Man Suffering Asbestos-Related Cancer Appeals For Ex-Work Colleagues to Help Investigation

Industrial Disease Experts Help 91-Year-Old in His Battle for Justice


A former factory worker who built railway tankers has joined forces with specialist industrial disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to appeal for information about the working conditions he believes led to him suffering from a debilitating asbestos-related disease.

Percy Bowers, from Manor Road, Ossett in Wakefield, is suffering from mesothelioma, which he believes was caused by his 49-year career at Charles Roberts factory in Horbury.
Percy was 14-years-old when he joined Charles Roberts in 1935 and was initially responsible for building and refurbishing railway tankers and carriages.  The company later built tanks for the World War II.

During his time at the firm, Percy had many different roles and worked his way up from being a sheet metal worker to foreman of the spring shop.

The 91-year-old, a father of two, grandfather of seven and great grandfather of seven, has now instructed expert industrial illness lawyers from Irwin Mitchell in his battle for justice who are appealing for Percy’s ex work colleagues to come forward with information about the working conditions he endured at the factory, which was later taken over by US firm Proctor Engineering in 1974.

James Hemming, from Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, said: “Percy is still coming to terms with the mesothelioma diagnosis and the effect it is having on his health. It’s a devastating illness which can be distressing for victims like Percy and for families who see their loved ones suffer.

“Percy’s case is unique because he was employed at the same company for his entire working life so we would like to know more about why his only employer didn’t do more to protect him from the harmful effects of asbestos.

“I’m sure he was a familiar face and well known by his colleagues at Charles Roberts and we hope his colleagues repay the dedication he showed to the company by helping us investigate the conditions at the factory so we can help him get the justice he deserves.”

Percy, who used to be a keen crown green bowler, first started to show the symptoms of mesothelioma in August 2012 when he suffered from a persistent cough. Doctors initially thought he was suffering from a chest infection but antibiotics didn’t clear up the condition and he was sent to Pinderfields Hospital for further tests and scans, where they found fluid on his lungs.

His condition deteriorated rapidly and he started to suffer from hot flushes and breathlessness. He was taken back to Pinderfields Hospital for more tests where doctors confirmed he was suffering from mesothelioma on 6 September 2012.

Percy is now being cared for by a specialist care facility which was tragically separated him from his 89-year-old wife Margaret.

Percy’s son Graham said: “It’s been absolutely devastating for us to see dad suffer from such a horrible illness like mesothelioma and we feel angry that his health has taken such a dramatic turn for the worse simply because he went to work every day at the factory.

“We hope his ex-work mates come forward to help dad get the justice he deserves and to help us raise awareness of how devastating asbestos can be to people’s health if proper protection is not provided by employees.”

Anyone who worked at Charles Roberts between 1935 and 1984 should contact James Hemming on 0113 3946777 or email