D-Day veteran’s date with Kate
Friday 13th June 2014 12:45 Community News Posted by Max Wieland
ROYAL HONOUR: Wally's day with the Duchess.

ROYAL HONOUR: Wally’s day with the Duchess.

Normandy veteran Wally MacKenzie returned to the scene of the D-day landings on Friday, stating it was an honour to be part of the 70th anniversary commemoration.

As if the occasion was not big enough already for 93-year-old Wally, the Mossley veteran even got the chance to speak with the Duchess of Cambridge when she pulled up a seat next to him for a chat.

Known locally for his talent as a musician, it was Wally’s earlier career from serving in the army as a voluntary cook that saw him return to France to pay his respects last week.

Wally, who dubs himself one of the smallest soldiers in the army at just 5ft, 1in tall, joined hundreds of other veterans in remembrance services and ceremonies in northern France.

“I spoke to Kate as I speak now, she was so approachable and lovely,” said Wally.

“The Duchess was in demand throughout the whole proceedings, so I was just so shocked that she came took a seat next to me.

“I told her all about my experience and how I was a staff cook in the army.

“She was very interested and said I could maybe cook for the Queen. She was very funny.”

Born in Urmston in 1921, Wally helped cook for hundreds of soldiers at a time, often finding himself in trouble for using too many rations.

He was initially called up to serve in the war in May 1941.

Because of his experience as a miller at a bake house in Moston, he volunteered to become a cook during his six-week initial training period, and was assigned to the Army Catering Corps (ACC), part of the Royal Army Service Corps dedicated to cooking and providing food to keep the rest of the Army going.

“Cooking is a lot different now to what it was in the war, I was often getting told off for using too many rations, “ he said.

“But we just did what we could.  I had good mates looking after me,” said Wally, who lives on Stockport Road in Mossley.

“Looking back I feel very fortunate, I had some very good friends who looked after me and it was amazing to go back on Friday.

“We’re all still the same, we were pretty daft to start with but you just did what you had to, you were getting paid to do a job and you were being counted on to get it done.

“Someone would get the food to me and I would make sure it got to the soldiers.”