Shaun’s Gulf War Syndrome struggle

Shaun Cole, 47, from Stowmarket, is a veteran of the 1990/91 Gulf War. He is suffering from various health problems as a result of his time there.  He feels he has been forgotten by the government and that illness among Gulf War veterans is largely disbelieved.
Shaun Cole, 47, from Stowmarket, is a veteran of the 1990/91 Gulf War. He is suffering from various health problems as a result of his time there. He feels he has been forgotten by the government and that illness among Gulf War veterans is largely disbelieved.

A GULF War veteran twice turned down by the MoD for a war veterans pension has spoken out about his experience of living with Gulf War Syndrome.

Shaun Cole, 47, of Stowmarket, braved the Middle East warzone while a corporal in the Grenadier Guards in the 1990/91 conflict.

Shaun Cole, 47, from Stowmarket, is a veteran of the 1990/91 Gulf War. He is suffering from various health problems as a result of his time there.  He feels he has been forgotten by the government and that illness among Gulf War veterans is largely disbelieved.

Shaun Cole, 47, from Stowmarket, is a veteran of the 1990/91 Gulf War. He is suffering from various health problems as a result of his time there. He feels he has been forgotten by the government and that illness among Gulf War veterans is largely disbelieved.

He left the Army in 1993 and started working as a self-employed builder.

But 10 years ago, Shaun was rushed to hospital after he suddenly developed a full body rash and became paralysed for four days.

Since then he has relied on crutches and a wheelchair and, due to depression, lost his business, his three-bedroom home and his family.

But Shaun says the Ministry of Defence has twice turned down his requests for a war pension as it does not officially recognise Gulf War Syndrome as a condition.

Shaun said: “I have been ill for about 10 years now.

“I have been turned down twice for a war pension because they cannot say that I am ill because of the war.

“It is just not right and there are a lot of us out there in the same position.

“In 2004, over a period of four days I became paralysed and was covered in a full body rash.

“I used to be a really fit and active guy. I even did the London marathon one year – but now I cannot even walk a few hundred yards.

“The MoD and Government have come to the conclusion that our illnesses are not caused by our time in the Gulf.

“But independent agencies have admitted that there are links between the Gulf war and former soldiers getting ill.

“My illness is probably down to the fact that we had to take a variety of drugs that had not been given to people before.

“And because the MoD won’t admit to it we cannot get past the first hurdle.”

Ian Sydall, spokesman for the national Gulf Veterans and Families Association, said: “This is a situation we have come across many times before.

“It is what everyone in a similar position wants –recognition of their symptoms.

“The problem that we have is that the war pensions scheme is quite restrictive.

“There are hundreds of people out there who do not get the help they need because of the way the legislation is written.”

Shaun said: “All I really want is some answers.

“We do not want to be pampered, we just want a fair crack to live our lives as best we can. I just want to make people aware of what we are going through - we don’t want to be forgotten.”

The MoD was unavailable for comment.