In a document obtained from the Medical Department of the Navy, dated 28th August 1958 to the Office of the Captain Grapple Squadron, British Forces Post Office 170, following a Freedom of Information request, further evidence that blood tests and exposure to radiation was well documented.
This letter discusses C.A.F.O 81 (Blood sampling) and states:
"C.A.F.O 81 was not re-drafted by this Department, we saw it just before it went to press and as a Tri-Service decision on blood examinations for relief personnel had not been agreed at that time M.D.G. felt it was better to let the Order to go out and include Grapple personnel rather than defer it for a further month which would have meant that quite a lot of people would have been missed if eventually the decision to blood test all personnel was taken. It was on of those decisions that was going to be wrong either way"
Further within the document, discussions regarding the exposure of the servicemen was also discussed:
"The Service Ministries must be advised by the people planning the trails who alone know what they are exposing the personnel in different areas to. I agree that the decision is a Ministerial decision but the advice on which this decision must be based can only be derived under the present circumstances from the people who know what is going on ~ your Headquarters?"
Does this refer to the AWRE and the scientists who planned the tests?
The medical department of the Navy are based in Queen Anne's mansions, St. James Park, London, SW1, who are relying on information passed to them from Christmas Island.
The document also queries decisions made on the C.A.F.O:
"Do you think it wise to exclude personnel in ships? I note you have written to (blank) asking him to have the C.A.F.O amended to exclude temporarily attached ships. I hope the amendment will make it quite clear which personnel in which ships are to have blood tests taken, or some confusion may arise here. I assume this C.A.F.O does not cover R.F.A or Store ship personnel anyway"
Why were ship personnel excluded? Why were temporary ships excluded? Why were the R.F.A excluded? Why were Ship store personnel excluded? They were all exposed during the tests.
On the 14th August 1958, the AWRE/TP Group issued a document to the Trial Planning Officer J.O.C. In this document, they estimate the most intense thermal and blast effects from the airdrop weapon for the location of the rehabilitation party for B-Site:
Blast is acceptable if men are sitting or lying on the ground. Thermal flux is acceptable if men are shielded from the direct radiation and are in addition wearing white protective clothing to shield from the reflected radiation.
Comment regarding blast is as for C-site. protective clothing alone should be adequate shielding against the total heat flux.
Comments regarding both blast and heat flux are as for Northeast Point."
This document clearly identifies the need for protective clothing to be worn in these areas, and for personnel at C-site, the men needed to be shielded. As we know from photographs and the servicemen's oral histories, this was not the case.
These documents from August 1958 clearly show that the AWRE scientists knew of the exposure on different parts of the island and that ship personnel were excluded from the blood tests. A hierarchy of protection had already been established and blood tests were being taken.
The safety and well-being of the service personnel on the Island was already being ignored by the officers in charge of the operation. AWRE personnel in full protective clothing standing next to servicemen with no protective clothing. It seems if you were a scientist or an officer, you were protected, other personnel were not.
The three sites identified in the rehabilitation document clearly state that all personnel needed to wear protective clothing. Clearly everyone was not wearing such clothing and the servicemen were deliberately exposed to extreme conditions despite the medical and AWRE/TP group issuing guidelines for protection.