Gulf War illnesses - London, July - September 2004
and effects on veterans
Nicol, Flight Lieutenant, 12 July 2004.
Out of those 53,000 personnel something of the order of 5,000 to 6,000
have reported illnesses they attribute to service in the Gulf... We think
that many veterans suffer in silence for fear of affecting their
on‑going service careers. Over
630 veterans have died since the end of the Gulf conflict.
Samantha Thompson, widow of Petty Officer Nigel Thompson, 12 July 2004.
of 85,000 people over the age of 55 you could expect three to be diagnosed
with Motor Neuron Disease. From
the 56,300 British Gulf War veterans innoculated to go the Gulf eight of
them have become diagnosed with MND, four of whom have since died.
Izett, Corps of the Royal
was found to have the very rare illness in young men called osteoporosis
where my bones are actually wasting away.
They are getting worse year to year.
I started off as 25 years old when I was diagnosed with it and I
had a bone density of 68 per cent and I now have a bone density of 54 per
cent. I have since then
broken my ribs, I have broken my kneecap, I have broken my shoulder and
there is practically no chance that my condition is going to get any
Baker, First Battallion, 12 July 2004.
neurologist at my local health authority saw me for ten minutes and said,
“It appears like you have Multiple Sclerosis."
Richard Sharpe, RAF, 12 July 2004.
I found that I was having memory
loss and concentration and I was constantly having to write things down...
I have had irritable bowel syndrome since; joint problems.
Russell Walker, RAF, 12 July 2004.
The early symptoms included
rapid weight loss, no appetite, disabling stomach cramps which lasted for
a few minutes to half an hour, general and prolonged fatigue, lethargy,
lack of physical endurance, headaches, feelings of claustrophobia,
increase in perspiration, being very irritable and moody, bowel problems
that ran from diarrhoea and constipation and vice-versa, lack of
concentration and general loss in confidence…
I have twice the
recommended levels of mercury in my blood. Once it has binded itself to
the muscle tissues, the body cannot extract it from the muscle because of
the binding nature of mercury. So,
the body is constantly being distressed because the immune system is
constantly attacking the foreign matter in the body.
Richard Turnbull, RAF, 19 July 2004.
Two of my electricians
collapsed with high fever and severe respiratory distress.
They were taken back to the accommodation and left for three days
with no medical treatment because the Americans were not to be told what
inoculations we had had … I have suffered five heart attacks and I am
also suffering unstable angina... I
and a lot of other people found that taking these tablets gave us severe
gastric problems, intestinal problems, diarrhoea.
Also people’s moods changed.
You found people becoming very aggressive to one another.
Humphreys, RAF, 19 July 2004.
I had a recurring sore
throat, bad stomach cramps, headaches, night sweats that had a strange
sort of smell, and a numb tingling pins and needles sensation in my arms,
legs and the back of my head. I
constantly felt tired. I
could not eat properly. If I
put food in my mouth I began to heave or threw up.
I did not have the strength, energy or stamina that I used to have.
At the end of a day shift I would go to bed for a few hours
because I was exhausted. I
began falling asleep on nights. I
would go out for a short run and by the time I came back it felt like I
had run a marathon... I left the Air Force in 1992 and since then I have
been sacked from eight different jobs... I would actually put myself in
dangerous situations where I could be harmed.
Paul, RAF, 19 July 2004.
In 1990 my unit was vaccinated at short notice to deploy to the Gulf to
replace units from my base during August 1990... On two occasions I
assaulted two members of my unit. That
was totally out of character for me... I began developing bowel problems,
fatigue problems, concentration and memory problems...
I was given a formal warning for not socialising with my
colleagues... I then absented myself without leave for 77 days... Several
psychiatrists were seen, in excess of eight or nine, and I spent two and a
half months approximately in the psychiatric unit as an inpatient… The
loss of [my] baby [due to brittle bone syndrome] caused my fifth attempt
Capps, Royal Corps of Transport, 19 July 2004.
On returning to the UK I was told that everyone that had known me
beforehand had noticed a big change in me.
I had become very sulky, moody, did not want to socialise with
friends, even in my own home. My
fitness started to suffer. I
was finding it harder to participate in sports…
The following is a list
of some of my problems: arthritis, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel
syndrome, major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder including
paranoia, post traumatic stress disorder, skin rashes, flashbacks,
(low-flying helicopters and shooting stars remind me of Scuds and
Patriots); night sweats, loss of libido, burning semen, mild incontinence.
Just to remind you, I am only 36 years old.
Deborah Capps, wife of the previous veteran, 19 July 2004.
He has attempted suicide on several occasions and has it all planned out,
how he would do it in the future… He takes seven different medications
at the moment, a total of 29 tablets a day; his medication is constantly
changing and sometimes he takes more.
He cannot be left alone at all as he is unsafe.
He has vacant spells and often does not know what he is doing.
He cannot work because of his disabilities…
have severely affected our relationship in the past, mainly due to
Mike’s inability to feel any emotions.
Sometimes the smallest thing will set off a rage.
He has smashed several items around the house, ranging from cups to
knocking doors off hinges… Twinned with Mike’s increasingly
diminishing libido and fear of ejaculation which causes an intense burning
pain, our love life is almost non-existent…
My husband has gone from
being a lovely, caring family man, always game for a laugh, often the life
and soul of a party, to being a housebound agoraphobic who does not care
and cannot care about his own life or the lives of his family. He feels that we would all be better off without him.
He is a young man trapped in the body of an old, infirm man... It
has taken an immense effort for him to come here today...
[We hope that
the Gulf War Syndrome] gets recognised, for our children more than
anything. The future is what
is important now and, like I say, that it is recognized. We [must not]
have to fight all the time to get the benefits we get.
Tella, Royal Artillery, 19 July 2004.
were instructed to form a single file and the medics then administered the
vaccinations... I began to suffer from lower back pain, loss of appetite,
irritable bowel, joint and chest pain. After discharge these symptoms became more aggressive and
frequent. Other symptoms also
developed, such as palpitations, general body weakness, clicking joints,
night sweats and muscle spasms... My arms, my knees, everywhere, every
joint in my body almost, clicking. It
is really sore, especially in the morning time when I get up... Mood
swings have destroyed my family...
Before I came out of the Army – that
was one of the reasons why I have been pushed out - I had rounds in my
weapon. I had rounds taken
off me on guard by my commanding officer who could see that there was
something not quite right.
Royal Signals, 19 July 2004.
I can recall failing an Army BFT three mile run within a few months of
returning from the Gulf, struggling with a tight chest and wheezing and
reporting sick to the medical officer and then being placed on remedial
physical training together with at least ten other soldiers who also
failed the run. Ever since
that time over the years, I am aware of repeatedly catching any cold that
is going which will infect my chest... Throughout this time, I have
suffered fatigue, tiredness and headaches...
I have been seen by
Consultant Physician Dr Chauhan who gives strong medical opinion that my
illness and symptoms of repeated infections, ME (chronic fatigue syndrome)
and ill-defined conditions and hypertension are a consequence of my Gulf
War Service. I have also
recently been seen by Dr Myhill who is a specialist in ME and immune
system disorders. She is
convinced that all of my illnesses are attributable to Gulf War exposures
and that my whole immune system and metabolism have been damaged…
main concern is my breathing, my respiratory problems…
Fatigue. Even on four
hours [work], I was coming home to my wife and two young children
completely worn out... I feel like a 35-year old man in the mornings, and
at night I feel twice my age...
DR JONES: What about
making the journey up to London? Has
that proved a great effort for you?
A. It has.
Avison, widow of a 24-year regular soldier “[who] started off as a
private and worked up to a major”, 19 July 2004.
developed a pneumonia-type illness on 19 January while he was out there,
photophobia and everything like that, and he was treated while he was out
there. It was diagnosed as
bronchial pneumonia, so they started antibiotics... One morning, it was
weird, there was something wrong with his eyes – one was up there and
one down there; he could not see anything and they thought he had a brain
tumour... By the tests, it
showed that he had neuropathy…
way it was explained to me was that his brain cells were degenerating
quicker than they were regenerating and that were was nothing we could do
about it. He could put his hands in boiling water and he would not know.
He would not know the difference until you said, “You have
blisters on your hands.”
Pritchard, Queen's Dragoon Guards, 19 July 2004.
not been able to work for thirteen years and I have been told I will
never work again... There was a job where I took up as a fruit
delivery driver and I lasted there for one day.
The second day I just did not bother going in because I simply
could not handle it... I have just been in and out of psychiatric
institutions for the last thirteen years with these problems.
Louisa Graham, a veteran's widow, 19 July 2004.
like to tell you about my husband who sadly committed suicide in 2002.
He had 21 years' service with the forces and saw action in a number
of places round the world before he went to the Gulf war.
We were married for 23 years so it was not a new situation at
all... He was fit, active, a runner, a windsurfer, a surfer, a cyclist,
he had a long service, a good conduct medal, he never had any
problems, was a very outgoing sort of person.
When he returned from the Gulf he returned very quiet, and
within a short period of time he started to suffer problems.
His speech deteriorated and became very slurred and it continued
like that. He became very
withdrawn. He began to have
memory problems, nightmares, he used to wake up in the middle of the night
sweating so much that we had to change the bed, and in the end we began to
sleep separately for a while ‑ in the same room but in separate
areas - because he just used to absolutely wake up soaking wet at
night. During the day he used to have flashbacks, dizzy spells –
THE CHAIRMAN: What do you
mean by "flashbacks"?
A. Well, it was almost like
waking nightmares sometimes. All
of a sudden something would trigger him and he would literally start
to put his head in his hands and shout "I cannot stand this any
more. They are coming, they
are coming again", and particularly as the second Gulf war started
this became more and more frequent. He
had occasional blackouts... He did have some unexplained rectal bleeding
He destroyed our home and our garden.
He spraypainted every wall, floor, ceiling in the house, threw
bleach everywhere, slashed all the furniture, took everything he could
possibly remove out of the house into the garden and burnt it.
He weedkillered the complete garden which had up until that point
been a real pride and joy to him and a real refuge, and
destroyed it completely…
appeared to be at the spearhead most of the time and on one particular
occasion he went down a road called the Basra Strip which had
recently been bombed which he was absolutely horrified by because he said
there were literally burning bodies hanging out.
As I say he was a very caring man and certainly on his
return the one thing that really hit him very hard was seeing the
children, and certainly he was one of the first people into Kuwait.
He wrote about the oil fires, and he took photographs as well that
he brought back while he was there of the oil fires, and he could not
believe the total destruction that was going on and it weighed very
heavily with him. Once he
returned, within a few months he never spoke of it again.
He would never speak of it again…
SIR MICHAEL DAVIES: How old was he when he died?
Willson, RAF, 19 July 2004.
was the pilots I was flying with that started to report me for all
manner of errors and omissions in the air. Coupled with a whole
series of motor accidents, the Air Force eventually grounded me and
stopped me flying... I was
thrown out of the Air Force on compulsory redundancy even though we were
short of flight engineers. It
was not a medical discharge…
They did discover there that I had
a missing left kidney. When I was at St Thomas's Hospital the
radiologist, who was using an ultrasound scanner on me, called his
colleague over and he said something like "Here's another one".
They explained to me that they were getting a lot of veterans through
with kidney problems. I asked
them what I should do next and they, quite rightly, said they were not
supposed to talk to patients but suggested I had an internal
examination into the bladder to see if there were two feeds coming into
the bladder which suggests there should be two kidneys there.
This was refused by MAP who said it was not necessary. The only
further test they did was an IVU, where I was injected with something and
I then stood in front of an X‑ray plate which gave an image of
my body with a very clear right kidney but a black hole where the
left kidney should be. The consultant wrote a report saying that it
was probably a lesion from birth...
In 2000 I read in a copy of the Sandy
Times (newsletter of the Gulf Veterans Association) a letter by a lady
named Sylvia McCormack. She said that her partner had been diagnosed by
MAP as having a birth defect with his kidneys, but he was now under
another specialist who stated it could not possibly have been a birth
defect. One of his kidneys was the size of a five-month foetus and the
chap had done two and a half thousand parachute jumps which would have
killed him with a kidney like this. I then contacted her and she
said she had already had over 100 Gulf veterans contact her to say that
they had been diagnosed with birth defects in their kidneys by MAP…
When I sit down a lot I get terrible backaches.
Whenever I am on my feet for more than a few hours I find
I can hardly walk. I get
such pains in my legs and joints, my whole body aches, and I get very
I make a lot
of errors... I have blackouts. I have
periods where I suddenly come out of a trance.
I do not know where I am, I do not know what I have
done that day, I do not know what I am supposed to be doing... I cannot
remember what I did in the morning.
People come and talk to me and I cannot remember having
conversations, and because of the lack of memory I become very
confused with the things I do...
I have days when I feel
very confident, when everything goes well for me and I feel I should
be in a proper job, and then I have these breakdowns where I get
overloaded if I try and do too much at once, and I completely
break down and I get into terrible rages.
Humphrey Graveston, Chair of the National Gulf Veterans and Families
Association, 33 Field Hospital RAMC at Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia.
Consultant anaesthetist in the army, 19 July 2004.
I was anxious, I became a little depressed, and a bit
concerned for my future health in general... I received a telephone
call from the brother of a very good friend of mine, my best friend, and
he informed me that my best friend had committed suicide while suffering
from depression. [He] had
served in the Gulf War with 205 General Hospital in Riyadh...
pressure was taken by the charge nurse and found to be extremely high.
I think the diastolic was more than 120... When the day came to
return to work, I could not do so. I
froze and became very anxious... I again saw my GP and a diagnosis of
depression and anxiety was made. I
was started on treatment and eventually returned to work after a
five-month absence... For the
next year I remained at work, but tended to have multiple short periods of
However, during this time my anti-depressant requirements had
increased, as had my anti-hypertensive therapy. In spring 2002 I was on sick leave again…
I would have poor memory and poor concentration, irritability and
panic attacks... It became obvious to me at that time that my anaesthetist's
career was over…
THE CHAIRMAN: A number of veterans were giving their
primary symptoms as something like asthma, shortage of breath; and others
were saying that their primary symptoms were muscular – either their
backs were bad or their joints were aching.
Is the Dr Haley theory that that could all be due to damage to the
Mates. From her written
statement to the Inquiry about her brother, Paul Carr, who died in August
of 1997, 19 July 2004.
He told us that he had received a concoction of drugs, including the
anthrax injection and NAP tablets... When Paul came out of the Army his
moods became very upsetting for the family.
He was very agitated and would often snap at the lightest of
things, which was very out of character.
Paul started to become ill after around nine months of leaving the
Army. It started with slight
rashes over his body, then he had convulsions...
The doctor told our
parents there was a problem in Paul’s brain, which was best left alone.
Paul was admitted to Monsall Hospital for over six weeks with a
rash all over his body, and at one point he had lost 50 per cent of skin
through an unknown allergy according to the doctors.
Paul suffered from many rashes in the following years and started
to fit a lot more often. He
was put on medication for the fits, and steroids for the unknown rashes,
and as a result of the steroids Paul began to have problems with his
bones. He started to walk
with a limp...
He was told he had a brain tumour and was given
radiotherapy. The doctors
told him he had probably had it for about two years.
The radiotherapy did not work so Paul then received chemotherapy.
The doctor told Paul there wasn’t much more they could do for him
and he was given between 6-12 months to live.
Bristow, military warrant officer theatre technician and combat medical
technician, both Class 1, 19 July 2004.
In 2002 I was tested by Professor Albrecht Schott for chromosomal
aberrations, basic biological damage caused by depleted uranium. I showed the highest level of damage of all those tested... I
was showing readings in 2002 of three times the biological damage than the
firemen that attended the Chernobyl disaster, and they were tested at the
time of the disaster, not 11 years later…
I do have memory problems... I have got loss of hearing, double
vision, loss of peripheral vision, excessive thirst, difficulty in
breathing, concentration problems, high blood pressure, pain in the
muscles and joints that are described as fibromyalgia... I had to give up
driving because of poor concentration.
Oh, and the other thing I suffer from is fits and black-outs and
involuntary movements... I was diagnosed with lymphoma.
It was later downgraded to monoclonal gammopathy of unknown
I asked Dr Chris Busby, who is on the Government’s
Depleted Uranium Oversight Board. An extract of his reply is:
“You have received a hefty dose of ionising radiation.
Such doses are capable of causing serious biological and clinical
harm. This suggests that you
have some material in you that is continuing to cause this level of
chromosome damage and has been causing this damage since you were first
In my view, this can
only be insoluble depleted uranium particles trapped in your body,
following your exposure in the Gulf War 1991.
This is supported by the measurements made by the Uranium Medical
Project and published on 15 March 2000, which showed that there was
measurable DU in your urine”... From the Imperial Cancer Research site,
I quote: “MGUS is a
condition related to myeloma. MGUS,
like myeloma, is most common over the age of 70 years.
Causes: The only
well-established associations are with radiation…
Among atomic bomb survivors the relative risk of developing myeloma
increased with the radiation dose.”
I was about 42 at the time of my diagnosis...
I use a wheelchair when I am out for a long time so I have support
for my neck, in particular if I am going great distances…
All of my friends that I made in the Gulf are either ill or dead.
My best friend, who I palled up with for buddy-buddy, when you are
checking each other’s gas mask, was one of the first to commit suicide
on his return.
THE CHAIRMAN: What
was his name? (Pause) [the
witness breaks down] It
escapes you for the moment. Never
mind. Mr Bristow, may I say
again that we are very, very grateful for your help.
I am sorry to have asked you so abruptly for his name.
Perhaps you could include it with the remaining documents you are going to
send to our secretary.
THE CHAIRMAN: At any rate, he
was one of a number of your friends who are no longer here or still ill.
Thank you so much.
RAYMOND BRISTOW. [His
name was] Mick Charman.
Janet Mary Calvert, wife of a metereologist in the RAF, now affected by
dementia, 19 July 2004.
He had memory problems and did not remember things well enough... he
thought it was the NAP tablets and possibly the innoculations they were
given before the war... He began having tingles through his body, and
eventually in March 2000 he had his first epileptic seizure... He could
not work any more; it was impossible – he could not concentrate.
He could not remember things...
His whole nervous system seems to
have been affected in one way and another.
When he had these tingles, he would say it went right through him,
and then he would come out in a sweat and go grey, and be like this for
quite some time. He was not
doing anything at the time; he would probably be seated.
It was not as if he was engaged in something stressful at the time;
it just came, as it were, from nowhere.
Kenneth Ingermals, who was working with Mrs Calvert's husband at RAF
Strike Command, 19 July 2004.
a period of 24 hours he completed what he said was the whole gamut of
vaccinations, including anthrax. As far as I know, they were not recorded on his military
documents. He had some in the
afternoon and some the next morning.
He... always said that he took the NAP tablets.
I noticed very, very quickly, that he found it increasingly more
difficult to complete the work in the allotted time.
Hazard, Royal Engineers, 19 July 2004.
I was just unable to hold a job down.
THE CHAIRMAN: What was the difficulty in holding jobs down?
A. I was not able to concentrate.
My memory was getting worse. I
was missing things. I receive a 30 per cent war pension for fibromyalgia,
irritable bowel syndrome, depressive disorder... I have got back problems
– two fused vertebrae, discs that keep popping out;
I have got arthritis in my knees.
of Mar, 21 July 2004.
I have had contact from many, many farmers, well over 500 farmers.
I recognised some of the symptoms that the Gulf veterans were
describing as being very similar to sheep dip symptoms.
One of my sheep dip contacts was in contact with a pilot in the RAF
who had a feeling that there was something to do with vaccinations that
was wrong. The major [symptoms] are chronic fatigue.
It is not just ordinary tiredness, it is an overwhelming muscular
fatigue. When you take
exercise you get this awful fatigue.
Muscle pains, joint pains, even bone pain at excruciating levels.
Childbirth has got nothing on this, I can tell you, and I have done
Also there are what are
described as neuro-psychological things… You get terrific mood swings,
an inability to concentrate. I
used to read a paragraph and I would read it and read it and read it and
nothing would sink in. Problems
with vision; your eyesight would go blurred.
You would have what are described as autonomic symptoms, your
digestive system would be upset, incontinence, bladder incontinence. Quite
a lot of farmers have described chest pain and have developed heart
conditions, and indeed I have as well…
THE CHAIRMAN: How soon did
your symptoms come on?
three weeks after I was exposed to sheep dip… I was pretty ill for five
or six years… We are told it is all in our heads; but in fact it is not.
I am afraid I have got well because I have been able to pay for
People have not looked at these guys’ brains.
The only fellow who has is Haley in America and he found that there
were significant differences. He
took a pair of identical twins, one who had been to the Gulf and one who
had not, and he found there were significant differences in the two
Tyler MP, 21 July 2004.
The British Medical Journal
published a medical research results of a Study
of the Reproductive Health of UK Gulf War Veterans and the Health of Their
Children as a result of a substantial body work by the London School
of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This
demonstrated that there would seem to be - and there is always a bit of
doubt there of course - “a firm correlation between service in the 1991
operations and infertility problems.”
Barber, Royal Corps of Transport, 21 July 2004.
Health-wise I was getting headaches and tiredness but it was more mental
state, I think, then because I was starting to get depressed.
I was looking forward to getting home but as soon as I got home ---
I had been home a week and we went straight on leave and I was drinking
really heavily... I
lost interest in everything...
I left the Army and I worked for ten years.
When I first came out I went driving with a company, but then I was
starting to fall asleep all the time, on the motorway and that, and I was
scaring myself. I had to stop
and sleep all the time because of the tiredness… I was coming home from
work, I was sleeping and then just going straight back to work.
I was sleeping on nights as well.
Whenever we had breaks on nights I was falling asleep then as well.
I was sleeping all day and still falling asleep at night... I tried to kill myself... I collapsed and I woke up five
weeks later in hospital. My
immune system had shut down...
THE CHAIRMAN: What was the
explanation for that that the doctors gave you?
A. The doctors cannot tell
me. All they can tell me is
--- it was herpes simplex, which is a cold sore, and he said any normal
person would have just fought it off but because my immune system had shut
down it attacked my liver, it attacked my kidneys and it went up my spinal
fluid into my brain and I got a brain disease, encephalitis…
I am on blood pressure tablets now, anti-depressants.
I am on tablets that protect my stomach.
I am on folic acid tablets...
Nobody can tell me what has happened to me.
My doctors cannot tell me what has happened to me.
I have got a ten-year old daughter.
They cannot tell me whether it is going to happen to me again.
Basically I just wanted some answers more than anything else...
MRS BARBER: He was on kidney
dialysis while he was in hospital.
DR JONES: It was kidney
MRS BARBER: Yes, but they
told me, when they took a sample of his liver, that he definitely was not
going to survive because it was so rare, what happened to him.
They actually counselled him for HIV.
That is what they thought he had, because it was so rare for his
immune system to be so low. But
he did not have HIV.
DR JONES: Since you recovered
from that illness have you had any problem fending off other infections?
MR BARBER. My headaches are a lot worse and basically since my illness I
am just tired all the time. I
just sleep most of the day and night, but I am not working now.
Aches and pains. I got
a cold at Christmas, just a normal cold.
I used to just fight it off, but it stuck with me for quite a long
Brown, RAF, 21 July 2004.
I started experiencing short term memory loss and unusual mood swings,
becoming aggressive for no reason at all.
My wife admitted to me that she had seen a change occurring in me
for some time. When I began
to experience cramps, pins and needles in my limbs and hot flushes, I knew
from having read other veterans’ accounts of ill health that something
was not right.
THE CHAIRMAN: You
have put here that the bad period was from about 1997 through to 2001?
A. My wife will
testify to that... I was very reluctant to make known my symptoms because
I did not think anybody would have listened to me, and there was the added
problem of being grounded if they did find something, and I enjoyed the
job I was doing. I knew there
was going to be an end to my flying career eventually because of my
termination of service in 2000. Maybe
it was unprofessional not to tell them but I was enjoying what I was doing
and I could put up with it, and I think really I came to a crisis in those
years where it was really bad.
SIR MICHAEL DAVIES: Chronic fatigue and so
A. The mood swings and
cramps, pins and needles were really bad.
I just could not drive anywhere for more than half an hour because
it became so intense. With my hands on the steering wheel and my feet in the
position they would be in I found it very difficult.
I could not kneel down for too long.
Bosworth, Ordnance Corps, 21 July 2004.
I joined the Army as an apprentice tradesman in 1984 at the age of 16, so
I was a boy soldier. I served
in the 1991 Gulf conflict and I subsequently became ill with chronic
fatigue syndrome... I was
finally medically discharged in February 2001, and I was categorised as
permanently unfit for any form of Army service.
My wife Alison, who never served in forces, is also now suffering
from chronic fatigue syndrome. We
both tested positive for a mycoplasmal infection last year, which I will
come on to later. Both of us
were in perfect health prior to the Gulf conflict...
In Christmas 1992 I suffered a flu-like illness.
Although I thought I had got over it I do not think I actually did.
During 1993 I became very susceptible to viruses and became
increasingly fatigued. In
October 1993, due to the fatigue, I was forced to give up sport of all
types. From October 1993 to
January 1994 I suffered recurrent tonsillitis and received various courses
of antibiotics. This led to a
tonsillectomy in May 1994. An
important note: the major on the operating team came on a bedside visit
the next day and told me that on removing my tonsils they were the worst
that she had ever seen...
I was doing as little as three hours a day for
approximately two years, doing paperwork only.
I could not do the fitting and carrying work any more.
During the last eight years, even though I eventually managed to
get back to full days and my condition in the early days did improve, I
was still physically unable to carry out my primary trade as a vehicle
I also suffer
from mood swings, irritability and all the additional symptoms related to
chronic fatigue syndrome – muscle pains, joint ache, short term memory
loss. I have to write lists;
otherwise I forget. I can go down to the shop to get four things.
I get down there and I only get two because I have forgotten the
other two. Lack of
concentration – it is very hard to focus.
It is interesting what Geoff Brown said a minute ago – the small
triggers. Boom: I am gone.
I can be there, come home from work very happy, not had a bad day;
okay, I am very tired; work takes it out of me, but one of my kids will
wind me up and I will just lose it completely for the smallest thing…
Quality of life. I do
not have any. I work, come home, am
tired, get at the kids ‑ that is it.
I basically work.
Roy Lingard, RAF, 21 July 2004.
After almost 14 years since the conflict my memory of my time in No 1
Armoured Division has faded except for specific images, smells and
feelings that stay in my mind and haunt me on a daily basis.
These images include the carnage down the Basra Road, the barrage
of artillery that took place before we went through, the burning oil wells
that created the intense fog, and the feelings of isolation in being with
people whom I did not know and the strange procedures they adhered
When I returned from the Persian Gulf my mental state was far
from what it should have been. I would
go down to the pub looking for a fight and if I could not find one
then I would instigate one. One
particular evening I took offence at comments made by the landlord
and threw a heavy bottomed glass through the pub window.
On another occasion I was choked unconscious after someone put
their arm around my throat in order to stop me beating to death a member
of the RAF regiment who had given me a punch...
I was developing
pains to the joints of my feet, hands and knees... I developed a rash
around my neck, chest and torso. I was
suffering severe stomach problems and, worst of all, my wife had a miscarriage…
I was classed as workshy, untidy, an inexperienced member of the team
and instantly taken a dislike to by my senior NCO.
I began to have difficulty in organising myself and dealing
with what were really quite normal situations.
I was suffering from feelings of depression, immense stress
and anxiety which led to a complete mental breakdown...
I suffer from
chronic fatigue, my body is in a perpetual state of tiredness, I have
no energy, my chest, arms and legs feel leaden and take great effort to
move. I feel as if my
body is continually fighting a virus or infection.
Even if the will is there, I cannot motivate myself no matter
how hard I try...
intestinal problems. Since
returning from the Gulf my body has developed a chronic intolerance
to foods and medication. These
result in severe diarrhoea, stomach cramps and ‘flu-like symptoms. These
have proved a real burden as it is not possible to accept any
medication to alleviate the other problems…
Depression. I feel I have
lost all of the tools to deal with life.
My nervous state is very poor and I shake uncontrollably for
no apparent reason. I have a feeling of continual sickness in my
stomach. I have regular
breakdowns where all I want to do is crawl into a corner and
sob. This often results in an
attempt to hurt myself by repeatedly striking my head against the wall.
I do not want to continue living.
Joint pains. I suffer with terrible joint pains in my knees, neck,
feet, hands, ankles and elbows. My
joints make continual cracking and tearing meat sounds. The pains allow me no comfort, the joints have to be
frequently articulated, the resulting disabilities are in walking,
writing, turning a door handle, taps, etc.
Poor sleep. Sleep
plays a big part in my life. I am
ever conscious of the amount of sleep I receive.
However, I have very poor sleep and the sleep I get
provides little or no refreshment whatsoever.
(Pause [The witness breaks down])
THE CHAIRMAN: I am very
happy to read it out for you.
A. I would like to read
CHAIRMAN: You shall.
A. Extreme reaction to viral
infections. My body seems to
have lost the ability to fight simple viral infections well.
The common cold has a devastating effect on my body and lasts
for many weeks.
hearing. I have gone
progressively deaf in both ears. This
problem occurs after a series of viral infections.
My hearing worsened during the period of infections and did not
return. The loss of hearing
was made worse with each bout of the virus.
Tinnitus. I suffer
with chronic tinnitus all the time. It
is as if I am in an aviary with hundreds of chirruping birds.
Low sperm count. After
several tests it has been identified that I have a low sperm
count and as a result I do not have any children.
I have a poor libido.
Photosensitivity. I find
any bright and intense light intolerable.
This includes sunlight, computer monitors and lights, etc.
Rectal problems. I suffer from painful anal fissures and haemorrhoids and
daily excrete blood from my anus.
Concentration. I used
to take great pride in my ability to successfully plan and organise highly
responsible duties. However,
this has degenerated to a state where I now find it difficult to
concentrate on more than one thing at once.
This results in a single‑mindedness that verges on the
obsessive allowing me no peace and making the ability to switch off
impossible. This obsession
with one particular subject matter is to the total detriment of everything
else that is going on around me. This
lack in my ability to think somewhat laterally means that important issues
are left to build up and as a result I am unable to deal with the added
pressure and suffer incredible mental torment.
Bleeding gums. My gums
have bled constantly since returning from the Gulf.
Skin rashes. I suffer
with dry flaky skin around my neck, chest and torso.
This is prevalent all the time.
Chemical sensitivity. I suffer
from huge lumps under my armpit after using chemicals such as
up my nose. I frequently get lumps up my nose. It was first thought these were polyps but no evidence was
found during the tests…
Three months ago I finally felt my life had
become intolerable. I had
identified the rope and the location with which to hang myself.
I have been off work for three months and although I am
still struggling with life I have yet to hang myself.
Davey, RAF, 21 July 2004.
In years after that [vaccination
and spraying] my health got worse and worse.
In 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 it got worse.
It was as if I just went down in the depths of despair
physically and mentally and I slowly but surely came out a little
bit. But between 1995 and
1998 were the worst years...
I was off work for three months, late
1997‑1998, when I was really bad and then I reduced my
hours to three or four days, and I think it was eighteen months to
two years when I built it up to full time again... My marriage broke
Like the previous gentleman said, I would do a day’s
work, go home, and just collapse. Lie
on the bed, put a little light music on and not be able to do
anything at all. I would
not sleep; I would just lie there.
For a period of two years I did not sleep at all, I would
just lie on the bed. I would not get any rest…
Flashbacks, if I hear a noise outside.
I am very hypersensitive to noise.
fatigue. The fatigue covers
everything. At the moment I have
a level of fatigue where I shall be absolutely shattered when I get
home tonight, but I had to do [it] today.
Alun Jones. Consultant Psychiatrist holding clinics for
ex‑servicemen, 27 July 2004.
know men, for instance, from the Gulf who cannot go to a barbecue as the
smell of burnt meat brings back the Basra road and it is overwhelming to
them... I had one Gulf veteran in Coventry and he had been charged with
breaking windows in Coventry police station.
He was smashing the windows and shouting,
“Come on out you Iraqi bastards”.
His mother said to me afterwards, “You know, he wasn’t in
Coventry, he was in the Gulf.”...
I met a young man who told me there
were lots of Gulf Veterans in Scotland and they did not have anyone to
speak to and he asked if I would do a clinic for them.
The first time I went there were about 20 young men and I looked
around me and the thing that struck me was that half of them had walking
sticks. These were young men
who had run for days for their regiments or boxed for their regiments and
they had walking sticks.
Derek Hall, RAF medical personnel, 27 July 2004.
Six weeks later I was alarmed one morning to find that my central vision
had disappeared... The bombshell was given to me that I had what appeared
to be a malignant melanoma... [However] it did not turn out to be
malignant; it was a benign lesion... And then the next thing that happened
I was aware myself that my thought processes were not working properly. Indeed this was commented on by my executive reporting
officers but nobody mentioned a word to me about it.
There was no friendly chat or “come and have a talk”, nothing.
Then in sequence I got hit with an unusual form of pneumonia,
rheumatoid arthritis, kidney stones, renal failure, combined hepato-renal
failure on one occasion, chronic anaemia, which was resistant to
treatment. The list just goes
on and on.
My shape changed,
my hands enlarged, my feet enlarged, the shape of my mandibles changed, my
maxilla has changed, my cap size has increased.
Bones are supposed to cease growing at 25 and here I was at 43 with
an expanding skeleton... My cap size which had been for 25 years seven and
a quarter suddenly became greater than seven and a quarter, my operating
glove size which was seven and a half became eight and a half, my shoe
size went from eight to ten and a half, my shoulder tip to shoulder tip
I am virtually pre-leukaemic. I am due to start
chemotherapy in 48 hours… I saw a lot of people in the initial phase, in
laymen’s terms, who appeared to have been extremely sunburnt... but the
sunburn did not settle. They
were left with descremating skin for months...
To this day I do not know whether they were suffering from ionising
radiation toxicity or whatever but I know that I saw people with weird and
wonderful symptoms that I could not explain.
I saw people coming in with neurological disorders which were
inexplicable... I used to be a very proficient cryptic crossword
enthusiast. I cannot get my
brain -- it is almost as if I have forgotten a language...
I am getting
worse. There was a
significant downturn from December 2002.
I took another turn for the worse at the end of October last year. At
the beginning of October I was still capable of washing and cleaning my
car; by November I was not. Then
in terms of mobility since March of this year I have been extremely
limited in walking and the only reason I have managed to walk across the
road today is because I am on high dose steroids.
Hooper, Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University
of Sunderland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Gulf War Veterans, 27
If I could just draw your attention to this business of osteoporosis.
This is a finding which is extraordinary.
Young men do not get osteoporosis.
You see it in elderly men and post-menopausal women - that is
where it gets its name as a major illness - but here there are
young men with osteoporosis. Why?…
A very, very common feature of Gulf War Veterans is that many of them
suffer from an obesity which is classically upper barrel obesity and very
many of them have problems with sexual function.
They have got low libido and erectile dysfunction.
That seems be very widespread.
I think there is a case which involved only vaccines… inducing an
autoimmune condition which damages the pituitary gland, and the
consequence of that is osteoporosis, depressed growth hormone and
mineralization of bone and teeth - there is a teeth problem with these
guys as well - and the other one is the distribution of body fat and
muscle, and then the gonadotyrophins responsible for controlling libido
and erectile function.E
Tuite III, consultant, former Special Assistant to the Chairman of the US
Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs for National
Security and Dual‑use Export Policies, 2 August 2004.
per cent of all US veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War suffer from a
pattern of symptoms, including fatigue muscle and joint pains, headache,
cognitive and gastrointestinal problems over and above their counterparts
who did not deploy to the Gulf. This translates into between 180,000 to 220,000 of the 698,000
troops who served in the first Gulf War…
At the time, there was no acknowledgement that the initial effects
of organophosphate poisoning, the chemical class in which many of the
nerve agents and pesticides are grouped, are not immediately debilitating
and deadly. They include
headache, fatigue, skin irritation, loss of appetite, dizziness, weakness,
nervousness, nausea, perspiration, diarrhoea, eye irritation, insomnia,
thirst, restlessness, irritation of the nose and throat, loss of weight,
soreness of joints and changes of mood.
These symptoms were reported by many of the veterans we
Over the eight months following the initiation of Banking
Committee investigation, Senator Riegle's office was contacted by over
1,000 Gulf War veterans directly. In addition to the veterans from the United States, we were
also contacted by sick veterans of the Canadian, British and Australian
armed services who served in the Persian Gulf and who also suffered from
this disabilitating syndrome.
Rhodes, chief technologist at the [US] Government Accountability Office, 2
The ultimate point is that those who were deployed to the Gulf are
reporting illnesses 25 to 30 per cent greater than those who were not.
If we take 700,000 and we take the 100,000 that have been
reporting, that constitutes a 25 to 30 per cent greater number than what
we are seeing from other locales… Overall,
the types of symptoms different veterans’ groups in the United Kingdom
and the United States have reported are strikingly similar, even though
veterans in these studies came from different countries and served in
different locations in the Gulf War theatre/
do not see the cross-interaction and the multiple sensitivities that can
come from exposure to multiple chemicals.
We are going to have an extremely difficult time trying to figure
out how we can treat now and prepare for the future.
We have to figure out as best we can: is it multiple vaccines at an
accelerated rate with adjuvant that is not standardised acceptable?
Is it that you were in an environment where there were huge amounts
of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere and you were breathing them in because
of oil well fires? Is it that you were using pesticides? Were you wearing a yellow collar to keep the plumes out?
W Haley, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of
Epidemiology at the University of Texas, 2 August 2004.
I talked to some of the wives
of the ones who were employed and they said, “He’s just a mess.”
One wife said that her husband used to be the shop foreman before
he went over to the war and now he works in the mail room.
They did not want to fire him because he is a hero, but he cannot
work on the floor anymore because he is not up to it…
There appears to
be a complex web of causes, nobody would dispute that.
The theory with the most current support is that low level sarin,
possibly in combination with organophosphates pesticides, were being used
because they had a similar mode of action and the NAPS tablets,
pesticides, DEET, all of this together somehow caused damage to these deep
brain cells, particularly in soldiers with low PON type Q activity in
their blood... So the VA then did their own study where they compared the
deployed and the non‑deployed and they looked at all the ALS (Motor
Neurone Disease) in those two groups and they got the same finding except
that it is getting worse.
Mason, civilian contractor of British Aerospace, 2 August 2004.
CHAIRMAN: Can you describe
your symptoms now? Are they
A. Yes, they do continue.
I am a very sweaty person and I have been for many years.
I do not sleep particularly well and I find it very hard to get to
sleep. I find it very hard to
wake up because I do not feel refreshed after sleep.
I suffer a lot of what a lot of people have described as muscular
pain, but I would say it is more to do with exertion and when I exert
myself, then I ache considerably… The event was so striking when it did
occur, everything in the locality wound up dead, I am afraid.
I lived in a British Aerospace accommodation block and shortly
after the event I used to walk, but everything locally was dead.
Birds were on the floor, dead, starfish, dead under rocks.
There were huge amounts of washed-up jellyfish, all dead.
Everything in that locality died just after this event and I can
only put it down to the fact that the scud had exploded there.
Pat Doyle, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Head of the
Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, 10 August 2004.
The question that the MRC posed was, “Were the veterans of the Gulf War
at increased risk in terms of their offspring’s health and their own
reproductive health?” Response rates were disappointing, I must say, in
the sense that for men there was only around 50 per cent response overall.
… For the men, we had almost 3,000 miscarriages reported by Gulf men and
1,500 miscarriages reported by ERA [non-deployed] men.
In terms of percentages that works out to 18 per cent of
pregnancies ending in a miscarriage reported by Gulf men, 14 per cent
ending in a miscarriage reported by the control group, the ERA men... It
appears that there is a 40 per cent excess...
malformation [the] difference [is]... 5.2 per cent [to] 3.5 per cent. [For
infertility] we found again an excess of about 40 per cent:
seven per cent of men said they and their partners failed to
achieve a pregnancy despite one year of trying and consulting a doctor
compared with five per cent of the comparison group... We did find some
evidence that there was a higher proportion of Gulf men with infertility
who had abnormal sperm. That
is called teratospermia, but
unfortunately the numbers were extremely small so, despite our large
study, we could not conclude too much from it.
THE CHAIRMAN: I see. It is the
number of people with teratospermia
that is small.
A. Terribly small. It
is about six in the Gulf War.
It was 21 in the Gulf veterans and six in the non-Gulf veterans, so
we are talking of very small numbers, but it is worth flagging up as
something we cannot ignore but the confidence around that result is rather
The second piece of
additional evidence is that the pregnancies fathered by Gulf veterans who
did not report infertility problems, when we asked them how long it took
to conceive this particular pregnancy, was longer for Gulf veterans than
ERA... As I said in my conclusions, we found associations between
increased risk of miscarriage, some odd malformations and infertility, and
I think that is as far as I would go.
If you would like to call that a problem, yes, it is a problem...
THE CHAIRMAN: I have not got
your main paper yet but I have got the press release.
What it does not say here, but I am sure it does there, is the
ratio between the Gulf War illnesses and the rest of the population at
large. You say in your second
paragraph of the press release simply that Gulf War veterans were more
likely to report mood swings, memory loss, lack of concentration, etc. What was the actual ratio?
Is that in your paper?
A. Yes, it is, and it is 2.7.
This is for all things. One
or more new symptoms was 60.7 per cent in the Gulf versus 36.7 per cent in