Veteran Stories:
Peter Cummings

Army

  • Medals belonging to Peter Cummings' father, Peter Cummings Senior, who served in the Merchant Navy during WWII. LtoR: 1939-1945 Star, Atlantic Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, Victory Medal.

    Medals belonging to Peter Cummings' father, Peter Cummings Senior, who served in the Merchant Navy during WWII. LtoR: 1939-1945 Star, Atlantic Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, Victory Medal.
  • Peter Cummings is an avid collector of military history. This is a WWI Christmas package given to Allied soldiers by Princess Mary during World War I. The package includes a brass box, cigarettes and tobacco and Christmas greetings with Mary's photo.

    Peter Cummings is an avid collector of military history. This is a WWI Christmas package given to Allied soldiers by Princess Mary during World War I. The package includes a brass box, cigarettes and tobacco and Christmas greetings with Mary's photo.
  • A trench art helmet made by soldiers in the First World War. The helmet is made out of a used shell. Courtesy of Paul Koszo.

    A trench art helmet made by soldiers in the First World War. The helmet is made out of a used shell. Courtesy of Paul Koszo.
  • Trench art container made by soldiers in the First World. The container was made from a German shell and bears the insignia of the First Algonquin Overseas Canadian Regiment. Courtesy of Paul Koszo.

    Trench art container made by soldiers in the First World. The container was made from a German shell and bears the insignia of the First Algonquin Overseas Canadian Regiment. Courtesy of Paul Koszo.
  • German World War I leather helmet. This version of the German helmet was produced before they started making the helmets out of steel. It appears very small in size but it has shrunk over the years as the leather aged. Courtesy of Paul Koszo.

    German World War I leather helmet. This version of the German helmet was produced before they started making the helmets out of steel. It appears very small in size but it has shrunk over the years as the leather aged. Courtesy of Paul Koszo.
  • The German Knight's Cross, the Nazi equivalent of the Victoria Cross. The oak leaves above the cross signifies that the recipient received this honour twice. Courtesy of Paul Koszo.

    The German Knight's Cross, the Nazi equivalent of the Victoria Cross. The oak leaves above the cross signifies that the recipient received this honour twice. Courtesy of Paul Koszo.
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My name is Peter Cummings. I was born in Liverpool, England, in 1937. I served in the British Army from 1956 to '59. I was stationed in occupied Germany for most of that time.

My interest in military history came from my childhood in Liverpool. Because Liverpool was such a major port, it drew the attention of the Germans during the war, mainly through bombing. Liverpool was severely blitzed on many occasions. Many people were killed, of course. My main memories of those days were going down to the pier head on the Mersey, where most of the troop ships and supply ships arrived in convoy. We used to meet the troops. They were very generous to children, of course. That's where we got the saying, "Any gum, chum?" Being the generous people that they were, they gave us sweets, candy, chocolates, and of course during the war years, food was very very scarce in every department. These troops were very well welcomed.

Consequently, when I joined the British Forces when I was able to, I took a great interest in military history, which led to me, after I was demobilized, to start collecting military items from the First and the Second World Wars. I have many interesting items in my collection, including many items that were issued on the dedication of Vimy Ridge in 1936. The commemoratives I have: Medals, (?), and a special passport that was issued to veterans to make the trip by the Canadian Government.

Now, Canada is one of the best nations in the world. The troops became feared throughout the world as great fighters, and now are regarded as the best peacekeepers in the world. The proudest day of my life was when I became a Canadian citizen in 1986. That's why I tried to include as much Canadian content in my collection as I can.

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