A top American military figure will visit Whitehaven to hear more about the town's links to John Paul Jones, the 'Father of the American Navy'.

The United States Naval Attaché to London is coming to Whitehaven tomorrow [Friday].

Captain Mark Rudesill will be met by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Cumbria, Col Tom McMullen at Whitehaven Marina.

During his trip, he will be reminded of John Paul Jones' raid on the town and the part it played in the American War of Independence.

The Attaché will also visit The Beacon Museum to see how the town remembers Jones.

Copeland mayor Mike Starkie said: "Whitehaven's historical links with the United States are deep and John Paul Jones is a legend in the United States Navy, so I'm delighted that the Attache is visiting and I am looking forward to meeting him."

Jones, who was born in Scotland but came to Whitehaven as a teenager to learn his trade in the Merchant Navy, moved to America, eventually joining its Navy in its fight against Britain.

His raid on his former hometown in April 1778 failed in its mission to burn the local fleet, but had a far-reaching impact on the war, forcing the Royal Navy to protect its home shores.

Jones died in Paris and his body is interred in America.

Gerard Richardson, founder of Whitehaven's Maritime Festivals, arranged a pardon for Jones nearly 20 years ago.

He said: "The John Paul Jones story was the foundation stone of the Maritime Festivals and, during the first one in 1999, Jones was pardoned and the US Navy was given the rare honour of the Freedom of Whitehaven Harbour.

"It's the first and only time in the long history of the harbour that the freedom has been awarded and the US Navy has returned many times since then to recognise that freedom."

Mr Richardson, of Richardson's of Whitehaven, said: "They were present during every festival until 2015, including the memorable visit by the USS Leyte Gulf guided missile cruiser in 2003, as well as supporting military parades, a BBC Coast documentary about the raid and the visit of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 2008.

"On that occasion a joint detachment of Royal Navy and US Navy sailors from the Menwith Hill Naval base, paraded before Her Majesty."

Retired US Navy Rear Admiral Steve Morgan is the honorary consul to the US Navy, with Rob Romano as his deputy, and the consulate office is the former festival office, Richardson's of Whitehaven.