At the end of July 2017, a small group of British Nuclear Test Veterans journeyed to Paris to take part in the ‘Rekindling of the Flame’ ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe. Among their number was Jeff Liddiatt, former Chairman of the BNTVA.

Jeff Liddiatt at the Paris ceremony

Jeff Liddiatt taking part in the ceremony, Paris 2017 – © BH Associates 2017

This was to be a special occasion for Jeff as it marked the end of his official duties for the BNTVA.

Jeff worked selflessly for the BNTVA for many years, at some points he was the only person carrying the Association forward. During his time as Secretary, he formed a partnership with Nigel Heaps which saw the Association evolve into a Charity and engage veterans offspring culminating in obtaining official recognition of the contribution of our nuclear veterans to the development of the British Nuclear deterrent and the establishment of the Aged Veterans Fund.

Jeff and Nigel established the firm bond of brotherhood between the French and British Veterans. Twelve months earlier, as BNTVA Chairman at the Arc de Triomphe, Jeff and Jean-Luc Sans, President of Aven, signed an accord which launched OBSIVEN as an international organisation of cooperation for the nuclear survivor community.

As Jeff stood shoulder to shoulder with his French counterparts at the tomb of the unknown soldier looking at the flickering eternal flame he thought back to his grandfather killed in action almost 100 years before on the Somme in the First World War, and of friends and comrades blighted and lost from their participation in the nuclear testing program, of those French servicemen and their families, of their loss and suffering, of all loss and suffering, then he stepped forward and placed a simple poppy wreath.

This had been a very emotional and tiring day, a day marking the change in the BNTVA. Jeff, confident that the organisation he had been instrumental in achieving a solid basis for the future, could only go on from strength to strength. Returning to the hotel he looked forward to his next challenge, leading the newly formed Nuclear Community Charity Fund, delivering projects under the Aged Veterans Fund grant into our British Nuclear Community.