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A FEW weeks later I was notified that the Medical Board had found that I was suffering with haemorrhoids and rheumatism and that the haemorrhoids had been aggravated by my War service: for which I had been awarded a disability pension of eight shillings a week for sixty-five weeks.

Before this time expired I would be notified to appear in front of a Medical Board for a further examination. No disability pension could be awarded for my rheumatism which in their opinion had not been caused or aggravated by War service. If I wished to appeal I could do so.

I knew it was useless to appeal. I have never been in hospital with rheumatism and the War had now been over two years and nine months. I also knew that Medical Boards went by what hospital service a man had entered on his medical history sheet and not by his front-line service. If a man had only done four weeks' service in England and had been admitted to hospital for a few days he would have a better chance of being awarded a disability pension than a man who had done four years in the firing line and whose medical history sheet was clean.

No matter what complaint had come on a man since the War ceased he could claim a Medical Board, but if he had never been admitted to hospital during the War with what he was now suffering from he had no more chance than a crow of being awarded a disability pension.

I met the man who had got wet guarding the bridge and he informed me he had been awarded a disability pension of twelve shillings a week for sixty-five weeks and had also been recommended for massage treatment. When I told him that I had been awarded nothing for my rheumatism he said: "I thought you wouldn't: you have never been admitted to hospital with it and that's what they go by."

Two months later I was sent to a hospital and was operated on. The Staff Nurse who was present at my operation told me that I was the worst case she ever saw with my complaint, and the most serious operation, and that also I had used the worst language she had ever heard.

> Old Soldiers Never Die by Frank Richards, is published by Parthian, Library of Wales at PS8.99 CONTINUES TOMORROW


Old Soldiers Never Die by Frank Richards

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 11, 2016
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