into Gulf War illnesses - London, July - September 2004
and effects on veterans
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.
John Nicol, Flight
Lieutenant, 12 July 2004.
Out 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
Thompson, widow of Petty Officer Nigel Thompson, 12 July 2004.
I 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 better.
Alex Izett, Corps
of the Royal Engineers,
12 July 2004.
at my local health authority saw me for ten minutes and said, “It
appears like you have Multiple Sclerosis."
Noel Baker, First
Battallion, 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
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.
RAF, 12 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.
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.
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 at suicide.
Keith Paul, RAF,
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
Royal Corps of Transport, 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…
Mike’s problems 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.
Mrs Deborah Capps,
wife of the previous veteran, 19 July 2004.
We 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.
Hakim Tella, Royal
Artillery, 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… My 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
DOCTOR JONES: What about making the journey up to London? Has that
proved a great effort for you?
A. It has.
Royal Signals, 19 July 2004.
He 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
… The 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.”
widow of a 24-year regular soldier “[who] started off as a private and
worked up to a major”, 19 July 2004.
I have 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
Queen's Dragoon Guards, 19 July 2004.
I would 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 as well… 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… He 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?
Louisa Graham, a veteran's widow, 19 July 2004.
It 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
confused. 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.
RAF, 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...
My blood 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 sick leave. 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 brain?
Dr Nigel 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.
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.
Lisa Mates. From
her written statement to the Inquiry about her brother, Paul Carr, who
died in August of 1997, 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 significance... 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 exposed. 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. DR
JONES: 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]
military warrant officer theatre technician and combat medical
technician, both Class 1, 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.
Mrs Janet Mary
Calvert, wife of a metereologist in the RAF, now affected by dementia,
19 July 2004.
In 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.
Ingermals, who was working with Mrs Calvert's husband at RAF Strike
Command, 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.
Royal Engineers, 19 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 both. 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? A. About 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 treatment…
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 men’s brains.
Countess of Mar,
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.”
Paul Tyler MP, 21
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
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 dialysis?
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 time.
Royal Corps of Transport, 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 on? 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.
RAF, 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 mechanic… 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.
Bosworth, Ordnance Corps, 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 to...
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...
Gastro 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
THE CHAIRMAN: I am very happy to read it out for you.
A. I would like to read it, please.
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. Loss of
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
antiperspirants. Lumps 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
Lingard, 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 up... 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. Nightmares. Chronic 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.
Davey, RAF, 21 July 2004.
I 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.
Dafydd Alun Jones.
Consultant Psychiatrist holding clinics for ex‑servicemen, 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 distance increased... 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.
Hall, RAF medical personnel, 27 July 2004.
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
Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of
Sunderland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Gulf War Veterans, 27
26-32 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 interviewed… 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.
James 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.
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.
We 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?
chief technologist at the [US] Government Accountability Office, 2
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
W Haley, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of
Epidemiology at the University of Texas, 2 August 2004.
THE CHAIRMAN: Can
you describe your symptoms now? Are they still continuing?
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.
civilian contractor of British Aerospace, 2 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... [For] congenital 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 low. 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 the
Dr. Pat Doyle, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Head
of the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, 10 August