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15 August 2020 is the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, marking both the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War. 

To mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day on 15 August 2020, we are inviting the public to remember and recognise all those who served and sacrificed in the Far East and ultimately brought an end to the Second World War. On this significant anniversary we’re shining a spotlight on the untold stories of British and Commonwealth Tri-Service Forces, highlighting the forgotten history of those who fought in the conflict and the atrocious and harrowing conditions in which they served and were held prisoner.

VJ Day 75 at the NMA 

 

On 15 August, The Royal British Legion will be holding a commemoration at the National Memorial Arboretum to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day. The commemoration will be centred around the Act of Remembrance at 11am. It will be broadcast on BBC One from the NMA and will include veteran testimonies and music from military musicians as well as wreath-laying activities at several of the relevant memorials and artefacts linked to the World War Two campaign in the Far-East.

Due to current guidance, any formal proceedings will not be open to general site visitors, but they can be observed from a large screens in the Naval Review. A limited number of tickets will be available via the NMA website from Monday 3 August on a first-come, first-served basis.

Veterans of the Far-East Campaign who may wish to attend should email commemorative.events@britishlegion.org.uk to register their interest.

We would like to invite those veterans and descendants unable to attend to submit messages of Remembrance which will be affixed to poppy posies that will be laid at the memorials at the NMA on the 15 August. Messages can be submitted here.

Victory over Japan exhibition, Oxford St. London
Sikh soldiers, captured at Singapore
Allied prisoners of war celebrating their liberation on VJ Day

Victory over Japan Day

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

Fighting in the Asia-Pacific took place from Hawaii to North East India. Britain and the Commonwealth’s principle fighting force, the Fourteenth Army, was one of the most diverse in history - over 40 languages were spoken, and all the world’s major religions represented. The descendants of many of the Commonwealth veterans of that army are today part of multicultural communities up and down the country, a lasting legacy to the success and comradeship of those who fought in the Asia-Pacific. 

This year we remember the contribution of all Commonwealth and Allied Forces, without whom victory and the freedoms and way of life we enjoy today would not have been possible. (Image copyright: Imperial War Museums.)

Read more about VJ Day

Overseas tours for VJ Day 75

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Royal British Legion has taken the difficult decision not to continue with plans for our overseas tours to commemorate VJ Day. 

We recognise that this decision will be deeply disappointing, it has been taken based on expert advice to protect the health of those who would have been travelling on the tours.

Find out more our VJ Day commemorations

Take a look at our general FAQs below for further information. For any other queries, please call us on 0203 053 7627 to speak to a member of our team.

What is the National Memorial Arboretum?

The National Memorial Arboretum, located in Staffordshire, celebrates lives lived and commemorates lives lost in service.  Part of The Royal British Legion, it is the Nation’s year-round centre of Remembrance and home to over 350 memorials nestled amongst almost 30,000 trees.

The memorials include many that are linked to the campaign in the Far East in World War II, including The Far East Prisoners of War memorial Building, Sumatra Railway, Burma Railway (including some original rails and sleepers), Burma Star Memorial, Chindit Memorial, and the original Lych Gate from Changi Prison in Singapore amongst many others.

The Arboretum is free to enter and is open to public on every day of the year except Christmas Day.  Throughout the summer of 2020 the Arboretum will host a series of exhibitions, talks and activities that will help everyone to learn more about the stories behind VJ Day and of those that took part in this campaign.

Why are you doing this?

In 2020 we will be asking the nation to remember the impact that leaving, missing and returning home has on service men and women & their loved ones – then and now. The commemorations for both VE and VJ Day will be the central part of our national remembrance and will bring home the scale of service and sacrifice made by men and women of the Second World War generation.

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