MINISTRY LOSES SICK VETERAN'S MEDICAL RECORDS; Ex-Soldier with 'Gulf War Syndrome' Told Vital Files for His Entire Career Exist - except Those for 1991 Iraq Battle

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), March 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

MINISTRY LOSES SICK VETERAN'S MEDICAL RECORDS; Ex-Soldier with 'Gulf War Syndrome' Told Vital Files for His Entire Career Exist - except Those for 1991 Iraq Battle


Byline: JONNY GREATREX

A GULF War veteran seeking a war pension after suffering from a catalogue of illnesses since serving in the first con-flict in Iraq has told how his army medical records have mysteriously gone missing.

Colin Beswick, who served as a corporal with the 7th Tank Transporter Regiment, made a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for his health notes.

But the 48 year-old dad of two was shocked when the response missed out records covering his six month tour of Iraq in 1991.

Yet the rest of his notes covering his time in the army - from 1979 to July 1990 and from November 1992 to 1994 - were included.

Colin said that when he spoke to an MOD official on the phone about the missing records he was told that they had been destroyed in a fire.

And Colin said he knows of other Gulf War veterans who have been told the same.

Since serving in Iraq Colin has suffered an infection which left him deaf in one ear and he has been diagnosed with Barrett's Oesophagus, a condition where acid burns the lining of the oesophagus, changing their cellular structure and increasing the risk of cancer.

This gives Colin constant heartburn and chest pains.

He has also developed fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition which makes his body ache so much he struggles to dress himself and he has sleep apnoea which causes him to stop breathing during his sleep.

On top of his physical problems Colin said he is battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which causes him to have nightmares and flashbacks.

He blames his poor health on a cocktail of drugs given by army doctors while serving in the Gulf to protect him against chemical attacks.

The conflict has become known as the 'most toxic war in history' due to the high number of soldiers who have suffered health problems.

Colin is launching a claim for a war pension with the help of the National Gulf War Veterans and Families (NGWVF) charity.

"You can't make it up," he told the Sunday Mercury.

"This has really angered me. "They've got everything, except the period I was in the Gulf. "That's the same for loads of people I've spoken to.

"The MOD told me on the phone they had a fire, it is amazing they had a fire for those particular notes and not the rest.

"It is just away of the concealing what happened."

Colin said his PTSD was brought on by his unit's grim task of clearing dead men from destroyed Iraqi tanks on the notorious Basra Road.

"For years I could not stand the smell of meat as it brought back the smell of burning bodies," he said.

"That road was horrific. There were so many destroyed vehicles which had been hit by our aircrafts' missiles. Often you actually be able to make out the bodies but the smell was awful.

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MINISTRY LOSES SICK VETERAN'S MEDICAL RECORDS; Ex-Soldier with 'Gulf War Syndrome' Told Vital Files for His Entire Career Exist - except Those for 1991 Iraq Battle
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