William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

THE ATOMIC BOMB TESTERS

Ken Umpherville is an old platoon Sergeant of mine
He’s been keeping track of the Nuke vets for quite some time
Ken is a Korean War veteran who fought with the PPCLI
He’s been watching his nuked buddies like Pete Mitchell die

These are some weird cancers – many suffer and carry on
Don Bernicky, a good friend – is one who’s now gone
Exposed to large amounts of radiation dust during the cold war
He died without compensation and he was only seventy four

The US paid $75,000.00 to their Military Atomic Test Vets
We had Nevada and Chalk River but our VAC tried to forget?
Our atomic vets tried to sue our Government for compensation
Told that they had waited too long by the courts of the Nation

The ranks of these Canadian victims grows thinner each day
Soon there won’t be any old Lit Up guinea pigs left to pay
Don Bernicky and Pete Mitchell served Canada with pride
They were wounded in action – they suffered long and died

Author’s Note: RIP lads – At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember you.

I knew MWO (DSM) Peter Mitchell and Cpl Don Bernicky personally and served with them in the Battalion, which was my home from 1958 to 1968 when the Canadian Airborne Regiment was formed and I went off to try and help to protect Canada’s Sovereignty over the Canadian Arctic. There are many other nuclear test survivors living in pain. My hat is off to Ken Umpherville whose list of Atomic Bomb Survivor comrades grows thin. VAC is tardy in addressing this blatant oversight (either planned or ignored) and compensation should be made to the surviving Nuclear Test soldiers without delay. They deserve no less – they are our wounded comrades – lest we forget.