Crowds on the Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace when the King and Queen took to the balcony to acknowledge the crowds on VJ Day 1945 15081945 CREDIT EMICS/PA
VJ Day

Nearly Half Of British Public Do Not Know About VJ Day, Poll Suggests

More than 2,000 Britons took part in the survey which was launched in July ahead of the 75th anniversary.

Crowds on the Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace when the King and Queen took to the balcony to acknowledge the crowds on VJ Day 1945 15081945 CREDIT EMICS/PA

Almost half of the British public do not know what VJ (Victory over Japan) Day is, according to a poll taken shortly before its 75th anniversary.

A survey of 2,020 Britons aged over 16 from SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, found 46% did not know what the acronym stands for. 

Of these, just 5% said they would celebrate it every year after discovering what the day marked.

Meanwhile, 52% of those previously unaware of what the day stood for said they were not likely to do or feel anything towards the anniversary.

The 75th anniversary has been marked with a number of events across the UK, with the Royal Family, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Armed Forces playing a leading role in the commemorations.

The conflict against Japan endured three months beyond Victory in Europe (VE) Day on 8 May 1945, with the brutal fighting only ending with the Japanese surrender on 15 August.

SSAFA suggested the findings pointed to VJ Day "slowly being erased from British history".

A mass of revellers in Trafalgar Square at midnight celebrating VJ (Victory over Japan) Day in 1945 14081945 CREDIT EMPICS ARCHIVE PA
People celebrate VJ Day in 1945 in Trafalgar Square (Picture: EMPICS Archive/PA).

It highlighted that, due to the earlier conclusion of war in Europe, some veterans returning from the Far East have referred to themselves as the 'Forgotten Army'.

This year’s VJ Day commemorations have had to be adapted to accommodate restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sir Gary Coward, chairman of SSAFA, said: "We should all be aware of our national history, especially when associated with an unrelenting campaign and huge sacrifice."

He added: "Many people celebrate Victory in Europe Day, but very few acknowledge or know about Victory over Japan Day.

"Thousands of Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen remained incarcerated in horrendous conditions and their many colleagues continued to fight bitter battles for freedom in the Far East well after VE Day.

"Without their supreme sacrifice, life would be very different to what it is now."

Cover image: People celebrate VJ Day in 1945 on Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace (Picture: EMPICS Archive/PA).