Two UK Gulf War Veteran Suicides

Both men committed suicide after showing recognised symptoms of the illness – blamed on controversial jabs our troops were given before the war.

One – Royal Engineer Eddie Hosdell, 21 – leapt to his death from the Humber Bridge in Hull and a 26-year-old soldier hanged himself at a base in Germany.

The German-based soldier was given five jabs in one day – in direct contradiction of Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon’s pre-war pledge that troops would not have multiple vaccinations at the same time.

The suicides are the first linked to Gulf War Syndrome after the latest conflict.

Campaigners say almost 200 soldiers who saw service in the 1991 Gulf War have killed themselves after developing the illness, which has always been officially denied by the Government.

Charlie Plumridge, spokesman for the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA), said: “It’s a shocking and sad state of affairs that these young soldiers are taking their own lives. For 12 years we have been warning the MOD that this sort of thing has happened and would continue to happen.

“Tragically these two deaths show we were right. This could only be the tip of the iceberg.

“I call upon the Government to do more to look after brave young men and women who have been willing to lay down their lives for this country.”

Both soldiers are believed to have been given multiple vaccinations before war broke out to protect them from chemical or biological attack.

The Sunday Mirror has seen medical records showing the 26-year-old soldier – not named at the request of his family – received five inoculations, including the controversial anthrax jab, on the same day.

Experts attribute the illness to the cocktail of jabs and tablets given to troops, and the use of depleted uranium in allied weapons.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon told MPs in January: “A key lesson learned about inoculations is that it is not sensible to inflict on our forces a large number simultaneously.”

Eddie, whose funeral took place in Hull this week, returned from the war at the end of April with 39 Engineer Regiment, based at Waterbeach Barracks in Cambridgeshire.

Within days he started to behave erratically.

The soldier, never in trouble before, was arrested by police on suspicion of firing a ball-bearing out of a car window near his home in Hornsea, North Humberside. He was released on bail and sent text messages to friends saying he was going to take his own life.

His body was found on the Humber river on May 18.

Last night Eddie’s parents, Jacqueline and Tuke, were too upset to comment.

An inquest in to Eddie’s death was opened and adjourned on May 23, with the full hearing in six months.

The parents of the soldier found dead in Germany have also demanded a full inquest. The member of the Queen’s Royal Hussars hanged himself at his Army base in Sennelager, Germany, days after falling ill.

He had been unfit to travel, with a rash, sleeping problems and mood swings.

This week his parents, from the Birmingham area, contacted the NGVFA’s helpline.

An Army source said: “He was planning to get married so his suicide is especially tragic.”

Gulf War Syndrome expert Professor Malcolm Hooper, a member of the MOD’s independent Vaccine Panel, said: “The soldiers are hung out to dry, where instead they should be offered help when they come back from a horrific war distressed and unwell.”

An MOD spokesman said yesterday: “We recognise people are ill but we do not recognise a single syndrome.

“We will not comment on individual cases.”

In the UK, the NGVFA 24-hour helpline number is 01482 833812

In the US, free readjustment assistance and medical care for Gulf War / Iraqi Fredom veterans is available by calling (800) 827-1000.

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