A Lancaster bomber pilot, steam train driver and family man, John Joseph Rome was a talented, skilled and principled gentleman who made the most of his adventurous life.

Even though he was in a reserved occupation during World War Two, John signed up to the RAF aged 20. He trained as a pilot of Lancaster bombers in Canada before returning to the UK, where he was based at RAF Pershore, Worcestershire.

He flew in missions over Germany and then later in India.

Despite the very dangerous conditions – more than 55,000 young men died flying with Bomber Command during World War Two – John survived.

Although he never spoke about his time in the war, he did talk about his training in Canada.

He joined the RAF in June 1943 without his parents’ permission and just one week after joining he had married Vera Carruthers – which he needed his parents’ permission to do and which they had to get a special licence for.

John was born on April 27, 1923, to John Joseph Rome and Mary Jane Rome in Graham Street, Denton Holme, Carlisle.

He had an older sister and brother and one younger sister.

He went to Creighton Boys School in Carlisle and excelled at rugby, going on to represent Cumbria. When he left school, he became a weaver’s apprentice at Ferguson’s Factory, which is where he met Vera.

But weaving was not for him and he left Ferguson’s to work on the railway, initially to clean steam engines.

At the end of World War Two John returned to the railways, working his way up from a fireman to driver.

The main route John drove steam trains on was the Carlisle to Settle line. He regularly drove the Thames-Clyde Express on the line and had a spell driving The Flying Scotsman.

Trains were his passion and he instilled the same passion in his children, John James Rome, born in 1946, and Alan Rome, born 1954. As boys they both had railway sets and Alan followed in his father’s tracks into the railway business.

John drove both steam trains and diesels before going into management on the railways. He retired aged 63.

John was a very hard worker who took pride in the fact that Vera never had to work. When he first retired, John really enjoyed fishing.

He was a very sociable guy who liked a tipple – he made home brew for many years. He regularly used to drink with the railway men in the Liberal Club in Carlisle.

He absolutely loved being a freemason and going to see his son Alan perform on the stage in plays.

John was a very practical man. He could service his own car and was decorating the outside of his house into his eighties. He was a strong character who was very highly principled but though he had strong morals, he was never judgemental.

John was a family man to his heart. He and Vera were married until just short of their 70th wedding anniversary; she died in 2013 and was followed a year later by their son John James.

John continued to live at the family home in Coney Street, Currock, Carlisle, where he had lived for about 60 years, and then moved to the city’s Barn Close residential home in Well Lane, Stanwix, in 2014.

On his wall in the home hung a picture of a Lancaster bomber, the giant of the skies he once commanded.

John died on Monday, March 27, exactly a month before his 94th birthday.

He leaves behind his sister, Margaret Tulley of Kirkham; son Alan Rome of York; two grandchildren Karen Graham, 47, and John Julian Rome, 45; and four great-grandchildren: Alex Graham, 17, Tom Graham, 14, Will Graham, 14, and Tilly Rome, 13.