A TOWN is mourning the loss of its homegrown veteran.

Millom hero Tony Cummings Snr, 95, died peacefully at Waterloo House Surgery.

The former cargo ship radio officer leaves a life which saw him take part in a wartime artic convoy and celebrate Victory in Europe in New York City with fellow servicemen.

Mr Cummings’ granddaughter Emma-Jayne Cummings-Gribbin said: "Grandad was the backbone of our family.

"He was at his happiest when surrounded by us all. As a family we will miss his advice and his stories of the war and local history.

"He was a regular at the community drop ins and coffee mornings where he loved at chat and to tell his stories Has was loved very much by us all and greatly respected by the community."

Speaking to The Mail in November ahead of Remembrance Day, Mr Cummings described his struggle for survival during World War Two.

It was in January 1942 when the merchant sailor found himself on the ship Floristan - heavily laden with wartime supplies - which struck a submerged reef off the isle of Islay.

He said: “Suddenly there was a tremendous crash. The ship was taking a terrific pounding from the strong winds and mountainous seas.

“We had to abandon ship and landed in a small cove and had to climb a narrow path up a rather steep headland.”

Eventually Mr Cummings and his crew were rescued by an RAF team from a nearby radio location post.

Following the war he married Jean.

They began married life on Steel Green and eventually moved to Town Head, in Haverigg, living with their children Tony, Terry, Susan, and Janet.

Jean died aged 40 and he brought up the children alone.

Widower Mr Cummings went on to work at Eskmeals until retirement.

Mr Cummings, who lived in Millom his whole life, lived alone in his upstairs flat on Newton Street and was a popular man with the townspeople.

He wrote the Walks Around Millom Book, whose rights he gave to the Millom Discovery Museum, in Millom Station.

In his spare time, the war veteran was a keen rambler and known for his love of folk dancing - organising weekly folk nights at the now-closed Masonic Hall, up until he was 90.

Mr Cummings campaigned to have footpaths, bridal ways and ancient roads re-opened for public access. He leaves five proud grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.