Veterans concerned former sailor compensated for PTSD linked to fire for which there is no record

When Allan Bell confirmed up for his per thirty days breakfast with former shipmates of HMCS Kootenay in Dartmouth, N.S., in December, he briefly learned that a selection of them had been dissatisfied a few native newspaper article. It used to be a couple of sailor who have been compensated for hurt he mentioned he skilled in a fireplace on a Canadian warship greater than 50 years in the past.

The veterans have been involved because they don’t believe the hearth came about.

The Dept of Nationwide Defence also says there’s no document of the fireplace.

“There May Be just too much fallacious,” stated Bell, who goes by way of the name Dinger and is a survivor of the HMCS Kootenay explosion that killed nine other folks in 1969.

In a call dated Aug. 31, 2021, the Veterans Review and Attraction Board — an impartial appeal tribunal for disability techniques administered by Veterans Affairs Canada — presented the sailor an undisclosed amount of money for ache and struggling he experienced as a result of put up-traumatic pressure disorder.

The panel stated it awarded the compensation in spite of the reality there’s no proof of the fire.

WATCH | Explosion and fireplace on HMCS Kootenay in 1969 killed nine: 

HMCS Kootenay

THREE years in the past

Duration ZERO:FIFTY FIVE

(silent undated photos) HMCS Kootenay explodes in the English Channel, killing nine participants of the Canadian Defense Force. ZERO:FIFTY FIVE

The panel additionally stated that the veteran testified in a “forthright and credible manner.”

In a press release, a spokesperson for the overview board — which contains former police officers, attorneys and veterans, amongst others — mentioned the panel is needed via legislation to simply accept any uncontradicted proof offered by way of the applicant that it considers to be credible.

“While board individuals are weighing proof, they are going to have a look at it within the best mild conceivable and resolve doubt so that it advantages the veteran,” Amber Nicholson mentioned.

Veterans Affairs denied declare in 2012

Veterans Affairs Canada had prior to now denied the declare. In November 2012, it ruled that at the same time as the sailor does have PTSD, there was no purpose evidence to beef up it being hooked up to his time in the Canadian Defense Force.

The sailor, who at the time of the decision was once SEVENTY THREE, was once within the common power for 4 years, from September 1966 to August 1970, and used to be electrocuted in a civilian coincidence in 1995. That coincidence resulted in his prognosis of PTSD, however the sailor and his psychologist now argue the PTSD used to be additionally partly as a result of the alleged fireplace at the warship.

In his utility for repayment, the sailor wrote that “on or round 1968,” an aviation gas fireplace was once raging in a storage tank on his ship even as it used to be getting back from port calls in Florida and Bermuda.

Remembering the Kootenay explosion, nearly five decades later

He testified that when he arrived at his emergency station, he discovered flames coming out of a hatch that led all the way down to the aviation gas garage. He stated he had no choice however to close the hatch, unknowingly shutting in team members, in order to combat the fire, and that “two or three” of them died.

The sailor stated he was told at the time that he had done the correct thing and that the deaths weren’t his fault.

“i have and still do feel bad guilt over this,” he wrote.

Sailor, ship and victims all unnamed 

The sailor is not named in the review board’s decision, nor is the send or any of the people who allegedly died in the fire. Veterans Affairs refused to reply to questions on those main points, bringing up privateness issues.

The overview board says it doesn’t have the names of the alleged victims.

In its decision, the panel wrote that the truth the veteran was once not able to acquire proof of the fireplace is “now not proof that the fire did not occur.”

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Allan Bell, 73, says he does not believe the veteran’s tale and reported the matter to the RCMP, alleging fraud.

A spokesperson for the RCMP in Nova Scotia confirms a criticism was received on Jan. 4 that a individual had fraudulently received an award through fabricating data. The RCMP referred the matter to Veterans Affairs Canada.

Veterans Affairs says it has investigated and no additional motion will be taken at this time.

Selections of the review board are final and binding. 

DND says no file of 1968 warship fireplace

In a press release, the pinnacle of media members of the family for the dep. of National Defence mentioned there is no report of an enormous fire on a warship in 1968, as defined by way of the Veterans Evaluate and Appeal Board.

“in addition to in-house instruments, the Royal Canadian Military historian staff consulted outside naval historians and ex-RCN personnel acquainted with that time length, and none of them had any recollection/knowledge of such an adventure,” Daniel Le Bouthillier mentioned.

The Biggest fire on board a Canadian warship from that point length was once on HMCS Kootenay at the same time as it was once returning to Canada within the English Channel on Oct. 23, 1969. A catastrophic gearbox failure ended in the explosion that killed nine people and injured FIFTY THREE. The ship used to be towed to Halifax and arrived on Nov. 27.

Veterans concerned former sailor compensated for PTSD linked to fire for which there is no record

HMCS Bonaventure, Canada’s closing plane provider, served from 1957 till 1970. It used to be scrapped 50 years in the past in 1971. (Library and Information Canada MIKAN No. 4821237)

“I misplaced nine of my shipmates,” mentioned Bell, his voice nonetheless breaking with emotion a majority of these years later. “I burnt 50 per cent of my frame, third-level burns. I spent over a 12 months in sanatorium.”

there has been some other incident on Dec. 3, 1969, on HMCS Bonaventure. That one did contain aviation gas, because the veteran provided the hot cost described from his revel in — but the send was off the Atlantic coast on the time, having simply left Halifax, not coming back from Florida or Bermuda. Two sailors died from deadly fumes and two more misplaced their lives through the rescue try.

a fire on HMCS Nipigon on Oct. 18, 1965, additionally involved aviation gas and killed three other people. It came about a year ahead of the sailor who was once presented the payment joined the army.

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David Yeo, 75, who retired from the navy in 2001 at the rank of lieutenant-commander, was once on board HMCS Nipigon at the time.

He said the ship used to be within the Bay of Biscayne, off France, whilst a ball of smoke and every other large bang got here out of the mess, or dwelling quarters. He mentioned that is where his shipmates died.

“It in fact picked me up off the deck and threw me in opposition to the wall,” he mentioned in a contemporary phone interview from his home in Charlottetown.

Veterans concerned former sailor compensated for PTSD linked to fire for which there is no record

David Yeo, then 19, is proven in London following the army funeral for his family member, Able Seamen Roderick Reade, who died in a fireplace on HMCS Nipigon. Yeo, who used to be on the warship at the time of the 1965 fire, was once a pallbearer. (Submitted via David Yeo)

Yeo said what’s defined in the resolution raises a few questions for him.

“It certainly doesn’t fit with Nipigon,” he stated. “In 39 years within the navy, I Have by no means once seen an coincidence or an incident that wasn’t investigated through both a board of inquiry or a thorough investigation.”

Thorough investigations

Three of 4 naval historians contacted by CBC Information, who do not currently paintings for the dep. of Nationwide Defence and have no unbiased wisdom of the evaluate board’s choice, supported the view that any coincidence that reasons significant harm — especially when there may be loss of existence — is thoroughly investigated and documented.

Alternatively, of the historians referred to that the unification of the Royal Canadian Military, the Royal Canadian Air Drive and the Canadian Army also came about in 1968. they say the unification brought about a few confusion and a few records were temporarily misplaced.

Writer and naval historian Roger Litwiller, based totally in Trenton, Ont., stated in an e-mail that allowing this claim need to be regarded as a certain milestone in recognizing PTSD as a situation.

Michael Hennessy, a professor at the Royal Army Faculty of Canada in Kingston, Ont., has also helped the Canadian Militia with its dealing with of PTSD within the earlier.

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He says the send’s log should also have a report of the hearth, but he recognizes that the occasions are purported to have befell a protracted time in the past.

“It Is obviously anyone who’s been via a few irritating events,” he stated. “It Is hard to 2d-bet them.”

The veteran’s PTSD analysis was once confirmed through a psychologist in 2012 and mentioned to have “all the time been understood” to relate to the electrical fireplace he skilled as a civilian in 1995. His medical records display there have been no mental well being issues in 1970, whilst he was once medically launched from the Canadian Military as a result of “noise brought on deafness.”

But in a submission to the overview board, the psychologist wrote that the situation is advanced because of the veteran’s in depth reminiscence loss, and “it is extremely probable that the shipboard event formed a part of a cumulative revel in that made the totality of the 1995 revel in as traumatizing and debilitating over time because it has been.”

Veterans concerned former sailor compensated for PTSD linked to fire for which there is no record

a hearth on HMCS Nipigon on Oct. 18, 1965, killed three other people. (Department of Nationwide Defence )

Bell says he’s angry and wants the board to reopen the case.

He says whilst he wants deserving veterans to be compensated, he additionally desires the truth to be known and that the rest less is a disgrace to all of these who served honourably.

“No Person died via hearth in 1968 in the Canadian army,” he stated. “we don’t disguise our lifeless. We mourn our useless.”

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