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Islanders Who Saw Nuclear Tests Receive Medals

Two former servicemen, who witnessed nuclear weapons explosions in the Pacific Ocean in the 1950s, have been given medals by the Lieutenant-Governor.

Gerry Robert and Henry Torode both witnessed separate explosions near the Austrailian Christmas Island as part of their time in the British Army.

Gerry was serving as a Corporal in the Royal Army Service Corps in 1957 when he saw four separate nuclear weapons tests.

The first explosion was 12 times bigger than the atomic bombs that America dropped on Japan at the end of World War 2.

He says that all the servicemen were told to 'sit with their hands on their knees'.

"When the plane dropped the bomb you could see all the bones in your fingers."

Gerry began experiencing physical effects from the tests when he returned back to the UK.

He was rushed to a military hospital following internal bleeding and underwent nine hours of surgery.

He retired from the Army in the early 1970s before moving to Guernsey where he worked as a butcher.

The Nuclear Test Medal

Henery Torode, who receives the same award, served in the Royal Marines from 1956 and was also posted to Christmas Island in 1958.

Henry says he will never forget what he saw.

"‘I remember looking up at the sky and thinking there were two suns. The flames and the fireball were as bright as the sun, if not brighter."

The Lieutenant-Governor says the pair have waited a long time to receive their award:

"We all owe a debt of thanks to Mr Robert, Mr Torode and others like them for the risks they unwittingly faced so long ago"

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