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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. 

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

VJ Day 75 at the NMA 

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are reviewing our plans to hold an event at the National Memorial Arboretum to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day in August.

Whilst we may not be able to deliver our original programme of activity, we are working with the Government and other partner organisations to identify ways to still commemorate this important anniversary, and to ensure that plans align with restrictions and social distancing guidelines that are likely to be in place at the time.

Details of the commemorations, and how you can support and take part in the activities, will be provided as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we are looking for individuals from the Second World War generation who are interested in sharing their stories and memories from VJ Day. We’d like to hear a range of stories from those who served in the Asia Pacific region to those who marked VJ Day at home. If you would like to take part and are happy to be contacted by the Legion’s PR Team for this, please email PRTeam@britishlegion.org.uk

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.

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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