Christmas island 1956-1959

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by juliahambly1, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. juliahambly1

    juliahambly1 Junior Member

    Hi my Dad was in Christmas Island between 1956-1959 during the Nuclear testing and I would like to find any information about him and his regiment while they were there.

    His name is
    Royston George Govette Hambly
    Royal Army Cordanants
    A company
    16 Battalion
    No: 23461120

    Any information would be appreciated.

  2. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Hello Julia and welcome to the forum. Best of luck in your quest.

    Note: I have moved this to the Postwar Section as it refers to 1956-59. Its a more relevant forum
  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    Is your fathers unit correctly spelled as I have no hits when searching the internet.

  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  5. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Hello Julia,

    Welcome to the forum and wishing you luck with your research

  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Royal Army Cordanants
    Saying that out load makes me think some one is confused and means this.

    Royal Army Ordnance Corps
  7. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Three casualties found on the AFM search engine for Christmas Island, '57 - '59. All buried at sea.
  8. juliahambly1

    juliahambly1 Junior Member

    Yes sorry all spelling mistake

    Royal Army Ordanants.

  9. juliahambly1

    juliahambly1 Junior Member

    Hi Andy

    Not sent for his service records yet but that is my next step me thinks. Thanks for help.


    P.s. Still cant spell the Ordnance Corps.
  10. Martin Elliget

    Martin Elliget Senior Member


    The series of tests at Christmas Island were called Operations Grapple X, Grapple Y and Grapple Z (the first series of tests named just Grapple were at Malden Island). See the summary at the bottom of this website:

    Britain's Nuclear Weapons - British Nuclear Testing

    The dates for the individual tests were:

    8 Nov 1957
    Grapple X, Round C, 1.8 Mt Airburst over ocean

    28 Apr 1958
    Grapple Y, 2 Mt Airburst over ocean

    22 Aug 1958
    Grapple Z, Pennant 2, ~1 Mt Balloon-burst over land

    2 Sept 1958
    Grapple Z, Flag Pole 1, 2.5-3 Mt Airburst over ocean

    11 Sept 1958
    Grapple Z, Halliard 1, 2.5-3 Mt Airburst over ocean

    23 Sept 1958
    Grapple Z, Burgee 2, 1 kt Balloon-burst over land

    If you search the National Archives (UK) catalogue for GRAPPLE, it returns 389 results. There may be something there, though nothing for free.

    Some hits also come up on the National Archives of Australia for GRAPPLE and also CHRISTMAS ISLAND and some of these are free (viewable online). Many of these were top secret at the time. Not sure if you'll find anything relevant but may provide some background. Note, you'll often find these files in reverse chronological order.

    Title: Operation Grapple- Security Classifications (5 pages)

    Title: Operation Grapple. File no. 1 (217 pages)

    Title: [Department of Supply] AWTSC [Atomic Weapons Tests Safety Committee] - Papers published in 1957 - Fallout from operation Mosaic 1956 and Fallout from Christmas Island 1957 (113 pages)

    Title: UK megaton tests Christmas Island 1958 [atomic testing] (71 pages)


  11. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    A dangerous place to be for those who had to "witness" the tests.I have a friend who was the the army and was such a "witness' of these tests on Christmas Island.He developed skin cancer on his face which had to be surgically removed.I told him to get into touch with the relevant veteran's association regarding his case.

    Was at school with a lad who was the co pilot on both drops of the H Bombs.
  12. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Incredibledisc likes this.
  13. Carrie Wingfield

    Carrie Wingfield New Member

    Dear Sol

    My name is Carrie Wingfield, I am a Nurse Consultant specialising in skin cancer, I am writing a medical article about an ex Royal Marine who has kindly given permission for me to tell his story after serving on Christmas Island during Operation Grapple. He has developed multiple skin cancers over the years as a result of his service to country. the pictures you have posted are so good and I wondered if you would give permission for me to use a couple of them for my publication. They would be published in a journal called Dermatological Nursing which is affilitiated to the British Dermatology Nursing Group, this is a charitable group run by nurses providing education across the UK.
    Best wishes
    Carrie Wingfield
  14. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Hi Carrie

    I'm sorry but these are not my photos. These are photos from the site I linked in my post. You can try to contact Jane Resture ( who seems to be owner of the domain Jane's Oceania Home Page. Maybe she could help you with copyrights.

    Best Wishes
  15. Carrie Wingfield

    Carrie Wingfield New Member

    Many thanks for your reply, I will contact Jane.
    Best wishes
  16. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    BBC Radio 4 - Lights Out, Series 4, Fallout

    Lights OutSeries 4 - Episode 1 of 4

    The image of the atomic mushroom cloud is powerfully symbolic, yet the grainy black and white footage that we're familiar with can create a sense of something historical, abstract and almost cinematic.
    The legacy of the UK's atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in Australia and the South Pacific is still, to some degree, shrouded in mystery. But for veterans and their offspring, as well as often forgotten islanders, these events are something very present that they carry with them everyday in an ongoing fight for acknowledgement.
    This documentary brings together these interconnected, intergenerational testimonies and considers the possible physical, psychological and cultural fallout that has occurred in the years following Operation Grapple on Kiritimati (then Christmas Island) and the Minor Trials in Maralinga.
    With contributions from Tekaobo Wainwright, John and Laura Morris, Steve Purse, Philomena Lawrence and Stacy & Rose Clark.
    Producer: Hannah Dean
    Consultant: Becky Alexsis-Martin. and additional research from Susie Boniface
    A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

    See also "other" thread : Christmas Island

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