Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Update: Captain Webb now admitted to ICU on life support

A 86-year-old former officer in the Royal Engineers is being looked after by the Royal Thai Navy after being found wandering penniless in Pattaya with memory loss.

Captain Ronald Edward Webb was accepted for admission to the Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital in Sattahip on Friday after the founder of the Shelter-Centre - Pattaya Sunanta Kaewmuangpetch, better known as ‘Nong’, begged the Thai Ministry of Defence for help.

Earlier a plea to the British Embassy, she said, had been rejected by an official. But that stance may have now been revised.  Bert Elson, of the ex-serviceman’s organization the Royal British Legion also wrote a supporting letter for the admission of Captain Webb.

So he is now being looked after by Thailand's Ministry of Defence.

While his Service  and Pay Book shows him as an enlisted man who rose through the ranks, some entries showing him passing various skills seem to have the dates altered on them showing them to have been passed in 1944 when he would have been only 17-years-old. It looks like he may have passed, rifle, Bren gun and grenade tests in 1945 and indeed his book shows he was found suitable for OCTU (officer) training on March 3rd 1946 missing the Second World War. He was born in 1927.

Mr. Elson, who last year was also appointed British Honorary Consul in Pattaya, said at the weekend that there was absolutely no comment he could make on the case, and he referred enquiries to the British Embassy in Bangkok.

It is possible his two roles may have come into conflict but I understand he has put in some personal cash.

Ronald Webb
The British Embassy does not comment on consular cases other than to say the standard ‘a British national is receiving consular assistance’.

Nevertheless the case highlights the predicament of British retirees in Thailand. Ronald Webb is understood to have at least two pensions, his service pension and his old aged pension. He does not however appear to have any family in the U.K. who can help him sort them out.

And he does not appear to have received cash from either of these pensions for quite some time. His memory loss is a key factor as well as his lack of ability to communicate.

Said Nong: 
“We have little to go on except his army and service pay book.  He told us he had an account at a Kasikorn Bank in Pattaya but when we took him there the staff said no he did not. 

Nong - Shelter Centre Pattaya
“When I called the British Embassy an official told me it was not the Embassy’s responsibility. 
"I believe they had a follow up call from the British Legion and steps may be being made now to get him back to England.

“I understand he has been in Thailand for about seven years but his visa has expired. 
"I initially got him into Banglamuang Hospital but they did not even feed him there and they discharged him saying there was nothing wrong with him - when there quite clearly is.”

Bert Elson (Pattaya One) 
He had been found in a collapsed state twice in Pattaya, the last time after he was struck by a motorcycle in Pattaya Central Road.

Added Nong: “I rang around hospitals and eventually got official support to apply to the Ministry of Defence to look after him temporarily while his affairs are being sorted.”

There is growing pressure on the Thai government to insist that all foreigners resident in Thailand have compulsory medical insurance. But costs have skyrocketed and senior citizens can often be refused.

Shelter Centre Pattaya

If you wish to assist the Shelter Centre Pattaya please contact them at this link.

This organisation is involved in helping hundreds of people in unfortunate circumstances in Pattaya and I know it is desperate for funding.


The Weapon said...

If this guy was a Captain he must of put in some serious service for his country. Hopefully he will be looked after in a fitting manner. Surely he is getting a decent pension. People with dementia can be very difficult to deal with so God bless the Khun Nong and the Shelter Care people.

ap said...

Shame once again on British Embassy. How long is it going to be before they are recognized as no good lazy good for nothing layabouts who do not care about British citizens UNLESS put in the spotlight

Andrew Drummond said...

AP - Can you save these posts for ThaiVisa. You're b*gg*r*ng up my knighthood? Whereas TV you might get an Iron Cross.

Lee said...

We can expect to see the usual British Embassy U-Turn now it has become public!

KOTO said...

aka KOTO
We all need to take a look at what one young lady Khun Nong is able to do, by shaking the trees, knowing or having an idea who to talk to...
Thank Buddha and God she is determined, Thai, pretty and speaks the language, going the extra yards to help the helpless, making a tremendous difference for the voiceless...

Barry Kenyon said...

The embassy isn't supposed to spend one baht of public money on welfare cases. The argument is that it's UK taxpayers' cash and why should Jo Public bail out people who choose to come to Pattaya (or anywhere else in the world)? In practice, if you can create a stink or get someone else to do so, then that iron rule just could become fudge. Luckily for Mr Webb he was once in the armed services. I can absolutely believe Bert Elson is out of pocket. Goes with the "job" Bert!

Andrew Drummond said...

Personally I would prefer my taxes (and I still pay tax in the UK) to go on helping people like Cap'n Webb rather than paying for training the Burmese military, which is where it has been going recently.

Tony Dixon said...

The embassy isn't supposed to spend a baht of public money. If this was in the UK he would have been admitted to hospital & given all the care he deserved and needed.

The money all comes from the same source (tax payers) so why aren't UK citizens allowed medical help overseas. The cost of his care I guess will be a lot less than in the UK and the UK NHS is suffering with far too many patients, seems a win win for the government, get cheaper treatment overseas & not clog up the already full hospitals.

If the government is that hard up then why do we accept so many immigrants illegal & legal & provide housing, benefits, medical & all other sorts yet cant help one of our own who has fought for Britian

robert ross said...

I really don't know why the Embassy exists under the name "British Embassy" Andrew, I mean I experienced their lack of help in a very serious situation that occured with my son. I thought the Embassy's prime task was taking care of its nationals but no. I got very lucky and a lady from the consul's office aided me as she was leaving for the UK and said she would take the flack for HELPING my son as there was no back lash possible as she had finished with the Embassy. May be a better name the Embassy would be something like "Office of endless party invitations and frustrating UK citizens".

ap said...

Tony and Robert 100% spot on apart from Roberts new name for the British Embassy. Its far to long when 5 letters would have done

The Weapon said...

Governments in the UK and Australia now practice 'liability shifting,' where nobody wants to make a decision or do anything because they are scared of being sued or being held responsible. With embassies this has led to outsourcing to locals so they can be blamed or used as scapegoats. (and paid less) This applies to all Governments departments and local councils. Their main goal now is revenue raising by creating endless laws with fines attached. In Australia now, even the beaches are patrolled by council officers on quad bikes with their little fine printing machines. They look for major crimes like people having a cold beer or having their dog off leash.

The only way to beat them is to know the laws, research them online before you have any dealings with the Government. You'll then usually find you then know more than them.

I was told directly by an official in Australia that she was ordered wherever possible to employ people from a 'non English speaking background.' This constant pandering to minority groups and the need to be seen as 'politically correct' and 'fair' has led to incompetent people getting jobs they are not qualified for.

Andrew Drummond said...


ap said...

My 13 years old niece asked me why the BBC were supporting the Government in Thailand. I said that they were supporting them because they were voted into Government by a democratic voting system. She asked then why the BBC didn't support the Egyptian Brotherhood of Islam, who were voted in by the same method.Any answers will be appreciated.