A soldier who went into shock after cold water was thrown over him as he suffered heatstroke during a 40C exercise in Kenya has been awarded £275,000 compensation.
Father-of-two Barney Tipping, 27, claims the ordeal triggered a debilitating condition which forced him to leave the army and has left him in constant pain.
He was one of 26 soldiers who suffered heat exhaustion and dehydration after marching in the heat for several hours with a heavy backpack in March 2007.
Against army guidelines, he was ordered to remove his shirt and had a jerrycan of cold water thrown over him.
He went into shock and was airlifted to a hospital in Nairobi before being evacuated back to the UK for treatment.
He appeared to recover and was sent to Afghanistan where he had a brief tour of duty before returning home as his illness worsened.
He developed a string of complex medical symptoms which were later diagnosed in 2010 as fibromyalgia – a rheumatic condition which causes persistent pain.
However, the army accused him of “exaggerating” his symptoms and of “revelling in his sick role” and did not take his situation seriously, his lawyers claim.
Mr Tipping, who served in the Queen’s Company of the Grenadier Guards, was medically discharged from the army in October 2009.
He spent six years battling for compensation and finally reached his settlement with the Ministry of Defence.
He remains in constant pain, is unable to work and needs helps with day-to-day tasks.
News of his payout came the day after a coroner criticised the SAS over the deaths of three soldiers who collapsed from heat exhaustion on a march in Wales in July 2013.
Mr Tipping, who qualified as a soldier in 2005, said: “I loved the Army and always wanted to be a soldier.
“I was fit and healthy and always rose to any challenge, including the arduous marches we undertook in Kenya.
“Despite the soaring temperatures I followed orders and pushed my body to the maximum because in the forces that is what you are trained to do.
“My superiors knew this and should never have put us in that position given the risk we were taking and the Army guidelines relating to heat.
“I expected to have a long career in the Army and after Afghanistan wanted to become one of the Army’s personal trainers, but all that changed after what happened in Kenya.
“I now live with constant pain and am unable to undertake many basic tasks. Some days I’m totally bed bound.
“I try to live a normal life with my wife and family but my physical limitations and the mental impact of what has happened to me mean that day-to-day life is very difficult.”
As well as fibromyalgia, Mr Tipping also suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
He added: “It has had a major negative impact on me and my family. It is very upsetting.
“I have a mobility scooter which I have to use if I go on a day out because I can’t be on my feet for too long.
“I struggle with driving and my wife has to do all of the shopping and other day-to-day tasks.
“At times it just feels like my bones are breaking, I’m in so much pain.”
The incident in Kenya happened in 2007 as Mr Tipping and his regiment were on a two-week exercise to prepare for deployment to Afghanistan.
His legal team claim the soldiers were made to march and undertake attack exercises “around the clock” despite guidelines stating that they should remain undercover when temperatures reached a certain level.
At times, they were living with very limited water supplies and on the day of the exercise in question were not given a briefing on the risks of heat injury.
By early 2008, he was experiencing photosensitivity, severe eye pain, double vision, exhaustion and severe joint pain.
His legal team at Hodge Jones and Allen said: “His condition continued to deteriorate and he underwent countless medical examinations and tests by Army medical personnel.
“His condition was neither correctly diagnosed, nor was his account of his now chronic pain believed by certain military personnel.
“Army psychologists suggested that he was ‘revelling in the sick role’ and that he was copying his reported injuries from other injured people.”
Solicitor Jocelyn Cockburn said: “The army has guidance on avoiding heat injury.
“This was not followed in Barney’s case and yet it has taken years to get redress, with the MoD attempting to fight the negligence case at every turn.”
Mr Tipping, who lives in Whitecroft, Glos., with his wife Victoria and two children, said: “I’m very angry about how the army has treated me.
“It’s not just not believing me and dismissing my claims, it’s about how they have made me out to be a liar.
“They treated me like I was faking it and trying to get an easy ride. It was humiliating.
“In the army, if you lose a limb you get treated like a hero but if you have a mental health issue you get chucked out onto the streets.
“I’m incredibly relieved that all of this is over now.”
The Ministry of Defence said: “We regret that Mr Tipping feels that the Department has been unsympathetic in dealing with his claim and this was certainly not our intention.
“We have a responsibility to satisfy ourselves that claims for injury or illness are justified before large sums of taxpayers’ money are paid out.
“We are pleased that the case has now been settled on terms satisfactory to Mr Tipping and wish him well for the future.”
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