Royal Marines prepare to take centre stage at VJ day commemorations

The Royal Marines School of Music at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth rehearsing for a drumhead ceremony which they will be performing in London on Saturday, August 15 for VJ Day ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (150805-0335)
The Royal Marines School of Music at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth rehearsing for a drumhead ceremony which they will be performing in London on Saturday, August 15 for VJ Day ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (150805-0335)
David Duncan and his staff at 3D Cakes. Picture: Greg Macvean

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  • Royal Marines ready to mark 70th anniversary of VJ Day
  • They will perform as part of ceremony at Horse Guards Parade
  • The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be in attendance
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ROYAL Marines musicians have been practising their manoeuvres ahead of taking part in a national event to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day.

Members of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Band Portsmouth will be leading the musical contributions in London on August 15 as the nation marks the anniversary of the victory over Japan in the Second World War.

It is important for us as a nation to pay tribute to the veterans of the Second World War and the sacrifices they made so that we might enjoy the freedoms we have today

Colour Sergeant Bugler Phill Hawkins

The band will perform as part of a ceremony at Horse Guards Parade in front of the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and hundreds of veterans of the Far East campaign.

The main focus of the event will be a drumhead ceremony, where Royal Marines buglers and percussionists will pile up their drums to form a ceremonial platform at the centre of the parade.

Colour Sergeant Bugler Phill Hawkins is the Bugle Major in charge of the Corps of Drums of the band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth.

He said: ‘We’re very much looking forward to playing our part in the upcoming 70th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day.

‘It is important for us as a nation to pay tribute to the veterans of the Second World War and the sacrifices they made so that we might enjoy the freedoms we have today. I’d encourage everyone to show their support for our veterans by marking the anniversary on August 15.’

Drumhead ceremonies were used during times of conflict as a point of worship when no real altar could be used.

Adam Peers, 23, has just completed his training at the Royal Marines School of Music in Portsmouth, and joins the Portsmouth band.

His first major event will be the VJ Day ceremony.

He said: ‘I’m a little bit nervous but looking forward to joining the band and performing for VJ Day as my first major event. It is an important part of our nation’s history and I will enjoy being part of the ceremony paying tribute to our veterans.’

Portsmouth City Council will host a service at the Second World War Memorial, next to the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square. There will be readings and a wreath-laying ceremony.

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