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.