Family of Former Plant Worker Fight for Answers After Father’s Asbestos-linked Death

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The family of David Gowing, who died from pneumonia in 2021, are fighting for answers after an inquest ruled that asbestos exposure had caused him extensive lung damage. Our Industrial Disease lawyers are appealing for more information from  former workers at Bankside Power Station and British Rail, to investigate whether more could have been done to protect him.

David Gowing, 95, was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital suffering from shortness of breath in October 2021. He was later diagnosed with pneumonia and blood clots on his lungs and while he received ongoing care for his symptoms. His condition deteriorated and he sadly passed away just sixteen days later.

An inquest that took place at Southwark Coroners Court in February 2022 revealed that David had died from respiratory failure. However, the coroner’s investigation also revealed that he had suffered from extensive lung destruction caused by asbestos exposure.

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Devastated by the news, his family have now instructed industrial disease lawyers at Simpson Millar to investigate when and where he was exposed to the deadly dust. We are seeking more information on the working conditions and presence of asbestos at Bankside Power Station where he worked as a boiler operator from 1948-1970, and British Rail at London Bridge where he worked as an Electrician’s Mate, from 1970-1991.

If you were a colleague of David’s or worked at the same places and think you could provide more information, please get in touch with Anthony Waddington here at Simpson Millar on [email protected], or on 0345 357 9200.

Speaking after his father’s death David’s son, David John Gowing, said:

“We are still trying to come to terms with my father’s death.

“Losing a loved one is always difficult, under any circumstances, but to know now that his condition was caused as a result of asbestos exposure is extremely hard.

“Before he passed away he would often talk about his time working at both Bankside Power Station and for British Rail, and he would tell us stories about when he would come into contact with asbestos, such as when he would drill walls using a hammer drill to strip wires."

  • "As a family, we are desperate to understand how and when he may have come into contact with asbestos, and whether more could have been done to keep him safe, and we would very much like to hear from anyone who may have information about the working conditions he was subjected to."

    David John Gowing

    David's son

He worked at Bankside Power Station for 22 years, and would likely have come into contact with asbestos, which was used extensively as an insulation on boilers and pipework.

David was a first aider Bankside Power Station, and was also player and manager for Bankside Football Team. He also ran a five aside football team during the week - the home ground was Kidbrooke in London, where he played within the London Business Houses League who he represented in Germany. 

During his 11 years at British Rail, David worked as an Electrician’s Mate, where once again he would have sadly come into contact with the asbestos materials in electrical wiring, carriage walls and station buildings.

In his later years, David was a very keen sea fisherman - he fished from Deal in Kent and owned his own boat. He would often take colleagues and friends from Bankside Power Station and British Rail onto his boat for a day out. 

A keen darts player during this time with both Bankside Power Station and British Rail, he had also played for a public house in the name of “Fitchetts” or the “Surrey Commerical Dock Tavern” in Redriff, SE16.

David’s Family Appeal for Information

David’s family are left heartbroken over his loss and the prospect that he could have lived a longer life if it wasn’t for his exposure to asbestos. They are desperately appealing for more information to help them prove that something could have been done to prevent his asbestos exposure.

The family’s lawyer, specialist industrial disease expert Anthony Waddington from Simpson Millar, said the family is keen to hear from anyone who might have information about exposure to asbestos at either Bankside Power Station from 1948 to 1970 or British Rail 1970 to 1991.

Appealing for information

  • "It has been deeply upsetting for the family to learn that Mr Gowing’s death was as a result of extensive lung destruction caused by asbestos exposure. We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who worked with him at Bankside Power Station from 1948 to 1970 or British Rail 1970 to 1991. There are over 5,000 asbestos-related deaths per year and this is a figure that continues to increase and devastate the lives of victims as well as their families.  While the dangers of asbestos have been known for many decades there are still, sadly, many people dying prematurely because of related illnesses, because they were not made aware of its presence and were not provided with protective equipment. "

    Anthony Waddington

    Industrial Disease Solicitor

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