A WAR veteran who was blown up in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq has handed back his forces badge in disgust after failing to secure compensation.
Jason Wilkes says the Army has offered him little support even though he is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after 21 years service.
The 40-year-old ex-corporal has given Easington MP Grahame Morris his Armed Forces Veterans Badge to hand to Defence Minister Anna Soubry in protest at the way he has been treated during an eight-year legal battle for compensation. Jason, who appeared on TV when he trained with Prince Harry in Iceland for the Walking with the Wounded race to the South Pole, joined the Army in 1993 and was medically discharged in April this year.
He suffered burns and shrapnel injuries in a suicide car bomb attack while serving with the Royal Engineers in Iraq in April 2006.
He was also one of the first people on the scene of the shootings at Massereene Barracks in Antrim Town, Northern Ireland, in 2009, when two off-duty British soldiers of 38 Engineer Regiment were murdered while taking a pizza delivery.
Jason, who is married to Lisa and dad to Jenson, two, says he still suffers flashbacks and nightmares, has anger issues, panic attacks and avoids crowded places.
He even contemplated suicide when he was at his lowest.
He said there are thousands more like him and he is one of the stronger ones brave enough to speak out.
Jason said: “I’m disgusted at what’s been going on.
“I didn’t get a lot of help and support while I was in the Army through ignorance from management.”
He said that after the Iraqi blast he was wrongly diagnosed with adjustment disorder and it wasn’t until 2012 that an Army psychiatrist confirmed he has PTSD.
Jason, who lives in Haswell, said: “I just want to highlight the struggles people with invisible injuries like myself are going through on a daily basis with no help or support from the military.”
He said he had won tribunals in the past, but claims the Army only allows compensation for a certain tariff of injury, and largely for physical injury.
He added: “People who get injured on operations don’t get anything.
“That little badge is an absolute joke.
“The Government needs to have a look at what they are doing about sending troops to conflicts because they haven’t sorted out the injured troops from past conflicts.”
Mr Morris said: “I question the value of the Military Covenant, which outlines the nation’s obligations to service personnel, in cases like this.”
The MP said he was seeking an Adjournment Debate on the issue.
A spokesman for Veterans UK, part of the Ministry of Defence, said: “It is vital that veterans entitled to compensation receive it as quickly as possible.
“The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme makes lump sum payments of up to £570k for injuries caused by service, plus a guaranteed monthly income payment for life to those more severely injured.
“However, each claim has to be considered carefully and we often need to collect evidence from many sources such as hospitals and GPs, which can take time.
“We work hard to keep people informed of progress on their cases and all decisions carry a full right of appeal to an independent tribunal.”