Rose hopes to win battle for late husband

COMPENSATION FIGHT: Rose Crompton
COMPENSATION FIGHT: Rose Crompton

The widow of an army veteran from Leyland, who took part in controversial nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s, is waiting to hear whether he will be awarded posthumous compensation.

At least three former soldiers from the Chorley and Leyland area are among a 1,000-strong group fighting a legal case to seek recognition and compensation from the Government.

The legal battle was launched in a bid to gain financial support for the ill-health the soldiers believe was caused by exposure to radiation.

The group of ex-servicemen say their lives were affected after the UK carried out a series of tests in mainland Australia, the Montebello islands off the west Australian coast, and on Christmas Island, in the Pacific, between 1952 and 1958.

The Supreme Court is due to make a decision in March this year, following the over-ruling of a decision which stated too much time had passed to bring a case.

James Crompton, who died in 2005 from heart failure, served in Australia with the Royal Engineers during the 1950s.

His widow Rose, 71, from Jubilee Court, Leyland, said she did not know many details about the operations, but is aware that he witnessed some of the atomic tests.

The couple were married at the time, but wives were not permitted to travel with their husbands to Australia, so Rose returned to the UK from Germany where they were stationed.

Rose said: “I couldn’t go over there with James, and he didn’t tell me about what he saw. He said he wasn’t allowed to.

“I recently got a letter from the solicitor saying the appeal was going ahead and if anything comes of it then I’d be pleased, in James’ memory. It’s been going on for so long now. It would be good for it to be over one way or the other so we can all move on.”

James and Rose had four daughters, one of whom died from leukaemia, aged 32.

Neil Sampson, from Rosenblatt Solicitors, who is representing the claimants, said: “We hope by April the Supreme Court will have reached a decision to allow the appeal to proceed for hearing by the end of this year.

“Claimants are dying at a rate of three each month, so the sooner the Government stops wasting time and money on procedural issues, and allows a judge to finally decide the matter, the happier the claimants will be.”