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25 November 2013, 08:19
Three female RAF recruits have each been awarded £100,000 by the Ministry of Defence over injuries reportedly caused by marching in step with their male colleagues.
The women claimed that parading alongside taller male recruits caused them to over-stride repeatedly over several weeks, which led them to develop spinal and pelvic injuries, the Mail on Sunday reported.
Lawyers for one of the recruits claimed the MoD accused the women of exaggerating their symptoms during the five-year legal battle, the newspaper said.
Carrying the same heavy packs as male recruits also contributed to the injuries suffered by the women at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire, it was claimed.
The MoD today confirmed that a settlement was agreed for the three former recruits in August.
An MoD spokeswoman said:
"When compensation claims are submitted, they are considered on the basis of whether or not the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation.
"Where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we do so. The RAF takes the welfare of it recruits very seriously and has reviewed its recruit training practices to mitigate against this risk."
The amount of compensation paid took into account each claimant's pain and suffering, degree of injury, property losses, past and future financial losses and the level of care required.
The women said they were forced to extend their strides to 30in while undergoing basic training, according to the Mail on Sunday.
RAF official policy now states that female recruits should not be expected to extend the length of their strides beyond 27in.
One of the claimants, Tracie Davies, from Odiham, Hampshire, who was 22 when she started basic training in January 2006, told the Mail on Sunday:
"The guys were over 6ft tall so I was over-striding to march in step with them.
"When I started getting pains in my groin I was told to march through it, even when I was carrying a heavy pack which was almost the size of me.
"I trusted the medics to know better than me so I carried on marching."
She told the newspaper she had suffered four pelvic fractures and was medically discharged in 2008.
Miss Davies had initially accepted a one-off sum of £3,000 after being advised by RAF officers to apply for a payment through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, the Mail on Sunday said.
The newspaper said it understood at least five cases of female RAF recruits bringing claims against the MoD due to pelvic injuries suffered on marches are being litigated.