VJ Day 75th anniversary events: From the minute's silence to the Red Arrows flypast

14 August 2020, 08:55

The VJ Day services will be lead by the Prince of Wales
The VJ Day services will be lead by the Prince of Wales. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The nation will fall silent on Saturday as the UK celebrates VJ Day - marking 75 years since Japan's surrender brought an end to the Second World War.

This year's commemorations will start with the sound of lone pipers playing Battle’s O’er at sunrise at HMS Belfast in London, the haunting tune will form part of a tribute called Waking Up to Peace and will also be heard at dawn in India, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal.

Later that morning there will be a national moment of Remembrance with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall leading a memorial service at the National Memorial Arboretum Staffordshire, which starts at 9.30am.

The televised service, hosted by the Royal British Legion, will see a two-minute silence followed by an RAF flyover.

To music provided by the RAF Regiment veterans who fought in Japan will pay their respects to the millions of people who died in the war.

The commemorations will pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the thousands of Armed Forces personnel, civilians and family members who contributed to victory in the Far East, and recognise the horrors they endured.

A number of veterans, including 93-year-old Albert Wills who served in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Indefatigable, will be present at the service to pay their respects to their fallen comrades and will represent the surviving veterans of the war in the Far East still alive in the UK today.

Town criers across the country will read out the Cry for Peace, and from 11.10am participating churches will ring a single bell 75 times

RAF Flypast

Across Saturday the Red Arrows, the RAF display team, are set to conduct a flypast over much of the UK.

The jets will roar over Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and London, including in their path the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home to three Burma Star recipients.

The flypast will take place between 11.30am and 5.30pm, although the exact time is yet to be announced.

The RAF display team will be conducting a flypast to mark the occasion
The RAF display team will be conducting a flypast to mark the occasion. Picture: PA

During the day

Across Saturday tributes and events are set to be held across the UK.

Large screens will be erected showing a "then and now" montage from living veterans, including the Duke of Edinburgh who features in the poignant photo montage.

Throughout the day, tributes will be held across the country. Large screens will show a photo montage of living veterans, including the Duke of Edinburgh, who was on HMS Whelp in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrender was signed.

The National Army Museum will host a series of online debates and talks over the next few days, and at 2pm on Satuday there will be an online debate looking at the roles of the military on land, sea and air during the Far East campaign.

This will be followed by a conversation between WWII veterans Captain Sir Tom Moore and Private Joseph Hammond in an online event with Dr Peter Johnston from the National Army Museum.

In the evening

Later on in the day, a remembrance service, VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute, led by the Duke of Cambridge will be held at Horse Guards Parade.

The televised service will see famous faces such as Hugh Bonneville and Sheridan Smith perform key moments from the conflicts, and veterans will read tributes.

There will be musical performances from military bands, as well as ‘visual effects’.

Speaking of the historic commemoration Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “On this anniversary I want to remember what we owe the veterans of the Far East campaign. They brought an end to the Second World War, they changed the course of history for the better, liberated South East Asia, and many paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“That’s why on this remarkable anniversary – and every day hereafter – we will remember them.”

Whilst VE Day marked the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, many thousands of Armed Forces personnel were still engaged in bitter fighting in the Far East. Victory over Japan would come at a heavy price, and Victory over Japan Day marks the day that Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945, which ended the Second World War.

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, said VJ Day was sometimes seen as “the forgotten victory” but that celebrations this year would rightly be focused on paying tribute to the Greatest Generation and their service and sacrifice in the Far East.

Britain suffered 90,332 casualties in the war against Japan, of whom 29,968 died, 12,433 of them being prisoners of war.

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