Urgent Appeal: Widow Appeals for Information Following Husband’s Mesothelioma Death

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Anthony Waddington

Partner, Industrial Disease Claims

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The widow of a former Rolls Royce engineer, who died just weeks after receiving a devastating asbestos-related cancer diagnosis has today issued an appeal for his ex-colleagues to come forward with information about the condition of his workplace.

Brian Jaques from Bulkington, Warwickshire, was just 16 years old when he started working in the automotive industry; taking on an apprenticeship with car manufacturer Bristol Siddeley Engines (which was then bought by Rolls Royce in 1966) where he continued to work for his entire adult life.

He joined the firm immediately after leaving school in 1957, and was initially based in Parkside, Coventry, before it moved to Ansty, Leicestershire, in 1987;.

Brian carried out work on a production line for the popular Sunbeam car, before qualifying as a radiographer within the Marine and Industrial Division following the company’s merger with Rolls Royce in 1966. Brian then went on to retire in the year 2000, following a long and successful career.

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After his working life

In August 2017, seventeen years after taking retirement, Brian become unwell at his home in Pembrokeshire. Within weeks his condition had deteriorated rapidly and Brian sadly passed away in October 2017.

Brian underwent treatment at Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest, where he was diagnosed with mesothelioma – an incurable cancer that develops gradually over time, usually without any initial symptoms.  The Mesothelioma symptoms typically appear several decades after exposure to asbestos, with acute symptoms which often occur due to the fluid developing on the lungs.Sadly Brian passed away within only a couple of months of his symptoms starting.

Widow and next of kin, Jean Jaques, has instructed expert Industrial Disease Lawyers at Simpson Millar to investigate the workplace conditions that Brian would have been exposed to that resulted in his diagnosis, and subsequent death, of the asbestos-related cancer.

Jean Jaques and Simpson Millar are now appealing to anyone else who was also employed by Bristol Siddeley Engines at the same time to come forward and offer descriptions of the conditions in the factory in the years leading up to and after the 1950s/60s.

Jean believes that exposure to the deadly fibres occurred between 1957 and 1961, whilst Brian was working as an apprentice at the company, where he spent much of his time fitting brakes to new vehicles on the production line.  It is well documented that brake linings of that era were often manufactured using asbestos and it is suspected this is where Brian may have been exposed to asbestos.

Following on from his apprenticeship, Brian’s role as a radiographer saw him experience regular exposure to radiation.

Brian's Illness

Speaking of her husband’s illness, Jean commented, “Brian first became ill towards the end of August 2017 and suspected that it was simply backache. In the weeks following this, his condition deteriorated rapidly and on 12 September 2017 he attended A&E at Withybush Hospital with pain and shortness of breath.

“Unable to return home due to the level of care required, Brian underwent tests and had fluid drained from his lungs before being transferred to South Pembrokeshire Hospital where he was cared for until his death, two weeks later.

“It’s now been over a year since Brian’s death and I’m still looking for the answers as to how and why the exposure to asbestos occurred.”

Prior to becoming ill, Jean described Brian as being “very fit and healthy”, helping to care for their young grandson and completing DIY projects around their house to keep himself busy.

An Industrial Disease Lawyer at Simpson Millar added, “Mesothelioma is responsible for around 2,500 deaths annually – a figure that continues to increase and devastate the lives of victims as well as their families.

“We now hope to speak to more witnesses who worked at Bristol Siddeley Engines during the 1950s and 1960s to gain an understanding of the working conditions and relevant safety procedures that were in place at the time to protect staff from exposure to the harmful dust and fibres.

“We hope to provide Jean and her family with answers to exactly when and why the exposure to asbestos occurred so that they can seek closure on the tragedy.”

How Simpson Millar Can Help

The law can be complicated, but we do everything in our power to make it straightforward for you and help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. We almost always operate mesothelioma claims on a No Win, No Fee basis, which can ease any financial worries you may have about your claim.

Some Msothelioma Claims can be put through a compensation scheme rather than through a civil claim. Putting a claim through a Scheme, where eligible, such as the


Cancer Research UK. (n.d.). Mesothelioma - Statistics by Cancer Type. Retrieved from https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/mesothelioma

Mesothelioma.com. (n.d.). Pleural Mesothelioma. Retrieved from https://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/types/pleural/

Asbestos.com. (n.d.). Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Retrieved from https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma/peritoneal/

Mesothelioma.com. (n.d.). Pericardial Mesothelioma. Retrieved from https://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/types/pericardial/

Asbestos.com. (n.d.). Testicular Mesothelioma. Retrieved from https://www.asbestos.com/mesothelioma/testicular/

UK Ministry of Defence. (2021-2022). Defence Medical Services - Annual Review. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/637cba858fa8f53f44948813/dmps-annual-review-2021-2022.pdf

Anthony Waddington

Partner, Industrial Disease Claims

Areas of Expertise:
Industrial Disease

Anthony is a Partner in our Industrial Disease department and specialises in high value Industrial Disease Claims.

He joined Simpson Millar as a Paralegal in 2006, and completed his training contract three years later, working in Simpson Millar's Industrial Disease, Civil Litigation and Personal Injury departments.

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