The MoD have awarded three female RAF recruits £100,000 each after injuries suffered by them marching in step with men
Ministry of Defence top brass have come under fire for awarding three female RAF recruits £100,000 each after they suffered injuries caused by marching in step with their male colleagues.
The women, including one from Odiham, claimed that parading alongside their taller male recruits caused them to over-stride, leading them to develop spinal and pelvic injuries.
Now, after a five-year legal battle, they been awarded more compensation than soldiers who have suffered serious gunshot wounds in Afghanistan. The claimants, aged 17, 22 and 23 at the time, said they were forced to extend their strides while undergoing basic training.
One of them, 5ft 4in Tracie Davies from Odiham, said she was in agony after having to march alongside male recruits when she began basic training in January 2006 at the age of 22.
She told the Mail on Sunday: “When I started getting pains in my groin I was told to march through it, even when I was carrying a heavy pack which was almost the size of me. I trusted the medics to know better than me so I carried on marching.”
Eventually she could not take any more and an X-ray found four separate pelvic fractures. Miss Davies, who wanted to be an air traffic controller but went on to become a legal secretary, was sent home on sick leave. The fractures did not recover sufficiently and she was medically discharged in 2008.
Aldershot MP Gerald Howarth, a former Defence Minister, branded the payouts ‘absurd’.
He told the News & Mail : “One of the recruits accepted £3,000 compensation and was then encouraged by her lawyer to sue for more. It’s all part of the compensation culture and it’s become a gravy train for lawyers.
“Obviously I feel sorry for these people in military training but life in the armed forces is tough and they need to be fit.
“Of course an air traffic controller would not be marching through the Afghan desert but these people are all multi-skilled and if they have to turn their hand to fighting then they should be able to do so.”
The MoD confirmed that claims from three former RAF recruits, who suffered stress fracture injuries, were settled on August 7 although details have only just emerged.
An official statement added that where there is a proven legal liability, compensation is paid.
“The RAF takes the welfare of its recruits very seriously, and has a robust supervisory care system in place to provide physical and emotional support. The RAF continually reviews its recruit training practices and has introduced a number of measures to mitigate against the risk of stress fracture injuries.”