Regional press news - this story published 10 August 2009
Wartime exploits of reporter-cum-ventriloquist
by holdthefrontpage staff
A former regional press reporter turned ventriloquist who formed a famous wartime comedy double-act has written a book about his colourful career.
In later years, Walter Huntley went on to become an associate editor of the Liverpool Daily Post and the Liverpool Echo and also worked for the South London Observer.
But during world war two, the former sergeant and his lifesize dummy, 'Gunner Jimmy Turner,' helped keep Britain smiling as part of the Army's official entertainment unit.
Performing to packed audiences of troops and civilians in church halls, military bases, local cinemas and theatres, the pair helped boost morale on the home front in the darkest days of the conflict.
Now Wally has written a book about their exploits entitled Dummy Bullets, which is being published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the start of the war next month.
And to mark the publication, the duo will give what is being billed as "positively their last-ever performance."
Their stage will be the Imperial War Museum in London where 'Jimmy' is to take up permanent residence as a lasting reminder of how entertainment became such a vital part of the war effort.
Said Wally: "I will miss Jimmy. It will be a poignant moment when I hand him over to the safe keeping of the museum. But I have to take the realistic view that I am about to enter my 90th year ? and he could hardly have a better home."
Wally was born in Liverpool in 1920 and his life-long interest in ventriloquism started as a schoolboy.
Before joining the Army, he was a cub reporter in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. After the war, Mr Huntley returned to his career in journalism and joined the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo as a reporter, eventually becoming associate editor of both newspapers.
He lives in the Wirral and has been married to his wife Wendy for almost 60 years.
Dummy Bullets is being published by the Post and Echo's parent company Trinity Mirror at ?6.99.