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As we reach the 75th anniversary of VJ Day on Saturday 15 August, it is another reminder of the great debt we all owe the Second World War generation.
The original VJ Day was celebrated across the world with national holidays, parades and street parties.
“All those who fought in the Far East to bring about VJ Day and finally end the Second World War deserve to be to recognised and remembered for their service and sacrifice on our behalf,” says Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Leader and Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Bob Cook.
“This year due to Coronavirus we have to do things differently to keep everyone safe. So let’s all take some time to honour them in our homes and from our doorsteps and make VJ Day 75 a day to remember.”
Great ways to mark VJ Day 75 at home
On the day – Saturday 15 August 2020
9:30 – 11:30am
Watch The Nation Remembers (BBC 1) - the Royal British Legion’s (RBL) national service of remembrance and thanksgiving for all those who served in the Far East. It will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire as part of a special televised service by BBC 1, called ‘The Nation Remembers’.
Commemorations will be led by their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duke of Cambridge lead commemorations to officially marking 75 years since both the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War.
Join in the National two-minute silence (BBC 1) on your door step, or in your home as veterans of the Far East campaign remember and honour their fallen comrades.
Watch The Nation’s Tribute (BBC 1) as Joanna Lumley is joined by a host of celebrities stars as they celebrate and commemorate the conclusion of the Second World War.
Other ways to get involved
Use the official VJ Day toolkitof resources including bunting, posters and fun worksheets for the kids to colour in.
The National Army Museum, the Royal Air Force Museum, the National Museum of the Royal Navyand the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have teamed up for a full programme of content for you to enjoy from your own home, including online talks, events and virtual tours.
Contribute to Historic England’s digital project ‘VE to VJ Day: 75 Places that Witnessed the War”. From ordinary places that sheltered the Blitz-weary, to well-known sites of military might, the collection will feature stories of listed places that harbour wartime histories. The final collection will be revealed on VJ Day.
Join the Premier League Academies in marking VJDay 75 by sending paper cranes to Big Ideas, where they will be assembled into a paper wreath to be laid at the Children’s Peace Monument in the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park.
Imperial War Museum (IWM) will be sharing new digital public artwork from Es Devlin and Machiko Weston called “I Saw The World End”which will explore the dropping of the atomic bombs and aftermath of the Second World War. The IWM’s programme also includes Voices of War – audio compilations from IWM’s rich sound archive which will invite audiences to question what the end of the war meant to people around the world.
Learn more about the history of VJ Day
Download the Royal British Legion’s VJ Day activity packs:
- VJ Day quiz covering general knowledge, badges, symbols and flags;
- VJ Day children’s activity pack with interesting things to learn and do;
- VJ Day activity pack with lots of useful information about the background to VJ Day.
- The Royal British Legion’s Teaching Remembrance covers a range of Remembrance topics, with resources designed for Key Stages 2-4.
- BBC Resources for KS2: VE Day and VJ Day
- UK Parliament during WWII – its role, the decisions made and the laws passed for primaryand secondary
- Discover your WW2 history using these online resources to discover your local and family Second World War histories and connections:
- Imperial War Museums
- The National Archives
- National Army Museum
To help commemorate VJ Day, Ancestry is opening selected worldwide records and sharing expert advice to help you research the untold stories of the war. Discover more about your family’s history.
Craft a crane for peace – follow this step-by-step video tutorial to create your own paper crane. Then send it to: Big Ideas, 465C Hornsey Road, London, N19 4DR by 31 August 2020 where it will be made into a special paper wreath to be laid at the Children’s Peace Monument in Japan.
Share your stories
Share your WW2 history – Do you have a Second World War or VJ Day connection?
Share your Second World War stories, family histories and messages of remembrance via email at [email protected] , or on social media using #VJDay75. Join the conversation now.
Submit a couple of sentences and a photo if you have one, to remember a loved one who fought during the world wars – or just to give thanks for everyone who fought for their country. These will be displayed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s digital Wall of Remembrance.
The Royal British Legionis asking you to share a story or message of thanks to those who served in the Far East on its interactive map. Explore the RBL’s website showcasing the broad contribution of the Commonwealth.
Watch and listen to stories of Remembrance and Commemoration
Watch first-hand accounts from veterans who served in the Far East:
- Joseph Hammond, 95, who was at school in Ghana when the Second World War broke out in 1939. Having always wanted to join the Army he signed up as a driver mechanic straight from school.
- Rajindar Singh Dhatt was living in pre-partition India and had almost finished school when the Second World War broke out. He had hoped to go to college, but his family couldn’t afford to send him so he joined the British-Indian Army.
Take a look at the National Memorial Aboretum’s new free online exhibition – Visualising History: Remembering the Forgotten Army – telling the story of the Fourteenth Army, one of the largest, most diverse military forces ever. It was assembled in November 1943 with more than a million people served in the 14th Army who came from Britain, West Africa, India and many other Commonwealth regions.
It should be one of the most celebrated stories of that devastating global conflict. Yet the 14th Army is known as the ‘Forgotten Army’. Find out why and help to make sure they are not forgotten.
Watch inspiring and moving interviews with World War II veterans who were also professional football players, telling today’s Premier League Academy players about their war experiences.
These ‘Football Remembers Eleven’ films are being released during 2020 leading up to Remembrance Sunday (8 November 2020). Please note – filming was done prior to current rules around social distancing.
Have a look at ‘Tribute ink’ – the RBL explains how tattoos have become central to Remembrance and commemoration in our Armed Forces community, and explores some of the stories behind them.
Send your VJ Day experiences to Dear Diary
Dear Diary is documenting people’s experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic for future generations to look back on with interest. We'd love to see pictures of your VJ Day celebrations. Find out all about the project, and how to submit your photographs, stories and experiences, on the Heritage Stockton Website.