Hundreds of soldiers are in line to receive a share of £6m in compensation for cold weather injuries suffered while on duty.
Many of the 150 soldiers are from warmer Commonwealth countries and have been subjected to extreme pain and varying levels of disability caused by Non-Freezing Cold Injury (NFCI).
The Ministry of Defence said today it regretted any suffering caused by the condition – similar to “trench foot” – and would pay out where liable.
Lawyers for the soldiers have claimed failures of equipment and training were to blame for cases of NFCI.
Solicitor Simon Harrington said: “These types of injury are entirely avoidable. Kit was sub-standard, training was sub-standard and supervision afforded to soldiers and recruits in particular was sub-standard.”
He said following the claims there had been a “fantastic” improvement in training, but there were still changes needed across the whole of the Army.
One soldier from Nigeria who was discharged with NFCI said he contracted it on winter exercises in Wales and now has constantly sore feet and fingernails which drop off. “Your feet are stuck in your boots,” he said. “They are swollen and your fingers feel stiffer to move. I was told, ‘Soldier on and stop being a wimp’.”
The number of armed forces recruits who felt they had been badly or unfairly treated jumped by one third last year.