination to make a claim.

"Dad didn't know the dangers, he wouldn't have let me in the hangar if he knew," said Malcolm who has a son and two grandsons.

"I want the Government to own up to the fact that both army personnel and civilians were allowed to be contaminated by radioactive materials stored at Aston Down."

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LAWYER Neil Sampson is representing the family of Ernest Jones, who claim he died due to exposure to radiation at Aston Down.

He also represents more than 1,000 ex-servicemen who say exposure to radiation during the British nuclear test programme in the South Pacific has led to ill health.

Mr Sampson, senior partner at Rosenblatt Solicitors, has been battling since 2004 for compensation and recognition from the MoD on behalf of the veterans.

Chronic health problems cited by them include cancers, skin defects, fertility problems and birth defects in their children.

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A SPOKESMAN for the MoD said: "The MoD recognises the debt of gratitude we have to the servicemen who took part in the nuclear tests.

"They were important tests that helped to keep this nation secure at a difficult time in terms of nuclear technology.

"The Supreme Court ruled in March 2012 in favour of the MoD that the claims brought by nuclear test veterans were time barred and declined to allow the claims to proceed under the statutory discretion.

 

 

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