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Remembering an Anzac Hero

This week we pay tribute to our Anzacs and those brave ‘diggers’ who put their lives on the line for their fellow countrymen and future generations.

One of these brave souls was Ken Charlesworth who was born on 9 September 1919. At the age of 24 in 1943 he was sent to the frontline in PNG where he was part of the 30th Regiment assigned to fend off the Japanese invasion.

During the course of his expedition, Ken witnessed some dreadful atrocities. He developed anxiety and post-traumatic stress. Despite his circumstances Ken was compelled to continue fighting with his fellow warriors.

Ken didn't let the adversity of the war years defeat him. He bounced back and returned to civilian life in 1946 and lived a fruitful and positive existence. He got himself a job as a painter in Sydney.

Upon his retirement in 1984 Ken devoted his time to charitable work with the Salvation Army and played an active role in the RSL. Every year he wore his medals with pride at the Anzac Day Parade. In all respects Ken, despite his advanced age, was fit and healthy until he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive asbestos cancer which was likely to take Ken's life within months.

From the moment we met Ken, the Shine Lawyers team were moved by his remarkable spirit. His solicitor, Roger Singh, developed a great bond with Ken and helped him and his family with a legal claim for asbestos related injuries.

Asbestos claims such as these are challenging on many fronts due to the necessity to prove asbestos exposure from many decades ago. Also time is very much of the essence in such actions because of the aggressive nature of the illness and early demise which requires any court proceedings to be filed within the lifetime to preserve the claim for the claimant and his/her estate.

During the legal process, we were able to attribute Ken's asbestos exposure to the period 1964 – 1984 when he worked as a painter in Sydney. As part of his job he was required to sand down asbestos cement sheeting which formed the exterior and interior linings of many homes and buildings.

Shine Lawyers filed court proceedings in the NSW Dust Diseases Tribunal in April 2012. It was a hard battle with many highs and many lows but through his fighting spirit, teamwork and perseverance – justice finally prevailed in August 2012. A settlement was reached which allowed Ken and his family peace of mind and afforded Ken some comfort and support in his final months.

By way of reflection and remembrance, this week we remember Ken and his family who reached out to us in their time of need.

Sadly, Ken succumbed to his asbestos cancer on 9th February 2013 - "Lest we forget".

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A companying image from Chris Phutully, used under the following license. Image modified from its original state.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: April 9, 2018.

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