A SCIENTIST'S incredibly rare photo album of the controversial British nuclear tests during the Cold War has come to light following his recent death.

Stan Bowyer, a D-Day veteran who went on to work at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, took his own snaps during the testing in the Pacific Ocean in the late 1950s.

His black and white pictures include one taken at ground level of a huge explosion from a thermonuclear blast in the distance.

Another taken from an aircraft shows the giant mushroom cloud from an explosion rising into the sky.

And there are also pictures of revered scientists Julius Openhaimer, the American physicist who helped create the world's first atomic bomb, and British scientist William Penny.

The photos were taken on Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean in 1958 during Operation Grapple which was a series of four nuclear bomb tests.

The mission was Britain's effort to keep up with America and the Soviet Union in nuclear armament.

Almost 14,000 British servicemen took part in the testing program.

Many veterans later contracted cancer thought to be related to the radiation exposure. Studies have also shown those involved passed on the effects of radiation poisoning to their children.

There are thought to be around 3,000 of the servicemen alive today but the British Nuclear Test Veterans' Association (BNTVA) believe some 160,000 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren could be affected.

Mr Bowyer died in February aged 94 and his family is now selling the photo album at auction.

Adam Inglut, of Special Auction Services of Newbury, Berks, said: "The album belonged to Stan Bowyer who in the 1950s went out to the Christmas Islands as he was involved in the testing of the nuclear bomb.

"They are his own photographs and are a bit of a one off.

"I don't think that many people had access to such pictures, just a select few. The series of tests were the first of their kind and so this album documents a piece of history.

"He kept the album all his life but has now passed away."

Mr Bowyer, from Basingstoke, served with the 49th Infantry Division known as the 'Polar Bears' due to their service in Iceland in 1942.

He was part of the second wave that landed on Gold Beach at Normandy on June 6, 1944, and was a forward observer for the Royal Artillery.

The men were involved in fierce fighting as the Allies pushed through France, Belgium and Holland, liberating the countries from the Nazis.

In 2015 he was awarded the Legion d'honneur - France's highest honour - for his role in liberating France.

His album is coming up for sale at SAS Auctions on April 9 for £100.