Cold injuries are divided into freezing and non-freezing injuries and include hypothermia, frost-nip, chilblains, immersion foot and frostbite. Exposure to cold may also induce Raynaud’s disease, Raynaud’s phenomenon and allergic reactions to cold. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, the solicitor acting on behalf of 300 British military veterans who claim to be affected by the condition has raised concerns over training, equipment and aftercare provided to British soldiers.
Nonetheless, a legal loophole, in the shape of the Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Act reportedly eliminates veterans from the Falklands War, and any conflict prior to May 15, 1987, from making a claim.
The aim of the updated act was to offer servicemen and their dependents the suitable of access to the courts in future to sue the Crown for legal fault in cases of death, personal injury or illness attributable to service.
Talking to Express.co.uk, Simon Ellis, Head of the Military Department at Hugh James Solicitors, claimed: “There are a variety of injuries being reported, the primary is a ‘freezing cold injury’ and non-freezing cold injuries.
“Each require cold or wet conditions for the symptoms to first appear.
“Numerous British soldiers would have been affected by the condition, with the assault on (Port) Stanley having to be enacted quickly to avoid cold injuries happening as more soldiers were coming down with the condition.
“The impact can lead to poor performance by the fighting force.”
Speaking of the work his company is doing to assist veterans, Mr Ellis said: “As a firm, we have now been helping military personnel for 10 years.
“A lot of veterans have come forward to us as we have now been coping with such cases, we now have over 300 people bringing cases to us.”
Mr Ellis stressed that, currently, claims can only be made by those injured after 1987, suggesting for Falklands veterans to be considered would take Government laws to vary.
The solicitor said a lot of his clients claim training and equipment provided by the MoD were substandard, and hence led to the condition becoming so common.
Mr Ellis claimed: “The MoD say they take reasonable steps to offer the suitable equipment, yet my clients suggest that is just not at all times the case.
“I actually have clients who were deployed to training cold training exercises in Canada with jungle kits.
“I actually have seen the kit labelled hot weather equipment.”
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Speaking of the goals his clients wish to attain, Mr Ellis ended by saying: “The most effective solution can be seeing the MoD following issued guidance, and seeing personnel giving the suitable training on all occasions, given the suitable kit, on all occasions, and giving the people the complete protection to avoid cold injuries altogether.”
An MOD spokesperson said: “The health and wellbeing of our people is at all times our priority and we offer personnel with the relevant training and equipment they need when training or operating in cold conditions.
“The MOD cannot comment on individual cases.”