Date Published: 12 August 2020
A range of special events and online exhibitions are taking place throughout the UK to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
The 75th anniversary of VJ Day (Victory over Japan) is to be recognised on 15 August 2020.
While VE Day (Victory in Europe) marked the end of the Second World War in Europe in May 1945, many thousands of Armed Forces personnel continued fighting in the Far East, including tens of thousands of service personnel from Britain and the Commonwealth. Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) marks the day Japan surrendered on the 15 August 1945, which effectively ended the war.
Due to the continuing risk of COVID-19, many of the celebrations that were planned to commemorate the VJ Day anniversary have had to be reorganised to take account of social distancing and other safety restrictions.
National organisers are keen to stress that there are still lots of ways to get involved with VJ Day, either outdoors while following social distancing guidance, or online. This includes researching and sharing your family’s own Second World War history online, or finding out about your nearest local war memorial. Families can also submit details of a loved one who fought during the world wars, so these can be displayed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s digital Wall of Remembrance.
Further information about all these activities can be found on the national VJ Day 75 website.
The Royal British Legion is also paying tribute to ‘forgotten’ British and Commonwealth Forces who served in the Far East, as part of the charity’s efforts to mark 75 years since the very first VJ Day.
To inspire people to participate in VJ Day 75, The Legion has launched an interactive map on its website to show the range of nations that service personnel came from and also share the stories of those who lived through the conflict. On Saturday 15th August the charity is holding a special commemorative service behind closed doors and encouraging the public to take part in a Two Minute Silence at 11am.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, accompanied by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, will lead the national Two Minute Silence. The Legion is inviting the public to join in the silence remotely from home or share in the moment, which will be broadcast live on television via BBC One.
Further information about these activities can be found on The Royal British Legion's website.
Here in the East Midlands, a number of special remembrance services are planned to commemorate VJ Day 75. Leicester Cathedral will mark the anniversary by broadcasting a pre-record service on YouTube at 5.00pm on Saturday 15 August.
Similarly, Peterborough Cathedral will stream a pre-recorded VJ Day service via its own Facebook page and YouTube channel at 3.00pm on Saturday 15 August.
In the build-up to VJ Day, Rutland County Museum and Oakham Castle have also published online exhibitions that tell the incredible individual stories of servicemen who fought, were captured and became prisoners of war during the Japanese conflict –including soldiers from Rutland. The exhibitions contain personal accounts, photographs and audio recordings.
“I have had the honour of meeting many of those who served in the Far East during the Second World War. The accounts of those who fought and survived the conflict are a unique window into the past and offer us an important lesson. We should all reflect on the huge debt we owe those who served 75 years ago. VJ Day allows us to pause for a moment and recognise the suffering that was experienced on all sides, but also to be thankful and celebrate the end of that immense hardship. On Saturday 15 August at 11.00am, please join veterans across Rutland and the nation in remembering.”
Councillor Ian Razzell, Rutland County Council Armed Forces Champion