Army chef, 40, left with chronic pain says MoD left him too cold

Army chef, 40, left with chronic pain in hands and feet from cooking on the freezing Afghanistan frontline sues MoD for £70,000 over claims he wasn’t given protection from the cold

  • Randy Constable says he has been left with chronic pain in his hands and feet 
  • Said he had to cook in ‘a makeshift shelter kitchen’ while on Afghan front line
  • MoD deny claims, which relate to tour between October 2009 and March 2010

An army chef who says his military career was ruined because he had to cook for his comrades in a dangerously cold kitchen on the frontline in Afghanistan is suing the MoD for over £70,000.

Randy Constable, 40, from Hartlepool, says he has been left with chronic pain in his hands and feet after suffering injuries while cooking meals on a winter tour of duty between October 2009 and March 2010.

Mr Constable, a chef in the 1st Battalion, The Grenadier Guards, says he had to cook at a camp in ‘a makeshift shelter kitchen’ in which the ‘prevailing temperature’ was so cold that it has left him with lasting ‘pain in his extremities’.

Randy Constable, 40, from Hartlepool, says he has been left with chronic pain in his hands and feet after suffering non-freezing cold injuries while cooking meals on a winter tour of duty between October 2009 and March 2010

He also says he ‘had no access to warm accommodation for re-warming’ and that the kit he was issued with was inadequate for the conditions.

He was medically discharged from the army in 2014 after just over seven and a half years’ service and is now suing for over £70,000, claiming he ‘lost his army career’ because he was not properly protected from wintry conditions by the MoD.

But the MoD deny his claims and say he is not owed a penny.

How cold temperatures can cause injuries  

Nerve and blood vessel damage can occur when the body’s core temperature falls below its natural level for a significant length of time, causing blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to the extremities and starving the areas of oxygen and nutrients. 

Symptoms can include, pain, numbness, swelling, discolouration and excessive sweating.

In documents lodged with the High Court in London, MoD lawyers explain that Mr Constable, who enlisted in June 2006, aged 26 years, was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick between 2nd October 2009 and 2nd March 2010, during which he ‘allegedly suffered non-freezing cold injuries to his hands and feet.’

Nerve and blood vessel damage can occur when the body’s core temperature falls below its natural level for a significant length of time, causing blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to the extremities and starving the areas of oxygen and nutrients.

The MoD deny it was dangerous for him to be deployed as a frontline chef in Afghanistan over the winter.

‘It was appropriate for the claimant to participate in the deployment to Afghanistan given his Army role as a chef, not least because there was no medical factor affecting his Medical Employment Standard that contra-indicated his deployment,’ their lawyers say.

They also deny his claims he was not issued with enough cold weather kit stating ‘the correctly worn issued Army Basic Kit is suitable and sufficient personal protective equipment.’

‘No admissions are made as to the description of the makeshift ‘shelter kitchen’ referred to, nor as to the prevailing temperature within it, and the claimant is required to prove the matter,’ they go on.

‘No admissions are made as to the claimant’s alleged symptoms of cold exposure during the deployment to Afghanistan.

‘He was medically discharged due to a range of health conditions irrespective of his alleged non-freezing cold injury (‘NFCI’). It follows that he has not lost his Army career due to his alleged NFCI,’ the MoD defence adds.

Mr Constable, a chef in the 1st Battalion, The Grenadier Guards, says he had to cook at a camp in ‘a makeshift shelter kitchen’ in which the ‘prevailing temperature’ was so cold that it has left him with lasting ‘pain in his extremities’

The MoD also say in their defence that Mr Constable is out of time to bring his claim against them, having failed to start his claim within the legal time limit after his alleged injury.

Non-freezing cold injuries usually affect the body’s extremities, such as hands and feet.

Symptoms can include, pain, numbness, swelling, discolouration and excessive sweating.

The contents of the documents filed with the court have yet to be tested in evidence before a judge. 

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