Benfleet Man Witness to Atomic Bomb Tests

On Christmas Island 1958 - 1959

Ernie Rogers joined the regular Army in 1957 and joined the ranks of the Royal Engineers. In 1958 -1959 he along with many other soldiers witnessed three atomic bomb tests on Christmas Island, many of these men have suffered ill health as a result of these tests.

When on leave they were allowed to take a flight over to Hawaii but most of the men didn’t have the money for that, so Ernie and his mate Ken Pile would take an army truck and live ‘wild’ for a couple of weeks away from the army camp.

The Duke of Edinburgh came to visit Christmas Island.

More pages from Ernie Rogers

Teddy boys hangout at Mendozer’s

Dark Lane Caravan site 1961

Tarpots Public house

Our Benfleet home was bombed

Rushbottom lane School 1940’s

Atomic bomb tests on Christmas Island 1958.
Description of the tests, the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh, description of the atomic bomb cloud, clearing up the dead fish and birds after a test, the land crabs that were a pest
Leave on Christmas Island
Taking an army truck to have a few days away from the army.

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  • I also was on Christmas Island in 1958 and witnessed the nuclear tests, Two A Bombs and Three H Bombs in the Army with 94 Coy R.A.S.C. I was a B3 Specialist from 19 Coy Tank TK/TPTR and staff car driver to our commanding C/O. Also drove the scammers with a low loader trailer and ten ton trucks, left the island in Feb 1959. After leaving I suffered with two large tumours to my right hand chest wall, chronic heart disease for which I underwent several operations. I put them down to my service on Christmas Island, having been exposed to ionised radiation and used for experiments unknown to us at the time and without any protection whatsoever.

    By Terry Quinlan (20/12/2020)
  • I, Corporal David Ward, was on Christmas Island 1958 to 1959 operating the largest crane the British Army had at the time which was a 38RB.  The crane was on the docks unloading landing craft that were bringing in supplies from Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, with the help of the Gilbertese natives. We also dredged the approach channel into the docks for the landing craft.

    I worked with the head Gilbertese native whose name was “April”.  Does anybody out there remember April?  I would love to hear from anyone out there that served with me or on the island.

    I am now in the Los Angeles, CaliforniaUSA area and am enjoying relatively good health.   

    My email is:

    My phone number  is 661 666-1968 in the (Los Angeles, California area, USA)

    By David Ward (22/01/2017)
  • Did anyone know my dad Gerald Morris?

    By Kim (22/08/2016)
  • I liked your Benfleet website.

    I was delighted to see the photos of the Duke of Edinburgh visit to Christmas Island 1959 by Ernie Rogers.  I was at the native reception but I was recording the speeches by the Duke for the Christmas Island Broadcasting Service.  I later showed the Duke around the Studios (as a lowly Junior Technician RAF).

    Unfortunately my copy of the recordings got lost on one of my later postings.

    My regards to Ernie – I hope he is well.

    My thanks to Margaret March for adding the photos – well done Margaret – I live in Scotland.

    By John Lynch (12/06/2016)
  • Hi, did any one know my grandad John Walmsley?


    By Damien Walmsley (27/05/2016)

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