A SCOT has become the first ex-soldier to win a pension appeal after being diagnosed with depleted uranium (DU) poisoning suffered during the 1991 Gulf war.

A Pension Appeal Tribunal Service hearing in Edinburgh accepted medical evidence provided by Kenny Duncan, of Clackmannan, previously dismissed by the MoD, which revealed he had become ill after service in the Middle East.

Mr Duncan, 35, a driver with 7 Tank Transporter Regiment, helped move tanks destroyed by shells containing the poisonous dust.

He says he has evidence that his children's health problems are linked to his service. Kenneth, 10, Andrew, eight, and six-year-old Heather, have symptoms similar to those suffered by some Iraqi children, including deformed toes, and weak immune systems making them susceptible to asthma, hay fever and eczema.

Mr Duncan has suffered increasing breathlessness and aching joints which he has linked to DU.

During the conflict, US and British troops fired an estimated 350 tonnes of DU weapons at Iraqi tanks.

Doctors in southern Iraq have reported a marked increase in cancers and birth defects, and suspicion has grown that they were caused by DU.

Communities close to the MoD range at Dundrennan, near the Solway Firth show the highest rate of childhood leukaemia in the UK.

Mr Duncan was awarded only about (pounds) 40 a week, half the full pension, when he retired from the Army through ill health in 1993 after nine years' service. His pension will now be reassessed.

The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA) said the tribunal decision added weight to its call for a full independent inquiry into Gulf war illnesses and supported its view that the government should do more financially to help the victims.

Mr Duncan's case relied on tests by Dr Albrecht Schott, a German biochemist. The research formed part of a study of 16 British veterans of conflicts in the Gulf, Bosnia, and Kosovo, which found that they had 14 times the usual level of chromosome abnormalities, raising fears that they will pass cancers and genetic illnesses to their offspring.

The MoD dismissed the results as ''neither well thought out nor scientifically sound''.

Mr Duncan said yesterday: ''It is just a huge relief to have someone in authority say that you have been poisoned by this stuff and that you are not telling lies. It is now time for the MoD to tell us what went wrong.

''For all those veterans who have been going to the doctor with these ailments and are being told there is nothing wrong with them, this is for them, and I hope it will help them.

''I doubt that I will benefit much financially from this, but it wasn't about the money, it was about the principle.''

The ministry said yesterday: ''Once we have seen the decision, we will consider the implications it might have.''

Bosnian medical centres reported in 2001 that the number of cancer patients had more than doubled, with children particularly affected. Some experts linked the rise to the use of DU in Bosnian conflicts.

Nato, whose aircraft fired some 40,000 DU shells during the 1999 air raids in Kosovo and in Bosnia in 1994-95, have denied any link with cancer.