The government admitted on Friday that troops such as Andi Hagen may have been poisoned by pesticides while they fought Iraq in 1991.

But this week Knutsford postman Andi urged: We need more help before more of us die.

"I lost one pal while I was serving in the Gulf, but six have died since we've been back," he said yesterday (Tuesday). "What we really need is the men in suits in Whitehall to provide the information that will help us all get better."

Andi, 36, welcomed news that organophospate pesticides (OPs) sprayed on tents and uniforms to kill disease-carrying flies may have caused some disorders.

OPs have been blamed for health problems in farmers who used the chemical in sheep dip.

Defence Secretary Michael Portillo has also promised an investigation into claims that soldiers were denied protective clothing when handling harmful chemicals.

"It's a victory of sorts, but this is just one piece of a huge jigsaw," said Andi, of Moorside, Plumley.

The ex-serviceman, who has suffered chronic fatigue, aching joints and memory loss since the war, said it was a national disgrace that little had been done to acknowledge or research troops' illnesses.

"We've been treated like dogs while the Americans have spent millions on research," he said. Nine months ago the government admitted - five years after the war ended - that soldiers may have developed problems in the Gulf.

Tests were promised for veterans and their children, but Andi has yet to hear from MoD officials.

"They seem to be looking at the situation in terms of pounds, shillings and pence, but people I know are dying around me and they're only young lads," said Andi, vice-chairman of the National Gulf Veterans and Families' Benevolent Association.

A new association hotline - 0161 929 4748 - has been set up for Gulf War veterans who may be experiencing problems.

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