FAMILY and friends travelled from far and wide to attend the funeral of a familiar Lake District figure known for walking in Windermere and Bowness.

Claude Kirwood Litton Ledger, of The Firs, Kendal Road, Bowness, passed away aged 96, and his funeral and gathering afterwards at Windermere Yacht Club was very well attended.

He was born on March 2 1921 in San Domingo in the Caribbean where his father was in the Consular Service of the Foreign Office. When he was three, the family moved to Madeira where his father was British Consul. He claimed he did not wear shoes until he was 11 and that his modest academic achievements were due to a childhood spent running free.

He was packed off to boarding school aged nine and then aged 13 to Bradfield College in Berkshire. By that time the family was in Bordeaux, France, and later Strasbourg.

At 17 he went into industry and his first job was in Bowaters paper mill at Ellesmere Port in the Wirral. However, a year later, in 1939, he signed up for the army and joined the Manchester Regiment.

After training he was despatched in 1941 to Singapore where he was captured with the fall of the city and ended up, aged 22 in the Changi prison camp. That might not have been too bad but in 1943 he was sent by train up through Malaya to Thailand to build the Burma Railway. The weather, disease, the construction timetable and the behaviour of some of the guards meant that he was one of only 60 survivors out of 300.

He later spoke very little of the war – just snippets – like that he gave up smoking and was able to trade his tobacco ration for food.

Returning to UK he was in and out of hospital from the effects of Dysentry, Malaria, Beri Beri and Pallagra but made a steady recovery. He returned to Ellesmere Port and started his progression up the corporate ladder with Bowaters. He stayed in the company until retirement in 1978 as a divisional manager.

His sister Daphne was a dear friend of Joan Herbert of the Bowness family of photographers and they were both working for the British Government in Naples. There was a holiday together in Tossa, Spain, and in April 1954 Litton and Joan were married at St Martin’s Church, Bowness. In 1955 son, Julian, was born and in 1957 daughter, Vivien.

He was promoted to factory manager at Disley in the Pennines where they made large paper drums. He did well there as an ‘old school’ hands on factory manager. He did business with North America, Scandinavia, Germany and Japan and travelled.

He did well enough to be asked to go Gateshead in Northumberland to take on an ailing plant there. The family was settled in Bramhall, south of Manchester, where his wife Joan had a nursery school business.

He was 50 and overnight he gave up smoking (again) to save money, took on lodgings in Gateshead and commuted at weekends. He did that for seven years, first to Bramhall then later after his grandfather Frank Herbert died to the family home in Bowness where Joan and Litton cared for Joan’s mother.

Commuting was tiring and there was a lot of business pressure so he decided to retire early.

He came to love the Lake District which he adopted as his native homeland. There was plenty of time for activities. First, with Joan, he climbed most of the peaks, once each, and then rediscovered sailing through the Royal Windermere Yacht Club and the Flying Fifteen Class.

For many years he was competitive and he filled many roles including class captain with his neighbour Brian Garvey as secretary. In competition he particularly sailed with two very skilful helms – Catherine Grimes and Andrew Kirk.

He visited his son, Julian, in Australia when the Flying Fifteen World Championships went down under on three occasions – in Moreton Bay, Queensland; Timaru, New Zealand and Esperance, Western Australia.

In August Mr Litton Leger was still walking into Bowness village most days. He had a fall after mowing the lawn, had a successful operation at Furness General Hospital, came home but after getting steadily weaker died peacefully 11 days later.