Portsmouth to hold VJ Day events

VJ Day on the steps of the Guildhall, Portsmouth on August 15, 1945
VJ Day on the steps of the Guildhall, Portsmouth on August 15, 1945

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VETERANS, prisoners of war and their families and descendants are being invited to come to memorial services for Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day).

The 70th anniversary of VJ Day is being commemorated on Saturday, August 15, when Portsmouth City Council will be hosting a service at the Second World War Memorial next to the Cenotaph, in Guildhall Square.

The service will be attended by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas, war veterans, representatives from the armed forces and community organisations, and will feature readings and a wreath-laying ceremony.

Live coverage of the commemorative events being held in London will also be shown on the big screen in Guildhall Square.

And on the Sunday, a choral evensong will be held at Portsmouth Cathedral, in High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Cllr Linda Symes, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: ‘It’s extremely important we remember this day, because without it we wouldn’t have the freedoms that we have today.’

VJ Day was when Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, effectively ending the Second World War.

Commander Duncan McClement, 38, from Portsmouth, has his own connections to VJ Day as both his grandfathers served in the Far East during the war.

He said: ‘Everybody remembers Victory in Europe Day but actually the war didn’t end there – it carried on with some of the most vicious fighting.

‘As a result it’s important to remember 70 years on the significance of VJ Day.

‘There aren’t many people who were involved in the Far East campaign who are still alive and their stories need to be passed down through the generations. I would encourage everyone, and especially veterans and descendants of those who served, to attend the commemorative service to remember this important part of our history.’

Veterans, prisoners of war and civilian internees, along with their descendants and families, are encouraged to attend either Portsmouth’s ceremony or London’s commemoration events.

Those interested in going to London should register by contacting The Royal British Legion on 0203 053 7015 or email vjday70@britishlegion.org.uk