WWII planes soar over UK in memory of ‘forgotten army’ on 75th anniversary of VJ Day


Flypasts by the Red Arrows and vintage Second World War aircraft have been part of poignant commemorations to honour those who fought in Far East.

Tributes to veterans and those who lost their lives have been led by Prince Charles on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, saying they should be “respected, thanked and cherished”.

And a two-minute silence was held, marked by the sounding of the Last Post at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

A Lancaster bomber, three Spitfires and a Hurricane perform a fly-past over the National Memorial Aroboretum on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day
A Lancaster bomber, three Spitfires and a Hurricane perform a fly-past over the National Memorial Aroboretum on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day
The Red Arrow fly over Belfast on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day
The Red Arrows fly over Belfast – but their appearance over Edinburgh, Cardiff and London was called off because of bad weather

Although VE Day (Victory in Europe Day) arrived just over three months earlier, it was not until 15 August 1945 that the Second World War finally came to an end with the surrender of Japan.

Charles, who laid wreaths with the Duchess of Cornwall at the arboretum, said those who fought in the Far East had been labelled “the forgotten army“.

About 40 veterans attended the anniversary VJ Day service.

Richard Day, 93, who was involved in the decisive Battle of Kohima in northeast India, said the worst part was “crossing rivers at night”, then going through the small hours in wet clothes with wet equipment.

He said the Japanese were “very determined for their emperor” and “didn’t appear to have any fear at all”.

Prince Charles lays a wreath
Prince Charles lays a wreath at the National Memorial Arboretum

VJ Day - Boris Johnson

PM: ‘We will remember them’

More than 71,000 British and Commonwealth troops died in the Far East campaign, including 13,000 who lost their lives in Japanese prisoner of war camps, where conditions were brutal.

In a speech, the Prince of Wales said many of the “soldiers, nurses and other personnel felt anger and disappointment at how they were treated when they finally returned home from a war which, from the public’s point of view, had ended on the 8th May 1945 (VE Day)”.

He added: “Let us affirm, they and serving veterans are not forgotten, rather you are respected, thanked and cherished with all our hearts and for all time.”

Prince Charles helps 97-year-old veteran Darbara Singh Bhullar lay a wreath
The Prince of Wales helps 97-year-old veteran Darbara Singh Bhullar lay a wreath
The Duchess of Cornwall chats to a Second World war veteran
The Duchess of Cornwall chatted with veterans following the service

Boris Johnson read the Exhortation before a two-minute silence, which was followed by a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast, involving three Spitfires, a Hurricane and a Lancaster bomber.

In a letter to veterans, the prime minister said: “You fought for freedom, brought the Second World War to its end, and restored peace and prosperity to the world. On this anniversary, and every day hereafter, you will be remembered.”

In a statement, the Queen mentioned the “joy at the end of the conflict”, but also remembered the “terrible devastation that it brought”.

The Duke of Edinburgh, 99, served in the Second World War as a naval officer, and will feature alongside other veterans on a number of large screens across the UK, in a photo montage showing veterans today and when they served.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace lays a wreath at the Cenotaph on Whitehall

‘When we forget, the world gets worse’

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News that those who fought were coping with “horrendous conditions” and it was “time to remember what they did”.

Mr Wallace added that four million people from the Commonwealth and India contributed to the fight.

He said it was a collective effort involving “different nations, different races and different religions”.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech during a memorial service in Tokyo
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke during a memorial service in Tokyo

Japan formally surrenders to the Allies, ending World War Two

A new audio experience has been released at the Imperial War Museum to commemorate VJ day with the voices of veterans.

The Red Arrows had to cancel a flypast over Edinburgh because of unsuitable conditions. The group’s leader, Martin Pert, tweeted that the weather was “particularly challenging”.

However, flypasts did go ahead elsewhere, including over Prestwick and Belfast.

Red Arrows flypast to commemorate 75th anniversary of VJ Day

Red Arrows flypast for VJ Day

In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged “never to repeat the tragedy of war” and Emperor Naruhito expressed “deep remorse” over the wartime past.

Veteran Roy Miller, 96, joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15 and served in the gunnery division onboard the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable in the Far East.

Speaking to Sky News from his Surrey home, he said: “People often ask if I celebrated when it all ended, but it wasn’t joy at all. It was relief. It was an end. It was a feeling of relief that the whole thing was coming to an end and we weren’t going to be shot at any more.”

Products You May Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *