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Soldiering on - Major Richard Perkins

Len Tingle | 17:08 UK time, Wednesday, 10 November 2010

December 2008 and Major Richard Perkins, aged 91, holds a one-man protest outside Parliament

December 2008 and Major Richard Perkins, aged 91, holds a one-man protest outside Parliament

At 92 former army Major Richard Perkins is still full of fight and willing to take on the entire Ministry of Defence single handed.

He is getting a little frail now but hit the headlines last year by staging a one-man protest outside Parliament and is fully prepared to do the same again.

Until 1998 Richard lived quietly in his rented retirement cottage near Pickering.

His transformation into one of Britain's oldest campaigners came when he was informed that a blunder by officials had indentified him as one of 1,600 veterans who had seen chunks of their army pension mistakenly deducted every month for over 40 YEARS.

It was at this point that the grit which had carried him through one of the most horrific campaigns of the Second World War resurfaced.

From the photo album of  Richard Perkins. 1941 and his tropp of Chindits pictured shortly before embarking on the aircraft taking them behind Japanese lines in the bloody Burma campaign.

Richard had been one of the famous Chindit commandoes fighting behind Japanese lines in the Burmese jungle.

The Ministry of Defence found it had a tiger by the tail.

It took him a few years but he eventually won his argument to have the withheld money reimbursed but has not had a penny to compensate him for the interest he lost as a result of the illegal stoppages.

Independent financial experts calculate he is tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket.

For a decade now he has been sending out floods of letters and press releases. He has had thousands of visitors to his web site and badgered newspapers, radio and television programmes to air his case.

On December 17 2008, then aged 90, he got into the tiny car he normally uses to pop down to the shops and headed for Parliament to stage his one-man protest.

He appeared wearing his numerous decorations on the front pages of national and regional newspapers. He was featured throughout the day on the BBC.

His case was pursued for years by his own former local MP John Greenway. Other MPs were convinced by the dozens of questions John Greenway asked before he left parliament at the last election.

Umpteen commanding officers, both current and retired, are on record as backing Major Perkins.

Unfortunately eight successive ministers responsible for army pensions have turned him down.

The Ministry of Defence has never wavered from the view that he does not qualify for compensation.

But does that ruling see Major R.L.Perkins, retiring from the field?

It does not.


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