Sheffield OAP’s 20 year wait for payout

Henry Hopkinson, aged 76,of Ridgeway Road, Sheffield, who injured an arm in the Army Catering Corps.
Henry Hopkinson, aged 76,of Ridgeway Road, Sheffield, who injured an arm in the Army Catering Corps.
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A former serviceman says he has endured a 20-year wait for a decision to award him compensation for a painful injury suffered in his Army years.

Henry Hopkinson, aged 76, of Manor Top, broke his arm in 1956 while stationed in Berlin with the Army Catering Corps.

After leaving the forces, Mr Hopkinson started working as a builder, but had to give up the job in 1990 when his arm began to cause him problems.

Since then, the great-grandfather says he has had a frustrating wait while the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency decides whether he is entitled to an allowance or compensation for the trouble his injury has caused him.

He said he has sent and received ‘countless’ letters and had to attend numerous medical examinations over the 22 years since he made his initial enquiry.

“They’re just fobbing me off,” said Mr Hopkinson.

“In one recent letter they referred to a medical which was held in 1994. It’s getting frustrating. If they’re going to compensate me in some way, I’ll need money for all the phone calls I’ve had to make.

“I didn’t start off thinking I would get lots of money out of this, but I’m sick of it now. It’s like they wait for you to die.”

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said she could not comment on individual cases, but that Mr Hopkinson was able to lodge an appeal if he was still unhappy.

The pensioner broke his right arm when he slipped and fell while using a skipping rope during a boxing training session.

He finished his National Service in 1957, and returned to Sheffield.

Mr Hopkinson said: “I complained 30 years later. I was talking to my friends on the building site, and I said that my arm was playing up and I’d done it in the Army.

“They said I was entitled to something from it.”

Mr Hopkinson said: “I think they do the medicals and get you to go back so they can see if it’s any better. Then they can stop the money, which is ridiculous. It’s going to go on and on, I want a conclusion to it.”

The MOD spokeswoman added: “We cannot comment on individual cases but we can be clear that providing our personnel and veterans with the support they need is one of our top priorities.

“If individuals are unhappy with the result of their claim, there is an appeal procedure they can follow.”

The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency administers War and Armed Forces pensions, plus other payments to veterans.

Later this year, it is due to join the Government’s Defence Business Services department. Last year, day-to-day running of Defence Business Services was contracted to private firm Serco.