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Ravensthorpe veteran’s special audience with the Duke of York

DAY TO REMEMBER: Maurice Wood meeting the Duke of York, who had visited Kohima and was impressed with the legacy the British troops had left.

DAY TO REMEMBER: Maurice Wood meeting the Duke of York, who had visited Kohima and was impressed with the legacy the British troops had left.

A WAR veteran went to Buckingham Palace for a special audience with the Duke of York.

Ravensthorpe-born Maurice Wood was over the moon to meet Prince Andrew at an event for soldiers who fought in the Battle of Kohima in World War II.

The battle, fought in 1944, was a turning point in the war as it halted the Japanese advance and forced them back East.

In May, Prince Andrew visited the area where the fight took place in northeast India and was impressed with the legacy the British troops had left.

He then invited around 20 veterans of the battle to Buckingham Palace so he could personally thank them for their achievements.

Mr Wood said: “I was shocked when I got the invite. I didn’t expect that.”

He was told about the event by the organiser of a Kohima reunion he attends in York each year.

In October Mr Wood got his official invite from Buckingham Palace, asking him to meet the Duke of York on November 1.

Mr Wood, of Queen Street, Ravensthorpe, went to the Palace with his niece, Janet Griffiths.

Mrs Griffiths, 64, of Church Lane, Mirfield, said: “It was a wonderful day. My uncle was on cloud nine.

“I’m just so pleased that the veterans were recognised and were able to go.”

Prince Andrew met all of the veterans in groups, and spoke one-on-one with Mr Wood, who served with the Royal Artillery.

“He was a very nice fellow, absolutely lovely to talk to,” Mr Wood said.

He said their conversation focussed on what happened at the Battle of Kohima.

Mr Wood, 94, said: “The importance of the Battle of Kohima is that the Japanese did not come any further West than Kohima, and that’s why the Duke was impressed.

“The Japanese had been advancing for two or three years and we thought, ‘How long are we going to last?’ but we did it.”

 

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