Widow wins £40,000 for husband’s death after he was exposed to deadly material during work at Portsmouth dockyard

DANGERS Workers at Portsmouth dockyard, year unknown
DANGERS Workers at Portsmouth dockyard, year unknown

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A WOMAN will get a £40,000 payout because her husband died from asbestos-related cancer contracted after working on navy ships.

The man, who died in February last year at the age of 83, worked at the Portsmouth dockyard between 1944 and 1947.

His exposure to the deadly material caused a delayed-reaction disease which caused his death seven decades later.

Lawyer Brigitte Chandler said: ‘Initially, the MoD tried to deny the man had worked for them and that they had lost all their records.

‘However, we received invaluable help from the archives of the Portsmouth Royal Dockyard Historical Trust Support Group which confirmed his employment details.’

The man was working as an apprentice naval shipwright which meant he was on board ships when asbestos was being stripped from pipes.

He also worked in the dockyard during the war when ships were coming back heavily bombed, exposing workers to asbestos.

His widow is now living in the Algarve in Portugal and does not wish to be named.

Ms Chandler, who works for Swindon law firm Charles Lucas & Marshall, said: ‘The claim was settled by the MoD as it is well aware of the dangers of asbestos.

‘The dangers have been known since 1900 and since then there have been almost annual reports, warning of the dangers of asbestos but they were not acted upon.

‘The man was given no protective clothing or equipment.’

Ms Chandler said asbestos-related disease can take up to 60 years to develop.

She said: ‘The number of asbestos deaths among dockyard workers is rising and is expected to peak over the next few years.

‘Anybody who has had exposure to asbestos and developed respiratory problems should seek urgent medical advice.’

Asbestos was widely used in ship construction before the Second World War.

Blue and brown asbestos materials were banned outright in the UK in 1985 and white asbestos was outlawed in 1999.