75th Anniversary of VJ Day – paying tribute to our veterans

The Royal Family is today leading the UK’s commemorations of the 75th anniversary of VJ Day – the day World War Two ended with Japan’s surrender.
The Prince of Wales will attend a memorial while the Duke of Cambridge will appear in a special TV programme.
VJ Day – or Victory over Japan Day – on 15 August 1945 ended one of the worst episodes in British military history, during which tens of thousands of servicemen were forced to endure the brutalities of prisoner of war camps.
It is estimated that there were 71,000 British and Commonwealth casualties of the war against Japan, including more than 12,000 prisoners of war who died in Japanese captivity.
The fighting in Europe had ended in May 1945, but many Allied servicemen were still fighting against Japan in east Asia.

The commemorations began at sunrise, with a piper playing Battle’s Over at the Imperial War Museum’s HMS Belfast in London.

At 11:00 BST, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall attended a national service of remembrance and led a two-minute silence from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

A photo montage featuring Prince Philip and other veterans will be shown on a number of large screens across the UK.

On Saturday evening, the BBC will air a pre-recorded programmed from 20:30 called VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute, which will tell the story of those who served in the Far East and include a message from Prince William.
PM Boris Johnson has also recorded a video message to thank veterans.
In the video, the PM says:
“On this 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, we pay tribute to the heroes deployed thousands of miles away in the mountains, islands and rainforests of Asia.
“Unable to celebrate the victory in Europe, and among the last to return home, today we recognise the bravery and ingenuity of those who, in the face of adversity, restored peace and prosperity to the world.
“Their immeasurable sacrifice changed the course of history and, at today’s commemorations, we take the opportunity to say what should be said every day – thank you.”

Hilary Meredith