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'Look what A-bomb did to me,' says VJ vet
8:00pm Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
A FORMER navy mechanic who believes his cancer was caused by radiation exposure in the Second World War had demanded recognition from the Government.
Lewis Philbrick, 86, escorted scientists into Nagasaki, Japan after Allies had dropped a nuclear bomb.
He immediately started suffering bleeding gums, loose teeth and lip sores, and was diagnosed with cancer in 1984.
He has had seven operations, including having part of his jaw and skull removed.
Now, on the eve of VJ Day, he wants recognition from the Ministry of Defence - who have snubbed requests for a meeting for five years.
Mr Philbrick, who lives off Straight Road, Colchester, said: “I can’t forget because every time I look in the mirror, it is there.
“My greatest worry is ‘when is it coming back’?”
He has requested face-to-face talks with MoD bosses after years communicating by letter.
He does not want compensation, but wants recognition his service has led to years of suffering.
Mr Philbrick said: “All I can ask for is one-to-one talks, which gives me the chance to respond immediately to whatever it is the MoD representative comes back with.”
The Allies dropped a bomb in Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
Mr Philbrick escorted scientists to the area a month later.
He lost his cousin Gerald during the war in the Pacific and was one of the first people to witness the aftermath of the bomb, including finding Japanese prisoner of war camps.
Naval doctors diagnosed Mr Philbrick with gingivitis and later pleurisy.
Mr Philbrick said: “When I went to the doctor at the time they didn’t take a great deal of notice because a lot of people were coming forward with symptoms and they were being put down to heat exhaustion.”
He got home in 1946 and spent six months in Colchester Military Hospital before spells in the Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital and the Royal Naval Hospital.
Mr Philibrick, who played inside-left for Colchester United from 1946 to 1952, diagnosed with a type of skin cancer in his jaw and neck in 1984.
An MoD spokeswoman said: “War disablement pensions are payable in respect of illness or injury as a result of service in HM Armed Forces before 6 April 2005.
“All decisions follow careful consideration of all the service and medical evidence available and carry full rights of appeal to an independent tribunal.”
Mr Philbrick has claimed for a War Disablement Pension, but his application was rejected after the MoD decided his medical condition was not related to his service in the Navy.
She added: “We remain in correspondence with Mr Philbrick and his MP about his case.”
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