Recog­ni­tion

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - NEWS -

how dan­ger­ous it was.”

A Royal Com­mis­sion in 1984 re­vealed the strength of the Al­pha bomb was 98 kilo­tons.

As a teenager, Mr Whitby had planned to ded­i­cate his ca­reer to serv­ing his county but in­stead the fight he has had to pur­sue in life is the bat­tle for recog­ni­tion: for his own ser­vice, for about 25 other atomic sur­vivors Aus­tralia-wide and for his now-fallen col­leagues.

He be­lieves sur­vivors should get the De­part­ment of Vet­eran Af­fairs Gold Card, which pro­vides free med­i­cal care for veter­ans, whether or not their needs are war or ser­vice re­lated.

The East Fre­man­tle res­i­dent was given a med­i­cal dis­charge af­ter he be­came ill af­ter the ex­po­sure. Some of his col­leagues died be­fore they reached their 40s.

“Out of that party, I am the only sur­vivor,” he said.

“We have spent about $400,000 of our own money on hos­pi­tals for can­cer treat­ments.”

In 2017, to mark the 60th an­niver­sary of the blasts, Mr Whitby went back to Al­pha for the first time to help lay a com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque.

“We were only al­lowed to be there for a few min­utes as it is still too dan­ger­ous, yet in 1958 we were on Al­pha for 10 hours. How we have been treated is in­ex­cus­able,” he said.

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