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75th Commemoration of VJ Day

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.

VJ 75 at The National Memorial Arboretum 

The UK’s VJ Day national event will take place at the National Memorial Arboretum on Saturday 15 August. The event will form part of a three-day public programme of events from 14 - 16 August, which will include a national service of Remembrance. 

Travel and accommodation will be provided by the Legion for all veterans who wish to attend - subject to eligibility as defined below. We also very much welcome and encourage the attendance of veterans descendants at any or all of the three days at the NMA. 

Please read below for more information and FAQs about the event. 


Overseas Campaign Tours

We are pleased to announce that in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL), we will be funding the travel and accommodation costs for a series of tours for veterans of the Asia-Pacific campaign, as defined below, to key commemorative, and CWGC sites, across South and South East Asia. Descendants of veterans are welcome to also come on these tours but will need to fund their own travel and accommodation.

As part of this package, travel and accommodation will also be provided for a nominated companion to accompany each veteran and a comprehensive Legion care support package will be in place throughout the event programme to support veterans.

This ambitious programme of activity has been developed with the kind support of a broad range of related UK veteran associations. 

 

Find out more

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

You can also download our full information sheet to find out more about eligibility and logistics.

 

Who can apply?

Those who we define as VJ Day veterans is as follows:

  • Service personnel who served under the Crown. This includes Dominion and Empire (now Commonwealth) personnel resident in the UK.
  • Service must have been in the Asia-Pacific theatre between 1939 and 1945, this will include the South Asia, South East Asia, the Pacific and Indian Oceans and all the nations, islands and territories there within, Persia (now Iran), and across continental Australasia.
  • All those who were interned or imprisoned and treated as combatants by Axis forces across the Asia-Pacific theatre during the war. 

Spouses and children of veterans while not eligible for the tours (unless attending in the capacity as a companion to a veteran) will of course be very welcome to attend three days of planned commemorations and activities at the National Memorial Arboretum, which will run from the 14-16 August 2020. Further details of the events taking place at the National Memorial Arboretum will be released in due course.

How to apply?

Please complete this online form to apply for a place. 

Things to consider before applying

These tours are taking place in countries where there isn’t always the same level of medical support as the UK, therefore the Legion will be ensuring that all participants are fit to travel prior to confirming a place.

If you are not able to travel abroad we can offer you the opportunity to attend the three days of VJ Day commemorative events at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Accommodation and travel to the Arboretum for a veteran and a companion will also be funded by the Legion in already allocated LIBOR funds.

 

Tours

We will be offering veterans the chance to attend tours to one of the following destinations: 

Please download the itinerary to find out more.

When applying for a place please indicate which tour you wish to be part of. 

Still got a question?

Read our FAQs below to find out more, or download our full FAQs

 

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.

How is the trip being paid for?

All costs for this programme of tours are covered by LIBOR grants which are administered by the MoD and granted by the treasury.

What is the application process?

  1. Complete this application form to apply for a place.
  2. Once you have submitted your form, we will contact you to verify your service details, or links to the Far East during World War Two.
  3. You will then receive a call or home visit from us to make sure that you are medically able to undertake this trip, and that any medications or assistance needed can be accommodated in order to make your trip as comfortable as possible.
  4. Once declared medically fit, the applicant has a confirmed place in the VJ day commemorations. 

What is the eligibility criteria?

Those who we define as VJ Day veterans is as follows:

  • All British service personnel who served in any capacity in any campaign or theatre in the Asia-Pacific campaign (the Asia-Pacific campaign we define as running from all Asian nations and territories from Iran in the west and covering the entirety of islands, nations and territories across the Indian and Pacific oceans) 
  • All those who were interned or imprisoned and treated as combatants by Axis forces across the Asia-Pacific theatre during the war

What are the dates of the tours?

Dates are TBC, although all of the tours will have a commemorative event over VJ day on 15 August 2020.

What are the itineraries?

There are three itineraries for tours in the Far East. These are: 

Please note that the itineraries online are subject to change and are indicative only.

What does the funding cover exactly?

All passengers fulfilling the criteria above are eligible for funding. Under the scheme, each participant can bring one companion who will also be fully funded.

All meals are included. RBL will underwrite the travel insurance for all veterans. Spending money and money for drinks are not included, so please ensure you bring enough with you for the trip.

Who can accompany me?

Funding is available for one companion to accompany the participant during the VJ commemorations.

These companions are expected to be able bodied, fit enough to push a wheelchair if required, support the veteran with any personal hygiene or similar needs. In the unlikely event that the veteran is hospitalised, companions would be expected to stay with the veteran. Be assured that the Legion will maintain duty of care for the veteran in this instance and will remain responsible for providing full logistical support for the veteran and their companion in returning home safely.

Can additional family members travel with me?

Additional family members are welcome to join the tour as a self-funded participant, prices TBC.

Once your place is confirmed, we can book family members who wish to travel on the tour. Please note that these spaces are limited, and we will ask for service details of the relative who served in that country to verify.

I have accessibility issues; can I still apply?

As part of the pre-travel check, our welfare teams will ascertain your additional needs via an initial contact call, and then a home visit if necessary.

Your safety and comfort are the upmost priority to us and we have to make sure all who are offered a place can enjoy the tour fully.

I have longstanding health issues/mobility issues; can I still apply?

Yes of course. The pre-travel check will assess any additional needs you may have and we will ensure that we are able to meet your care needs to make this trip a memorable experience for you and your companion.

As above, we will have to ensure that you are medically fit to go on the tour and that our insurance can cover you.

Can I arrange my own travel?

We ask that all participants of these tours travel as one, our care team will be able to provide medical assistance on the journey, which is an important part of the experience.

It is also a time for you to get to know the others on your tour.

What will the weather be like?

Due to the time we are travelling it is likely that there will be heavy rains for part of your tour. However, there should still be large dry periods. We would recommend taking something light and waterproof as the temperature will still be high.

Can I upgrade?

If you wish to upgrade your travel this request will be processed with the logistics operator and cannot be guaranteed as it depends on availability.

What happens in the case of a terrorist incident?

We monitor the FCO website frequently and always take their advice on where we are able to travel.

In the event of a terrorist incident we would follow the procedures set by the FCO and travel operator to ensure that all passengers are safe and cared for.

Do I have to take part in the whole programme?

The most important aspect of these tours are the veterans’ comfort and we are very keen for the veterans to set the pace of the tour.

If there is any aspect or day where you don’t feel like taking part or you want to rest, then you will have the freedom to do so.

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.

Join us to commemorate VJ Day 75

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