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Former soldier wins landmark case over Gulf War Syndrome

London Independent/Geneviève Roberts | November 1 2005

A former guardsman suffering from Gulf War Syndrome has won a landmark legal case against the Ministry of Defence.

Daniel Martin, 35, who has suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, memory loss and impaired concentration since the 1991 conflict, will receive a disability award under the "umbrella term" of Gulf War Syndrome.

He is one of 1,500 soldiers who made a claim for a disablement pension because of the syndrome, which, for the past 14 years, the MoD has said does not exist.

A war pensions tribunal in London yesterday ruled "the term Gulf War Syndrome is the appropriate medical label to be attached" to Mr Martin's condition. The ruling will enable the other servicemen to claim their disablement pensions.

Charles Plumridge, Co-ordinator for the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association, said: "Hundreds of veterans have applied to have the diagnostic label of Gulf War Syndrome recognised. While the Ministry of Defence has said in the House of Commons that they do not recognise the syndrome, the Pensions Appeal Tribunal has ruled that there is enough evidence to warrant the term."
Mr Plumridge, an army reservist called up at the age of 50 to serve in the first Gulf War, has been waiting five years to be granted a disablement pension from the MoD. "A precedent has now been set," he said. "I would expect, at last, the Veterans Agency to accept what everyone else already knows, and grant pensions to the 1,500 veterans who have claimed them due to Gulf War Syndrome."

The veterans claim the syndrome was caused by the many vaccinations they received before combat, including the Anthrax vaccine, combined with exposure to depleted uranium and the pesticides used on the servicemen's tents while serving in the Gulf during the Allied action.

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