Local MP, MSP and Councillor Commemorates VJ Day 75th Anniversary

DUMFRIESSHIRE, CLYDESDALE AND TWEEDDALE MP David Mundell comments on the 75th Anniversary of the VJ Day, commemorating the end of the Second World War and victory over Japan in the Far-East, stressing the importance of honouring our service men and women. 

 

David Mundell 2018  

 "Saturday 15th August marks the 75th Anniversary of Victory over Japan Day, which signalled the end of hostilities in the Far East and the Second World War. It is now more important than ever that we pause to reflect those who lost their lives fighting for freedom and against the grasps of tyranny.  

  

"Growing up I can recall hearing stories of locals during their time in the Far-East. Many of these soldiers endured harrowing experiences and incredibly harsh conditions and I think it is absolutely vital that this is given its due recognition. 

  

"At the time there was often public misunderstanding that VE Day signalled the end of the war. In reality, countless British troops in the ‘Forgotten Army’ were still fighting in the Far-East, with victory over Japan still four months away. As such we must ensure that we recognise the significance of VJ Day and that the memories of these servicemen and women are not forgotten. 

  

"With this in mind, it’s also important that we dedicate our thanks to those serving in our Armed Forces who have helped the country combat the challenge of Covid-19. The men and women who currently serve with such selfless dedication honour the memory of those sadly no longer with us." 

 

In May 1945, when the war ended in Europe with victory over Nazi Germany, VE Day was rightly celebrated. However, tens of thousands of Allied Forces were still engaged in bitter fighting in the Pacific theatre.

In July 1945, the Allies called for the unconditional surrender of the Imperial Japanese armed forces. Japan ignored this and the war continued.

From the Japanese invasion of Guam and Hong Kong onwards, many British and Commonwealth civilians and armed forces were taken prisoners, enduring terrible mental and physical trauma at the hands of their Japanese captors, including forced labour, torture, and starvation.

The Far East saw some of the fiercest fighting in some of the harshest conditions of WW2, with Japanese troops defending island locations to the death and Kamikaze pilots targeting Allied ships.

Rather than pursue what would have been a high casualty progress towards Japan, the Allies targeted Japanese cities with conventional bombs and firebombs. When Japan chose to fight on, the Allies exploded atomic bombs above Hiroshima [6 August] and Nagasaki [9 August], devastating their targets. Imperial Japan surrendered to the Allies on 15 August 1945. The surrender ended the conflict in the Pacific and brought WW2 to a close.

 

Councillor Archie Dryburgh MBE, Armed Forces Champion, said: “The 75th anniversary of VJ Day is a time for us to collectively remember the contribution made by people from Scotland, the UK, the Commonwealth, and the Allied Nations. Their sacrifices enabled the freedoms and democracy that we enjoy to this day. Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it. As we see a rise in intolerance, hate crime and anti-Semitism, it’s vital that we take time to remember the atrocities of war and work to ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes again.”

 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Dumfries and Galloway Council is organising a virtual service on Saturday, rather than a socially distanced open-air service and wreath laying ceremony which was previously planned.

Nationally, an online concert and service of remembrance will lead the commemoration on Saturday.

There will also be a two-minute silence; the Red Arrows will perform a flypast of Edinburgh and Legion Scotland will issue medallions in honour of those who made a contribution to the war effort.

 

Colin Smyth said: “Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, it is important that we still commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day in a safe way and I would like to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of all those who fought in the Second World War, as well as the many who served on the home front.

“Those brave men and women who fought and gave their lives for our freedom must never be forgotten. As we face the most challenging times since the end of the Second World War, it is more important than ever that we commemorate their sacrifice.

“Like many people, I was scheduled to attend events to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day but unfortunately due to continuing Covid-19 restrictions, I will now be taking part in online and virtual events taking place instead. If anyone is looking for ideas on how to commemorate the occasion at home and perhaps raise some money, Legion Scotland has a huge amount of information on its website.

“This charity continues to support our Armed Forces community and by supporting them, local people are supporting the men and women who continue to sacrifice for their country.”