D-Day Veteran's Family Appeal To Ex-Colleagues

Mesothelioma - The Silent Killer

05.03.2009

The family of a former RAF serviceman and Second World War survivor from Pocklington, York have paid tribute to the courage of the 86 year old who passed away in July last year from Mesothelioma.

The death of James Peacock, 86 has left his family devastated and with several questions about how he came to contract this asbestos related terminal cancer.

Mr Peacock joined the RAF in 1942 and served until 1946 as a Leading Aircraftman in the 83 Group Signals. He performed critical communications tasks for the Second Tactical Airforce during 'Operation Overlord' and the Normandy landings, ensuring that inland troops were provided with all the supplies they needed for successful combat.

Mr Peacock was diagnosed with Mesothelioma – known as the silent killer because of its ability to remain dormant for up to sixty years after asbestos exposure – just a year before he died and up until this point had led a full and active life.

It is believed that he inhaled significant levels of asbestos dust whilst working as a buildings supply manager for Henry Foster Building Products– a well known builders merchants in Northallerton – between 1967 and 1985.

Henry Foster Building Products, which later became Ferguson Foster Limited and then Ferguson Industrial Holdings Limited, also had sites in Bishop Auckland and Newcastle.

His family have now instructed industrial diseases expert Ian Toft at law firm Irwin Mitchell to represent Mr Peacock at a forthcoming inquest into his death and to investigate a compensation claim against his former employers.

Mr Toft said: "It is crucial that we are able to speak to any of James' former workmates who may know specific details about his role during his seventeen years with the company, witnesses are crucial in claims of this nature.

"We are keen to hear from anyone who may have information about James' daily activities at Henry Foster Building Products or who may have information about the company itself as this will help us establish the circumstances around him contracting this deadly disease."

"We believe that Mr Peacock used to frequently handle asbestos sheets which were delivered to the builders merchants. He handled the sheets without any form of protection such as a mask or respirator and so would have been exposed to high levels of asbestos dust – often referred to as devil's dust because of its deadly side effect."

Mr Peacock's daughter Jennifer McNally says: "James' diagnosis was a complete and crushing surprise to us. He was an extremely brave man and managed to survive the horror of military service during the Second World War. He used to tell us stories about the landings on the beaches of Normandy. It is so very tragic that his days were ended because of the environment he worked so hard in after the war."

Anybody who has any information about the company or their insurers at the time should contact Mr Toft on 08701500100 or email ian.toft@irwinmitchell.com.