VJ Day

Royals To Lead VJ Day 75 Commemorations  

Victory over Japan Day marks the surrender of Imperial Japan in the Second World War, in effect bringing the conflict to an end.

The Royal Family will lead the UK in commemorating the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, it has been announced.

Victory over Japan Day marks the surrender of Imperial Japan, a move which effectively ended the Second World War in 1945.

The anniversary on 15 August will be marked by a Service of Remembrance hosted by the Royal British Legion.

The Royal Family will participate in the service and a wider programme of events.

The service will be led by Armed Forces musicians and, at 11am, the Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, will lead a televised two-minute silence at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Following the silence, there will be a flypast from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, watched by a number of veterans. 

Another aerial tribute will also be staged, with the Red Arrows roaring over the cities of Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and London.

The flight path is to include the home of the Chelsea Pensioners, where three Burma Star recipients live in retirement.

The Duke of Cambridge will feature in ‘VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute’, a special programme filmed at Horse Guards Parade.

VJ kiss George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman
Famous picture of a US Navy sailor kissing a nurse on VJ Day in 1945 (Picture: Victor Jorgensen/US Navy).

The Duke of Edinburgh, who was on board HMS Whelp in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered, is included in large-screen photo montages showcasing living Second World War veterans across the UK.

The Royal British Legion said it plans on "shining a spotlight" on British and Commonwealth personnel who fought in the Second World War.

As well as sharing the stories of those who lived through the conflict, the charity has developed an interactive map on its website to highlight the contributions made by personnel from across the world.

Bob Gamble, the Royal British Legion’s assistant director of commemorative events, said the charity wanted to "take the opportunity to go further in ensuring that all who served are fully recognised".

"Those serving with the British forces in the Far East came from diverse backgrounds and cultures and much of the UK’s modern day multiculturism can be traced back to this period of history," he said.

The Red Arrows will also mark the anniversary with flypasts over cities across the UK (Picture: Red Arrows/Twitter).

"We are encouraging as many people as possible to take part in the VJ Day 75 commemorations in whatever way they wish, whether that be by participating in the two-minute silence at home, or leaving a message on our dedicated map to ensure the veterans of the Far East are never forgotten.”

The charity had planned to take veterans back to the region on tours of remembrance, but that was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the charity has partnered with the Commonwealth War Graves Commision to lay crosses on the headstones of fallen comrades on behalf of the veterans who were unable to attend.

Cover image: Both the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall are taking part in the commemorations (Picture: PA).