Nagasaki Cancer Veteran Ignored

Posted on August 20, 2013 by

Nagasaki cancer veteran: ‘I just want

recognition from MoD’

A former navy mechanic who says exposure to radiation at Nagasaki gave him cancer is fighting for recognition from the MoD, who he claims have been snubbing him for years.

By News agencies

9:42AM BST 14 Aug 2013


Lewis Philbrick, 86, escorted scientists onto the Japanese island in September 1945, a month after the atomic bomb was dropped, killing 74,000 people.

He immediately started suffering bleeding gums, loose teeth and lip sores, and was diagnosed with cancer in 1984.

His face is disfigured after seven operations, in which part of his jaw and skull were removed.

Mr Philbrick, who lives off Straight Road, Colchester, Essex, says he does not want compensation, he simply wants recognition that his service led to years of suffering.

Now, on the eve of VJ Day, he wants recognition from the Ministry of Defence – who have snubbed requests for a meeting for five years.


He said: “I can’t forget because every time I look in the mirror, it is there. My greatest worry is ‘when is it coming back’?”

He has requested face-to-face talks with MoD bosses after years communicating by letter.

Mr Philbrick said: “All I can ask for is one-to-one talks, which gives me the chance to respond immediately to whatever it is the MoD representative comes back with.”

The Allies dropped a bomb in Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Mr Philbrick escorted scientists to the area a month later.

He lost his cousin Gerald during the war in the Pacific and was one of the first people to witness the aftermath of the bomb, including finding Japanese prisoner of war camps.

Naval doctors diagnosed Mr Philbrick with gingivitis and later pleurisy.

Mr Philbrick said: “When I went to the doctor at the time they didn’t take a great deal of notice because a lot of people were coming forward with symptoms and they were being put down to heat exhaustion.”

He got home in 1946 and spent six months in Colchester Military Hospital before spells in the Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital and the Royal Naval Hospital.

Mr Philibrick, who played inside-left for Colchester United from 1946 to 1952, diagnosed with a type of skin cancer in his jaw and neck in 1984.

Tomorrow marks the 65th anniversary of the Allies’ victory in Japan.

An MoD spokesman said: “War Disablement Pensions are payable in respect of illness or injury as a result of service in HM Armed Forces before 6 April 2005. All decisions follow careful consideration of all the service and medical evidence available and carry full rights of appeal to an independent Tribunal.”


Edited for by Katie Grant