Widow’s appeal to former MoD factory workers

Robert Prince spent a large part of his working life at the Barnbow tank factory.
Robert Prince spent a large part of his working life at the Barnbow tank factory.
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The widow of a former tank engineer who died from asbestos-related lung cancer is appealing to his former Ministry of Defence colleagues for help.

Robert Prince died, aged 70, following a three-month battle with mesothelioma which he believed was contracted four decades ago.

Mr Prince, who died in January last year, was thought to have been exposed to asbestos while working for the MoD at the Royal Ordnance Factory – locally known as Barnbow – in Leeds.

He began working for the MoD as a trainee engineer and developed his career at the factory, which produced tanks.

Mr Prince, who lived in Knottingley, believed asbestos was used to insulate the tanks and make them fireproof.

His widow Jacqueline said: “We first noticed that things weren’t right in autumn 2011 when he suddenly had a lack of energy and became really lethargic.

“Robert suffered with pain in his chest and when he was at Pontefract Hospital for an unrelated problem they picked up on it and sent him for a scan.

“After another scan we were given the devastating news that Robert was suffering from mesothelioma and that he would never recover.

“His condition deteriorated over the New Year, and in January he lost his battle against the disease.

“It is painful to think that Robert was exposed to something so long ago that ultimately led to such awful pain and suffering and ended his life too soon.

“It is important now that we find the answers we are looking for as to why nothing was done to prevent his exposure to asbestos.”

Solicitors from Irwin Mitchell are appealing for former employees, who worked at the site between 1957 and 1974, to come forward.

Ian Bailey, an industrial disease specialist at the firm’s Leeds office, said: “We believe Robert was regularly exposed to asbestos while working for the Ministry of Defence at their Royal Ordnance Factory in Leeds.

“We are now continuing his fight for justice with Jacqueline to confirm why he was exposed to asbestos and to ensure that those responsible are held to account.”

Anyone with information can contact 0870 1500 100 or email: ian.bailey@irwinmitchell.com

Harry Gration.

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