This Saturday, we will commemorate 75 years since VJ Day.
What is VJ Day?
On 15 August 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied forces and the Second World War officially ended. After 6 years of war, it was a day of jubilation and has been marked each year since.
The Not Forgotten has had the privilege of supporting many World War Two veterans, including those who fought in the Far East; their resilience and good humour have inspired and motivated us all. It is a huge shame that COVID-19 has stolen this wonderful generation’s celebration from them this year.
Although we’re not able to hold big events and public gatherings to celebrate this significant anniversary, in the true British style we will all keep calm, carry on and celebrate safely from home. It’s up to us to make our WWII veterans feel valued, cared for and Not Forgotten.
Below are some ideas on how you can get involved and so there’s no excuse to not get in the party mood!
LEARN ABOUT VJ DAY
- The official VJ Day website has a great short summary of the final weeks of the Second World War.
- Explore the Imperial War Museum’s archives.
- Read the stories of some of those who served during WWII.
- Visit The Royal British Legion’s website to hear first hand accounts of the War, contribute to their interactive map and find a plethora of resources.
REMEMBER THOSE WHO FOUGHT
Whilst this was undoubtedly a day of joyful celebration, for some of those still serving in the Far East at the time, victory was bitter-sweet. Many Commonwealth soldiers had been captured by the Japanese and treated very poorly in POW camps.
One such individual was the late George Housego MBE, who served with the Royal Artillery during the war. In 2014, George told us his story as part of our portrait series:
TUNE IN TO THE BBC
- BBC One, from 9.30-11.30am
Coverage of the remembrance commemoration taking place at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire
- BBC One, 11am
HRH The Prince of Wales will lead a national two minute silence.
- BBC One, from 8.30-10pm
Coverage of a unique VJ Day event taking place at Horse Guards Parade in London. Joanna Lumley will narrate the event, which will chart the crucial campaign that led to the end of the Second World War. HRH The Duke of Cambridge will pay tribute to our WWII generation.
JOIN THE NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM’S EVENTS
The NAM have got a few things lined up for this weekend, including:
- A free, online screening of ‘Levison Wood: My Grandfather’s War‘ on Friday 14 August at 7pm. Levison’s grandfather served with The Royal Welch Fusiliers in Burma during WWII. Tune in here.
- A debate between historians from Army Museum, the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force Museum and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. They will explore the road to Victory over Japan. Register for the event here and tune in on Saturday 15 August at 2pm.
- An exclusive online event, which will bring Captain Sir Tom Moore and Private Joseph Hammond together in conversation with NAM’s Dr Peter Johnston. Visit their website on Saturday 15 August at 4pm.
TRACE YOUR FAMILY HISTORY
- The Imperial War Museum’s archives are full to the brim with information. Their website offers some great advice on how to trace your family’s history.
- Subscribe to ancestry.co.uk or findmypast.co.uk to search through your family tree.
- Or why not browse The National Archives – you never know what, or who, you might find.
- Make some bunting for a garden party. Here are templates for full colour bunting and VJ Day logo bunting.
- Get baking with Prue Leith.
- Complete a special VJ Day activity sheet.
- Colour in your very own picture of a Spitfire, or a Thank You poster for your window.
- Download the National Memorial Arboretum and the Royal British Legion’s Children’s Activity Pack including fact sheets, word searches and drawings to colour in.
- Take The National Memorial Arboretum and Royal British Legion VJ Day Quiz, or download their Activity Pack (there’s one for adults too!)
WHAT HAS THE NOT FORGOTTEN BEEN UP TO?
In July, The Not Forgotten launched an outdoor, socially distanced, C19 secure care home concert tour called Those Not Forgotten Years. Over a total of 7 weeks, we will put on 60 concerts across the UK for our WWII generation. If they cannot go out and party, we will bring the part to them! Find out more.
And what have we got in the pipeline?
Lucky you should ask as we’ve got some big plans afoot! Later in the year, we will be delivering WWII themed goody boxes to our Second World War veterans. More information will follow soon, so watch this space…