As a young man serving in the Royal Air Force Ray King was sent 9,000 miles on what he thought was a big adventure.
Little did he know that 50 years later he would have serious health problems and a compensation battle with the government.
Mr King, 69, of Sheldrake Close, Grain, has joined hundreds of other British servicemen in demanding a payout from the Ministry of Defence. These men took part in nuclear weapon testing at the height of the Cold War.
Ray spent 10 months on Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean. While there he saw two H-bombs being tested.
He said: “I was posted out there in 1957. We were all so naive, we had no idea the testing was dangerous. I remember we had to put our hands into a machine at the end of each day to tell us if we were radioactive. Then we would all wash our hands in the same bucket.
“They didn’t worry about what we had breathed in and what had been absorbed into our skin. We had no protective clothing at all.”
Mr King and about 1,000 other veterans are suing the MoD for gross negligence and the impact they claim nuclear testing has had on their health.
A year ago Mr King was diagnosed with skin cancer which he believes is a result of being exposed to atomic material.
See Friday's print edition of the Medway Messenger for full report
What do you think? Join the debate. Email firstname.lastname@example.org