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Captain Kenneth Alfred Hugo Cummins (3 March 190010 December 2006) was one of the last surviving Britishmarker veterans of the First World War. He served in the Royal Navy in the First World War, and then in the Merchant Navy in the Second World War.

Cummins was born in Richmond, Londonmarker. His father was an officer in the Merchant Navy. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Crosbymarker, and was a member of the school OTC when the Great War broke out. He joined P&O as a naval cadet aged 15. He trained at HMS Worcester for 2 years, then joined HMS Morea, an armed merchant cruiser on convoy duty from England to Sierra Leonemarker, as a midshipman. On his first voyage, his ship encountered the wreckage of the Canadianmarker hospital ship HMHS Llandovery Castlemarker to the southwest of Fastnet Rockmarker. Against standing orders, the ship had been torpedoed and sunk by U-86 off the coast of Irelandmarker, after which the submarine rammed and shelled the survivors in lifeboats, with only 24 of the 258 on board surviving. The corpses of many nurses were still floating in the water as Cummins passed by. The commander of the submarine, Lieutenant Helmut Patzig, and two other Germanymarker officers were later tried in Germany for their actions.

Cummins became an officer for P&O after the war. He sailed to Australia, carrying troops home, but the ship was quarantined in Sydney harbourmarker after Spanish flu broke out on board. He later served on the steamship SS Macedonia, which brought Lord Carnarvon's body home from Egyptmarker in 1923.

In the Second World War, he served as chief officer aboard HMS Viceroy of India, a 20,000-ton luxury liner requisitioned as a troopship, and used to land 2,000 men in North Africa during Operation Torchmarker. The ship was torpedoed by U-407 at 4:30am on 11 November 1942, some 40 miles off the coast of Algeriamarker, on its return journey to the UK. The ship sank so slowly that Cummins was able to change into his dress uniform before the order was given to abandon ship at 7am. Four member of the crew were killed in the initial explosion, but the remainder escaped. Cummins was rescued from a lifeboat some hours later by the destroyer HMS Boadicea. He then served as chief officer on the commandeered French liner SS Ile de France, which was converted into a troopship. Its high speed enabled it to repeatedly ferry American troops across the Atlantic outside the convoy system.

Cummins returned to P&O after the Second World War, taking command of the liner RMS Maloja, which took Italianmarker troops home to Italy, and soldiers of the King's African Rifles back to Africa. He then commanded the Liberty ship SS Samettrick and the SS Devanha on routes to Australia, the SS Somali to the Far East, and the SS Singapore and SS Socotra to Northern Europe. After commanding the SS Stratheden, he retired in 1960.

He became a Younger Brother of Trinity Housemarker in 1947, and was the Senior Younger Brother at his death. In retirement, he worked as a nautical assessor for the Wreck Commission of the Home Office. He also served as chairman of the planning committee of Marlborough Rural District Council from 1962 until 1974.

He lived until his death in Great Bedwynmarker, Wiltshiremarker. He was survived by his wife, whom he married in Sydneymarker in 1955 after meeting on a voyage from Australia earlier that year, and their two sons, two daughters and five grandchildren.

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