Updated: May 2
Our latest Recognition campaign is only part of our activities across the world. Our goal has always been Education, Recognition and Awareness. For too long the Atomic testing program has been hidden from the public, the test veterans and their families have suffered terribly and continue to suffer today. Many organisations are fighting governments across the world for recognition, health care and compensation.
We are not a political organisation, we are here to ensure that no-one forgets the Atomic veteran community. We are currently campaigning with The Daily Mirror and Susie Boniface, who in the UK has given more coverage to the Nuclear Veterans and their cause than any other journalist. The Daily Mirror have supported many campaigns, news articles and have donated money towards the cause. LABRATS are proud to be standing alongside them and supporting 'A Medal For Heroes' campaign after the AMSC decision not to award the Nuclear Veterans a medal for their service in December 2020, after failing to meet with any veteran representatives.
We have received tremendous support from the community, with many people creating videos and sharing the campaign across the world, we are truly grateful for their commitment to the campaign.
For many veterans, the recognition is too late and they have passed away before formal recognition from the UK Government has been granted. Many have stood outside Parliament, waving banners and placards, demanding justice for the test veterans over many years.
Members and trustees campaigning for justice outside Parliament
'A Medal for Heroes' campaign has been supported by many people, including Sir John Hayes MP, who continues to back the #lookmeintheeye campaign. We thank Sir John for his efforts most recently in the adjournment debate in the Houses of Parliament.
Sir John pictured with Doug Hern and Al Murray in Parliament at the launch of the campaign.
Call The Midwife
The Call The Midwife episode which featured baby Christopher who was the son of a Nuclear Veteran was a fantastic success, raising awareness of Operation Grapple to 7.3 million people. Doug Hern acted as a script consultant to ensure that the story (loosely based on his experiences) was correct, the episode even showed Doug fishing in a small video clip. Our founder, Alan Owen knew about this episode, but due to signing a Non Disclosure Agreement (as did Doug), they could not disclose Doug's personal involvement.
We would like to thank the production team and script writers at Call The Midwife for bringing the Nuclear Test Veterans story into the living rooms of millions of people.
We have many activities planned throughout the year, including a remembrance service in the summer and the All-Tests Reunion in September, the biggest Atomic veteran reunion in the UK, which we are now administering on behalf of Sandie & Doug Hern.
Members of the All-Tests reunion in 2019
Full details of the All-Tests Reunion can be found on our website - https://www.labrats.international/atr
We are working with organisations across the world, promoting their work and showing the devastation caused by the testing program. Our site now has the most comprehensive links to videos, books, research documents and organisations in the world. This is why we founded LABRATS.
There are many organisations across the world, who are undertaking great work, the UK DNA study from Brunel is eagerly awaited, as is the latest UK PHE study, which is being finalised. The National Association for Atomic Veterans in the USA are working with many bills passing through their political system.
We understand that individuals and organisations may not agree with our methods, that they are not 'flag wavers' and we respect that. We listen to are supporters and whilst they are asking us to campaign, we will continue to do so for the veterans and their families. The veterans, our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers deserve it.
In the UK, the community is extremely lucky to have 3 organisations who represent the Atomic Community, all of which offer different services, we continue to signpost to the other two organisations, as it is the Veteran and their family that matter, we cannot provide the financial support that one of the other organisations can and we continue to encourage families to apply to them if they are in need.
Unfortunately, we have come under attack on numerous occasions, most recently a complaint was logged with Companies House. In the words of the CIC Regulator after dismissing the complaint' This complaint was dismissed and did not give rise to genuine and serious concern.'
We are very clear in our aims and goals and we will continue our work, raising awareness across the world, educating people about the tests and ensuring that where we can be involved we will support campaigns for Education, Recognition and Awareness.
If you do not support our work or our methods, that is you choice, everyone has an opinion, but please respect other peoples opinions, especially on Social Media as there have been some extremely nasty and derogatory comments posted recently. We are all aiming for the same goal.
Thank you to the people who have supported the campaign, and to The Daily Mirror and Susie Boniface for their support over many, many years for the community. In the words of Brian Cowden "Give these men the respect they deserve, so they can ride off into the sunset with Dignity."
In memory of Shirley Denson, who campaigned for recognition.
On meeting the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, she opened the meeting by telling him:
"You are the man who is responsible for killing my husband."
Her granddaughter Samantha Karioli said:
"She neve gave up fighting for recognition and nor will we."