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MoD Forced to Pay Pension for DU Contamination

A former soldier has become the first veteran to win a war pension appeal after suffering depleted uranium poisoning during the Gulf War, it has emerged.Kenny Duncan took the Ministry of Defence to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal Service over his claim that he suffered depleted uranium poisoning during active service in Iraq.

The father of three, from Clackmannanshire, served with the Royal Corps of Transport as a specialist tank transporter during the first Gulf War in 1991.Part of his job was to move Iraqi tanks destroyed by depleted uranium shells. Mr Duncan's case relied on blood tests carried out by Dr Albrecht Schott, a German biochemist, which revealed chromosome aberrations caused by ionising radiation. The tribunal found that Mr Duncan’s exposure to the uranium was attributable to his service in the Gulf.

Dr Schott's research formed part of a study of 16 British veterans of conflicts in the Gulf, Bosnia, and Kosovo, which found that they had 14 times the usual level of chromosome abnormalities in their genes, raising fears that they will pass cancers and genetic illnesses to their offspring. Kenny Duncan believes that his children's health problems are linked to his service in the Gulf war. All three were born with deformed toes and low immune systems.

When he retired from the army in 1993, due to ill health, Duncan received only a half-pension. The PATS decision means that his pension will now be reassessed. Duncan said: “It is just a huge relief to have someone in authority say that you have been poisoned by this stuff and that you are not telling lies. It is now time for the [defence ministry] to tell us what went wrong... I doubt that I will benefit much financially from this, but it wasn't about the money, it was about the principle of the thing.”

His wife Mandy said: 'It's scandalous that while we are suffering with the
consequences of what the Government has done, politicians are just thinking about money.'

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Page last updated: January 28, 2003