The Air Force Association (AFA) would like to inform its members of an ongoing search by the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association (BNTVA) to find surviving veterans of Operation Totem. The BNTVA, which works to preserve the histories of those involved in British nuclear tests, is currently compiling an oral history project for these unique veterans.
Operation Totem, conducted in 1953 at Emu Claypan in South Australia, was the first series of atomic tests on the Australian mainland. These tests were a significant chapter in military history and the veterans who participated are now the custodians of these crucial historical accounts. However, to date, no veterans from Operation Totem have been located for this project.
Given that the youngest of these servicemen would now be 88 or older, the window of opportunity to capture their stories is closing. The BNTVA has done substantial work in identifying potential candidates, including sourcing a list from the Australian National Archives of all RAAF servicemen involved.
“While the Air Force Association is not directly involved in the research or the identification process, we are eager to help by notifying our community about this search,” said AFA Director Communications and Engagement Deanna Nott.
“If any of our members are aware of veterans from Operation Totem, or if you have the means to assist in identifying these individuals, we encourage you to come forward.”
The collection of these oral histories is not only a tribute to the service of these veterans but also a critical effort to preserve their experiences for future generations. The BNTVA and the AFA believe it is imperative to acknowledge and record the contributions and sacrifices of our veterans.
Should you have information that could help locate these veterans, please reach out to Wesley Perriman, Curator of the BNTVA, at firstname.lastname@example.org