Kirkcaldy nuclear veteran damages claim dismissed

Dave Whyte, a Christmas Island Nuclear testing veteran, who has been fighting the M.o.D. for compensation - at home in Blackcraigs, Kirkcaldy
Dave Whyte, a Christmas Island Nuclear testing veteran, who has been fighting the M.o.D. for compensation - at home in Blackcraigs, Kirkcaldy
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A KIRKCALDY nuclear veteran has voiced his disappointment that his Supreme Court claim for damages has been unsuccessful.

Dave Whyte is among more than 1000 veterans who have been fighting for more than two years through the High Court and Court of Appeal for permission to launch a compensation bid against the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for exposure to radiation and the health problems he experienced as a result. He was one of many who witnessed the British nuclear tests in the 1950s.

But last Wednesday the Supreme Court rejected the bid and said the majority of claims could not proceed. It ruled in favour of the MOD which defended the action by saying the veterans were out of time in making the claims.

Mr Whyte (75) saw two atom bombs and three hydrogen bombs tested on the Pacific island in 1958.

He claims he was left sterile and has had many health problems following the incident.

Mr Whyte told The Press he is determined to continue the fight.

He said: “I have to admit I am disappointed at the result of the Supreme Court ruling. The Ministry of Defence is able to have laws made to suit its requirements such as the law on limitation. They are also able to hide valuable evidence or distort the truth.

“I have been attempting to obtain the radiation levels I received during the time I was used as a human guinea pig, but the Ministry of Defence refuse to divulge the figures.

“I had a lymph node removed at the Royal Air Force Hospital in Aden, the result of this examination has never been revealed and the authorities cannot trace my hospital records. I believe there is a strong possibility my lymph node may be one of those listed on this register, but the authorities are unable to help me.”

He continued: “I also had a blood count done prior to the tests and a further blood count taken afterwards. The count taken prior to the tests is held in my service medical records, but the blood count taken after the tests has disappeared. When you look at all the evidence, it points to a deliberate conspiracy to conceal the truth.”

Mr Whyte said he is still waiting on the result of a tribunal he attended in February in which he took the Ministry of Defence to task for failing to answer questions under the Freedom of Information Act. He is also waiting on the result of his appeal for a war pension.

He added: “I believe I must carry on the fight to have the truth revealed. There are many premature widows with genetically damaged children that are being denied the proper treatment and help they deserve. The genetic damage will also continue through the generations for several hundred years, there are now great-grandchildren of nuclear veterans who are suffering.”


A spokesman for the MoD said: “The Ministry of Defence 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 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. Perhaps of greater significance is that all the justices recognised that the veterans would face great difficulty proving a causal link between illnesses suffered and attendance at the tests. The Supreme Court described the claims as having no reasonable prospect of success and that they were doomed to fail.”


Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance, who spoke on Mr Whyte’s behalf at the Scottish Parliament last year, said he was bitterly disappointed at the decision.

He said: “This is a disappointing result because the case seems to have gone against the veterans on a technicality relating to the time of the action. The decision at the Supreme Court was the wrong one and is a major set back for the families involved. The fight for justice will go on and it is backed by the Scottish Parliament.”