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African Soldier Suing Ministry Of Defence Because He Wasn't Protected From The Cold

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African Soldier Suing Ministry Of Defence Because He Wasn't Protected From The Cold

A former soldier from Africa is suing the Ministry of Defence for £150,000 ($190,300) after he claims they failed to protect him from Britain's winter chill.

Michael Asiamah told the High Court he suffered from a 'cold-related' condition during winter military exercises because the Army failed to equip him with proper cold weather kit such as mittens, gloves, socks and boots.

The Ghanaian-born ex-trooper also claimed his commanders exposed him to chilly conditions despite knowing that people of black Caribbean and African origin are more susceptible to the cold.

Michael Asiamah says the Army 'failed to protect' him from the cold weather in the UK. Credit: Buckmaster/Express Syndication
Michael Asiamah says the Army 'failed to protect' him from the cold weather in the UK. Credit: Buckmaster/Express Syndication
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Mr Asiamah, 36, is claiming damages for alleged negligence after he suffered in 2016. Defence chiefs are planning to contest his claim.

His lawyers say the exercises on Salisbury Plain and Naseby Battlefield in Leicestershire left him with numbness and pain in his hands and feet. Nearly three years on, he says he is still suffering the effects and has had to all but abandon his hope of becoming a PE instructor.

Mr Asiamah, who runs an evangelical church near his home in Tidworth, Wilts, says he risks aggravating his symptoms if he goes out in temperatures below 59 Fahrenheit (15ºC).

According to court papers, Mr Asiamiah, who served with the Adjutant General's Corps, said he was exposed to 18 hours of freezing and windy conditions during Exercise Scorpion in March 2016.

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He said the Ministry of Defence knew that people of black Caribbean and African origin are more susceptible to cold injuries and that his superiors failed to warn him to take cold weather boots or socks.

He also claimed that when he reported his symptoms, the patrol commander told him to carry on.

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Mr Asiamah said he remained outside from early morning to midnight and his hands and feet became very painful as they warmed up.

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He also says that a week earlier he spent around five hours in the cold in civilian clothing, listening to lectures about military tactics.

Mr Asiamah's court writ claims research by the Army Medical Corps in 2009 showed that black British Army soldiers were 30 times more likely than their white colleagues to develop cold injury.

The Ministry of Defence's guidance on preventing non-freezing cold injury, warns casualties should be evacuated urgently and not allowed to become colder.

But Mr Asiamah accuses the department of ignoring its own advice, deploying him on a small arms, mortar cadre and infantry exercise, despite knowing of his symptoms.

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Defence chiefs say there was no need for a risk assessment on the battlefield tour. Credit: PA
Defence chiefs say there was no need for a risk assessment on the battlefield tour. Credit: PA

He had already given notice to leave the Army, for unrelated reasons, and left in October 2016.

Defence chiefs say Mr Asiamah had appropriate kit for Salisbury Plain and that there was no need for a risk assessment on the battlefield tour.

An MoD spokesman said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing legal investigation. However, all service personnel are provided with the correct clothing, equipment and training."

Featured Image Credit: Buckmaster/Express Syndication

Topics: News, UK, soldier

Rebecca Shepherd
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