Ex-Electrical Engineer Seeks Answers After Asbestos-Related Disease Diagnosis

Appeal For Information Regarding Chatham Dockyard And Darlington Manufacturer


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

A retired electrical engineer diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma has joined with legal experts at Irwin Mitchell to call on former colleagues to come forward and help him gain answers regarding how he was exposed to the deadly material.

Bernard Cozens, who was born in Gillingham but now lives in Darlington, was diagnosed with the cancer of the lining of the lung commonly associated with asbestos in June, after enduring symptoms including shortness of breath for several months.

The 84-year-old has now instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him discover how he came into contact with the material and, as part of their work, the legal experts are calling on his former workmates to come forward with information.

Bernard specifically believes he may have come into contact with asbestos during work as an apprentice electrician for the Ministry of Defence at the Chatham Dockyard in Kent between 1947 and 1952, as well as possibly during work as an electrical engineer for Whessoe Ltd in Darlington between 1959 and 1992.

Roger Maddocks, Partner and asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office, said:

Expert Opinion
“Bernard’s story is sadly like so many we hear during the course of our work, as he appears to have developed an asbestos-related disease decades after he came into contact with the material.

“Such a case highlights the terrible, devastating legacy that asbestos can have on lives and we are now working to discover how he came to be exposed to the material with a view to securing him vital financial support.

“As part of our enquiries, we are keen to hear from anyone who worked with him either at Chatham Dockyard or Whessoe Ltd in Darlington and may have information regarding the working conditions at either site.”
Roger Maddocks, Partner

During his time at Chatham Dockyard, Bernard spent two years working on the construction of the light cruiser HMS Diardem alongside other tradesman including laggers. It is thought their work could have generated asbestos dust.

In contrast, Whessoe was a large manufacturer of storage tanks, including some which were lagged. Bernard recalls such lagging would contain asbestos and be covered by a metal skin.

Discussing his illness, Bernard said: “My symptoms only really emerged when I started to suffer shortness of breath around Christmas. Things escalated and after tests I needed to have fluid drained from my lung in March.

“The illness has had a massive impact on my life in such a short space of time. I now rely on my daughter and her husband a huge amount for things like shopping and gardening, as I just can’t lift items anymore.

“I just feel like I deserve answers as to how this illness developed and why I have come to be diagnosed with mesothelioma.”

Anyone with information about working conditions at Chatham Dockyard or Whessoe Ltd should contact Kirstie Devine at Irwin Mitchell on 0191 279 0136 or Kirstie.Devine@IrwinMitchell.com.

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.