MORE local people have stepped forward to offer harrowing accounts of how they or their loved ones have suffered after being exposed to blasts from nuclear weapons being tested in the 1950s and 60s.

Today, half a century since the fallout from those experimental explosions, a group of former servicemen and women in St Helens are waiting for the result of a Supreme Court hearing.

They are among around 1,000 other veterans fighting a legal case, seeking recognition and compensation from the government. They should know the result of the hearing this month.

The veterans, many of who were conscripts, were told to simply hide their eyes and turn around as the vast mushroom cloud rose into the sky.

Last week, the Star reported the story of Trevor Ellis who was stationed on the Monte Bello island group, 80 miles off the coast of Australia, when the first bomb was detonated in 1952.

A brickie by trade, he was a conscript with the Royal Engineers, when he witnessed the explosion.

The 79-year-old said: “I was about ten miles away when it happened. We were told to parade on deck, so we did, but all I was wearing was a pair of shorts, a hat and sand shoes.”

Joan McNamee has also spoken to the Star about her husband John who was on Christmas Island between 1956 and 1958, when he witnessed the nuclear explosion.

Since he died in 2008 from bone cancer, Joan has vowed to continue the campaign in his name.

She said: “He was ill since he left the navy and always said it was due to the bombs. Only last week I had a letter saying the MOD won’t admit anything. My feeling is that they should have paid out years ago, but they won’t, because the goverment won’t admit guilt.”

Kevin Frodsham, 67, from Moss Bank didn’t witness an explosion, but was stationed in a camp nearby.

He had joined the navy at 15 and was in Maralinga, Southern Australia in the early 60s, where the British carried out several tests over a number of years. For the past three years, he has suffered from leukaemia and recently had brain surgery.

The grandfather of two said: “What I remember, is that it was a really good time. It’s only the bits and pieces that have come up in my life that people have linked my problems with other veterans.

“I never went on about it really because that’s the way life turned out. A lot of people have had cancers more aggressive than mine.

“Because we were exposed to radiation, over that period of time, it’s coming back to haunt everyone.

“I’m concerned that if it’s proven what happened to me was wrong, what about those others in the 50s and 60s, who were directly exposed to blasts?”

Mr Frodsham spent 12 years in the navy, before settling down and having a family.

He worked as a fitter then as a manager at a forklift company.

A spokesperson for the Atomic Veterans Association said they are confident that the decision not to compensate the victims will be overturned. The US, Canada and France have paid their former soldiers.”