In memory of Commodore Rhod Palmer leader of the Royal British Legion’s mesothelioma justice campaign
One of the first Royal Navy veterans who campaigned for compensation for veterans with mesothelioma and asbestosis has sadly died on 6th March 2016
Commodore Rhod Palmer a Royal Navy air engineer led the Royal British Legion’s justice campaign to recover compensation for veterans with asbestos-related cancer.
A victim of mesothelioma himself, Commodore Palmer found first hand that the MOD denied all liability for the hundreds of Forces veterans who also suffered from the disease. Learning of the lack of support or compensation, Commodore Palmer went about obtaining equal compensation rights for the Forces victims, to bring the level of compensation available In line with that of civilian sufferers which was set at a far higher level.
Commodore Palmer's work did not go in vain. After a hard battle with the British Government and the MOD, one week before Commodore Palmer passed, the MoD announced that a new policy would be extended to all sufferers, enabling them to receive payments to help them and their families cope with the disease.
Chris Simpkins, Director General of The Royal British Legion, said the Government has "done the right thing" in changing the eligibility criteria for compensation pay-outs.
He said: "We are gratified that good sense has prevailed and that the Government has extended eligibility to those people who – through no fault of their own – were missing out on the new lump sum compensation payment.
"The Government has done the right thing and we appreciate the effort that has gone into accommodating the 60 people who were missing out. This has been a hard-fought campaign which began in 2013. To see the campaign finally reach this stage I'm sure will provide a huge sense of relief for dozens of proud Servicemen and women and their families.
"We are grateful to the Ministry of Defence for taking our campaign seriously and, in doing so, providing a fair result to all those who contracted this terrible terminal cancer in the service of their country."
Commodore Palmer will be remembered as a key figure in making justice for veterans possible.
By Andrew Morgan, Partner