Press release

Production of Nuclear Test Medals underway ahead of Remembrance Sunday

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer visited Worcestershire Medal Services in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter this morning to see the first Nuclear Test Medals in production.

  • First Nuclear Test medals start rolling off the production lines and will be ready for Remembrance Sunday Parades.
  • Medal recognises the significant contribution of veterans and civilian staff in the development of the UK’s nuclear deterrent programme.
  • Veterans Minister and nuclear test veteran visit medal production in Birmingham to see the first medals being made

The first Nuclear Test Medals have started rolling off the production lines, ahead of being issued to veterans before Remembrance Sunday.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer visited Worcestershire Medal Services in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter this morning to see the first medals in production.

In November 2022 the Prime Minister announced that military, civilian, and overseas staff and personnel who participated in Britain’s nuclear testing programme in the 1950s and 1960s would have their service recognised with the medal, 70 years after the first British test of a nuclear weapon.

The design for the medal was unveiled last month, and features an atom surrounded by olive branches and bears the words “Nuclear Test Medal”. The design was chosen to reflect the multitude of different roles that were carried out by the broad range of recipients.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs visited the medal factory to see the first batch of medals being printed, and stamped a medal and attached a ribbon, ready to be presented to nuclear test veterans in the Autumn.

Worcestershire Medal Services is a leading supplier of medals, honours and orders in the United Kingdom, supporting over 60 jobs in the Birmingham area since 2004. The company has a dedicated team producing many of the UKs most well known medals and honours including OBEs and the recent Coronation Medal.

Nuclear Test Veteran, John Robinson, visited the factory with the Minister to see the medals being produced, ahead of receiving his own later this year.

Many veterans of Britain’s nuclear tests will receive a new medal in time for Remembrance Sunday.

Defence Secretary, Rt Hon. Ben Wallace MP, said:

From the inception to the launch of this medal, Defence has been focused on ensuring that this important group of veterans and their crucial work is recognised.

I am delighted that this medal acknowledges their vital contribution to keeping our nation safe.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Rt Hon. Johnny Mercer MP, said:

It is only right that we recognise the sacrifices of our Nuclear Test Veterans.

It was fantastic to see first-hand the progress made to ensure that as many veterans as possible can proudly wear their medal on Remembrance Sunday.

Squadron Leader John B Robinson, AFC*, RAF (Retd), a Nuclear Test Veteran, who flew Canberra sampling aircraft on Operations Mosaic, Buffalo, Grapple and Antler said:

The news that I will be presented with a medal for my role in the Nuclear Testing means a lot to me and I have been keenly anticipating the arrival since the Prime Minister’s announcement last year.

I will proudly accept this medal on behalf of my co-members of 76 Squadron RAF, aircrew and ground crew, who are sadly no longer with us to receive the acknowledgement themselves.

I am very much looking forward to receiving my medal later this year and enjoyed seeing the first medals in production alongside the Minister today.

Phil McDermott, Managing Director and CEO, Worcestershire Medal Service Ltd said:

The UK medal system is the envy of the world, hard earned which gives them great meaning to the individual recipients. We are immensely proud to be the sole manufacturers of decorations and medals to the UK MoD.

Medals are a vital part of recognition within the armed services. Our part in designing some of these awards and particularly the new portraits of His Majesty The King only build on the pride we all feel within the company.

As part of the government’s efforts to champion nuclear test veterans’ contributions, the Office for Veterans’ Affairs is also funding a £250,000 oral history project. Work by the University of South Wales and University of Liverpool is currently underway to identify and record the life stories of 40 nuclear veterans.

Education organisation Big Ideas, also a benefactor of the OVA’s £200,000 Nuclear Test Community Fund, is working this summer with four secondary schools. The students are meeting with veterans across the UK to produce learning resources centred around their stories.

Published 23 August 2023