Ghanaian soldier sues UK defence chiefs ‘very cold and wet conditions’ in training

Ghanaian soldier sues UK defence chiefs ‘very cold and wet conditions’ in training
Date: 01-10-2016 Time: 03:10:53:pm

A Ghanaian-born soldier is suing UK defence chiefs for more than £200,000 claiming they let him get too cold on an exercise.

Gershon Rawlings, 33, says his ethnicity made him more likely to suffer than other troops and blames the Army for negligence.

He says he was made to sleep outdoors under a poncho in “very cold and wet” conditions on a two-week exercise.

The experience, in October 2013, left him with numbness and tingling in his hands and feet, his lawyers claim.

But when he complained at the time his Royal Artillery sergeant told him other soldiers were also cold and he should “man up”.

In a writ filed at London’s High Court, he hits out at the Army for providing him with waterproof Gore-Tex boots and standard issue gloves which did not deal with his “particular vulnerabilities”.

And he says he was not given sufficient hot food and drinks “on a regular basis” to ward off the cold.

The writ says he was diagnosed with NFCIs “non-freezing cold injuries” and placed on restricted duties.

Yet despite his diagnosis he was still required to work in open, cold garages”, parade and carry out “guard and fatigue” duties outside, lawyers say.

The case comes just months after Gambian-born Abdoulie Bojang launched a claim against the MoD after suffering cold injuries in Banff, Canada, where temperatures dip to -30C (-22F).

By contrast, the average October temperature for Sennybridge, Mid Wales, where Gershon was training, is 9C (48F).

The Army’s failings have left Gershon “disadvantaged” over future jobs and ended his military career, he claims.

He makes no mention of his dispute with the MoD on his Facebook page, posting a series of photos of himself grinning in uniform.

In one photo he slouches in front of the camera, wearing sunglasses and with an assault rifle casually slung across his knee.

A pal posted next to the photo: “Strong man in war front.”

In another pic Gershon stands with his sleeves rolled up while on an outdoor exercise with seven recruits.

The MoD admits Gershon developed NFCIs but says he must prove how serious they are, and how they have damaged his prospects.

Gershon, now studying at university, confirmed to The Sun his injuries affected his hands and feet.

He added: “Everything is with the lawyers. I have an anxiety issue so can’t speak to you.”

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