Veterans Honoured at 70th VJ Day Commemorations

The Associated Press

Veterans of World War Two have joined events across the nation today to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day, when Japan surrendered and war in the Far East ended.

In the capital a public memorial event was held in Horse Guards Parade, attended by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh earlier joined Prime Minister David Cameron and former prisoners of war at a remembrance service at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London. The service honoured the estimated 71,000 British and Commonwealth casualties of the war against Japan, including more than 12,000 prisoners of war who died in Japanese captivity.

The Reverend Dr Sam Wells, vicar of the church, told the congregation: “The struggles, the suffering and the sacrifice of the war in the Far East are a defining experience in our nation’s history.

“We stand in awe of those who were tried in ways beyond what most of us ever have to go through and greater than many of us can ever imagine. People who lost life, limb and liberty that we might know peace.”

Bishop to the Armed Forces Nigel Stock, whose uncle was a prisoner of war, delivered the sermon, saying, “we remember as we need to be reminded of what the human spirit can achieve”.

And former prisoner of war Maurice Naylor spoke at the service, saying it was an honour to be joined by the Queen – “a veteran herself” – and members of her family.

He said: “How do I feel now? I feel lucky to have survived so long and still be able to address you. I feel sad for the families of those who died as a result of their captivity.”

Veterans and civilian prisoners will later parade down Whitehall, accompanied by marching bands, to a reception in the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

Below is a tweeted copy of the message sent to all those who returned from captivity in the Far East in 1945.


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