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Queen’s guardsman, 31, sues for £860,000 saying being cold in Estonaian winter caused stammer

Soldier who claims being cold on exercise caused a stammer that has left him ‘almost unintelligible’ sues the MoD for £860,000 of taxpayer cash

  • Armoured vehicle engineer Chileshe Mwamba was deployed in Estonia in 2017 
  • His winter deployment 2017 saw him subjected to extreme cold temperatures 
  • He said it left him with a ‘non-freezing cold injury,’ lasting PTSD – and a stutter
  • Now suing the MoD for £860,000 due to the effect on his personal life and work


A soldier left ‘almost unintelligible’ by a severe stammer after he was nearly frozen on duty is suing the Ministry of Defence for £860,000 compensation.

Former Queen’s guardsman Chileshe Mwamba, 31, was deployed in Estonia in the winter of 2017 when he was subjected to extreme cold temperatures.

The ordeal left him with a ‘non-freezing cold injury,’ lasting PTSD – and a stutter when he speaks which lawyers say make him barely understandable.

The armoured vehicle engineer, from Derby, is now suing the MoD at the High Court for £860,000 due to the effect on his personal life and work.

Part of his claim is £400,000 for the loss of future earnings due to the effect his speech impediment has on his employability. 

Chileshe Mwamba, 31, is suing the MoD at the High Court for £860,000 due to the an extreme stammer he says was caused by deployment in Estonia on his personal life and work

Soldiers from the British Army's Royal Welsh Regiment stand in front of their Warrior armoured fighting vehicle near a base in Tapa, Estonia

Soldiers from the British Army’s Royal Welsh Regiment stand in front of their Warrior armoured fighting vehicle near a base in Tapa, Estonia

In a hearing at the court, his barrister Gurion Tausig said the stammer is ‘severe’ and affects his social interaction.

He had had a mild stammer as a child, but the trauma of being subjected to the cold had caused a ‘marked exacerbation’ and made it ‘a lot worse.’

He became ‘actually disfluent,’ he told judge, Master Victoria McCloud, and has been left ‘almost unintelligible to work colleagues.’

‘This has caused a large impact on Mr Mwamba’s lifestyle and affects his work prospects,’ he said.

NFCI is caused by long periods of exposure to cold and wet conditions, but is different to frostbite because it results from the tissue cooling, but not freezing.

The MoD has admitted liability for some non-freezing injury caused to Mr Mwamba, but does not accept the extent of his disabilities.

It demands that he prove the full extent of his injury and losses at a High Court trial next year.

‘For the avoidance of doubt, it is not admitted that NFCI can cause an exacerbation of pre-existing dysfluency of speech,’ said MoD barrister Andrew Ward.

‘The claimant is required to prove the matter.’

Former Queen's guardsman Mwamba was deployed in Estonia in the winter of 2017 when he was subjected to extreme cold temperatures. The ordeal left him with a 'non-freezing cold injury,' lasting PTSD - and a stutter when he speaks which lawyers say make him barely understandable

Former Queen’s guardsman Mwamba was deployed in Estonia in the winter of 2017 when he was subjected to extreme cold temperatures. The ordeal left him with a ‘non-freezing cold injury,’ lasting PTSD – and a stutter when he speaks which lawyers say make him barely understandable

Mr Mwamba with Ross Kemp. The MoD has admitted liability for some non-freezing injury caused to Mr Mwamba, but does not accept the extent of his disabilities

Mr Mwamba with Ross Kemp. The MoD has admitted liability for some non-freezing injury caused to Mr Mwamba, but does not accept the extent of his disabilities

Mr Mwamba joined the British Army in 2009 and initially served as an infantryman and guardsman in the Coldstream Guards, providing security to the Queen and other Royals.

He then joined the Royal Engineers and was with the Armoured Engineers Regiment when he was deployed to Estonia in November 2017.

British troops were sent to Estonia under Operation CABRIT as part of a multinational attempt in 2017 to deter Russian aggression in the Balkans.

Mr Mwamba was deployed in the country between November 10 and December 3, 2017.

His case reached court for a preliminary hearing dealing with the type of evidence to be heard at the trial of his claim.

The judge heard a speech and language therapist would give evidence as to the benefits of treatment for Mr Mwamba’s stammer. 

The trial is expected to take place between June and October next year.

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