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Soldier injured in Afghanistan mocked for being Welsh and so ‘unintelligent’ when seeking compensation

28 Aug 2022 3 minute read
British flag sewn into an army uniform (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber/Released)

A soldier who suffered injuries in an explosion in Afghanistan says that he was mocked for being Welsh and therefore “unintelligent” when seeking compensation as part of a MoD scheme.

The currently serving officer with 26 years in the military, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Telegraph newspaper that he was “subjected to derogatory and insulting remarks about his nationality and intelligence”.

The remarks happened during a consultation with a civilian panel advising the MoD on his Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) claim, he said.

According to the soldier, he heard the legal team mocking his defence of his claim, as they had apparently forgotten to mute their microphones.

“They laughed and said, well, he is Welsh. He doesn’t understand why he is here. He can’t be that intelligent given he doesn’t know why he’s here,” the officer told The Telegraph.

The case was described as “kicking a can down the road” with one panel member adding “if he knows what’s best he should withdraw the claim”, the claimant told the newspaper.

Panel members also laughed when told by another he “did not look like [he’d] had a blast injury”.

‘Fall short’

The President of the Chambers wrote to the officer and apologised for the “unfortunate incident”.

But the officer told the newspaper, as part of an investigation into issues with the MoD compensation scheme, that “hearing what they had to say about me in a manner that was derogatory and discriminating was unacceptable”.

“I have never felt so belittled in my life. I was angry and felt completely let down by the very system designed to support our injured soldiers.

“I was lucky – or unlucky – enough to have heard what a typical panel of professional board members had to say about me in a tribunal.”

An MoD spokesperson said: “We care deeply about supporting our people throughout their service and beyond. They make remarkable sacrifices in defence of this country and we are committed to providing them with the best possible services.

“Where we fall short of our own standards we will listen to people’s concerns and act however necessary.

“Compensation claims are not decided upon lightly and require careful consideration of many complex factors, including medical histories and types of service, often requiring extensive correspondence with the claimant and multiple organisations.”

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