Gunner Jimmy, ventriloquist dummy which performed in Blitz, to play final show

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At the height of the Blitz in 1940, thousands were huddled in the dimly lit tunnels of the London Underground, sheltering from the German bombs raining on the capital.

Exhausted, afraid and not knowing whether their houses would still be standing when they emerged from their refuge, the civilians' spirits were in need of a lift.

It came in the form of Sgt Walter Huntley, a soldier and ventriloquist, and his life-size dummy, Gunner Jimmy Turner, who ventured into the tunnels and made their audience laugh, helping them to forget, for a while, the horrors of war.

Sgt Huntley and Gunner Jimmy performed to civilians and soldiers across the UK during the Second World War as part of the army's entertainment unit.

On Thursday, weeks before the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war, they will perform, briefly and poignantly, for one last time before Jimmy, still in uniform, is handed over to the Imperial War museum in London. He will take up residence at the museum on display as a reminder of how entertainment to raise the morale of service personnel and civilians became an important part of the war effort.

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