Tributes to RAF veteran

Picture by Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian''SEE GUZELIAN STORY BY MARK BRANAGAN'Filed 26 February 2012''Gulf War Veteran Dr Derek Hall, 61, who has hit out after it emerged that wounded soldiers receiving a war disablement pension must still pay to park at Hartlepool Hospital, Cleveland.
Picture by Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian''SEE GUZELIAN STORY BY MARK BRANAGAN'Filed 26 February 2012''Gulf War Veteran Dr Derek Hall, 61, who has hit out after it emerged that wounded soldiers receiving a war disablement pension must still pay to park at Hartlepool Hospital, Cleveland.

AN RAF veteran who served for nearly 30 years before carrying out research into the illnesses of his former colleagues and supporting numerous charities has died.

Wing commander Dr Derek Hall, from Hartlepool, served in the RAF as a medical officer from 1969 to 1998 until he was forced to retire due to illness.

Dr Hall then became director and trustee of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA) and sitting member of the House of Lords Committee dedicated to protecting ex-service personnel’s welfare.

Sadly, Dr Hall, who suffered with various illnesses including damage to the pituitary gland passed away on May 22, aged 62. Today, his family and friends have paid tribute to a “loyal and passionate” man described as the perfect gentleman.

His eldest son, Matthew, 36, said: “My dad was a staunch officer for the RAF, a good guy who would always defend the underdog.”

Dr Hall’s close friend, Ray Bristow, 55, from Hull who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, added: “He was a better friend than a man could ever wish to have, the perfect gentleman.”

Dr Hall, who served in Cyprus and also taught in Sweden, was brought up in Hartlepool with his brother, Graham, and parents, Joseph and Hilda, before moving to Birmingham where he studied two medical degrees and also got a scholarship with the RAF. He also became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons where he studied aviation medicine.

After retiring from the RAF, Dr Hall worked closely with veterans with the NGVFA and was also part of the British Legion committee for Gulf War illnesses.

Dr Hall also served on the Government’s depleted uranium oversight board testing veterans who had been exposed to depleted uranium and carried out a lot of other research and case studies.

Dr Hall, who is a dad of Matthew, who now lives in Bristol, Emma Navales, 34, who lives in Boston and Michael, 29, now living in New Zealand lived in Wingate for the last eight years of his life.

Maria Rusling, general manager of the NGVFA, said: “Dr Hall was a very clever man with a very dry sense of humour, a pleasure to be around.”

Dr Hall’s funeral will take place at St Hilda’s Church, on the Headland, on Tuesday, at 11am, before a gathering at Hartlepool’s Masonic Lodge.