World Bulletin / News Desk
20 year-old Royal Air Force (RAF) engineer Ronald Maddison was killed in 1959 by exposure to what is now known as sarin gas.
Like many service men of his era, he was promised extra pay or days off to take part in the experiment. For 15 shillings and a three-day leave pass, Maddison volunteered.
A volunteer, Alfred Thornhill, had witnessed the death, that took place at Porton Down, Wiltshire.
Speaking at a 2004 inquest into Maddison’s death, Thornhill told those present that the 20 year-old collapsed after drops of the toxic chemical were applied to his clothing.
“I had never seen anyone die before and what that lad went through was absolutely horrific. It was like he was being electrocuted, his whole body was convulsing,” he said.
“The skin was vibrating and there was all this terrible stuff coming out of his mouth…it looked like frogspawn. I saw his leg rise up from the bed and I saw his skin begin turning blue. It started from the ankle and started spreading up his leg.”
Thornhill said it was like watching something from “outer space,” as Maddison’s state continued to deteriorate.
Sarin is now classified as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) by the United Nations (UN).
In separate case study, Schmidt also discovered in 1963 a government scientist had released allegedly “plague like” bacteria onto the London underground. Commuters were never told that the experiment had taken place. The bacteria can cause poisoning, eye infections and occasionally death.
It was alleged that scientists were trying to establish if aerosols traveled via the transport network or the Underground’s air conditioning system.
In 2008, the government apologized for using servicemen as guinea pigs and awarded compensation to 670 of the victims.