VJ 70 Day: A flypast including Spitfire, Dakota, Hurricane and Charles Dance reading Rudyard Kipling poem The Road to Mandalay among 70th anniversary of Victory over Japan commemorations

 
Catherine Neilan
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VJ Day celebrations: The iconic kiss on the day the victory was announced 70 years ago (Source: Getty)
A historic flypast, a drumhead service and military bands will be featured among a series of events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War through the Victory over Japan (VJ) tomorrow.
The Victory over Japan - which effectively ended six years of warfare - was declared on 15 August UK time, but 14 August in the US. It came before the formal surrender ceremony on 2 September.
As part of a series of events marking 70 years since the end of World War II, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will attend a service at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, together with veterans, former prisoners of war and civilian internees tomorrow at 11am.
The service, organised by National Far East Prisoners of War (FEPOW) Fellowship Welfare Remembrance Association, will be represented by all regiments of the 18th Infantry Division of 1942 who were deployed to the Far East, as well as representatives from Commonwealth nations who also served.
A flypast will take place at 2pm, with four historic aircraft – a Spitfire, a Dakota and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain memorial flight and a Royal Navy Swordfish, as well as a current RAF Typhoon – swooping over Horse Guards Parade.
The event will also include a drumhead service and wreath-laying ceremony, special readings, and hymns sung by the Gwalia Male Voice Choir and the London Welsh Male Voice Choir.
Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance will read the Rudyard Kipling poem The Road to Mandalay, which was a favourite marching tune for many in the 14th Army in Burma, commanded by Field Marshal Lord Slim during the campaign.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will attend the special commemorative event, hosted by the government and Royal British Legion. Other veterans and their families will attend this event, alongside tri-service bands and current members of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force.
Senior military and political representatives will also be in attendance.
After the event, veterans, civilian internees, their descendants and families along with current personnel will follow a band of pipes and drums down Whitehall and through Parliament Square to Westminster Abbey – passing the statue of Field Marshal Slim – in a special 70th anniversary parade.
A reception will then take place in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, hosted by The Royal British Legion.
Londoners are being urged to line Whitehall to view the service on the big screens “and cheer on the veterans as they parade supported by military bands and current serving personnel”. As a result, there is going to be plenty of road closures.
But for those who can't make it into the capital, events are also being held across the country.
In Staffordshire's National Memorial Arboretum there will be a special service held at 12pm on Saturday 15 August, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony. On Sunday, the Far East Prisoner of War Building will be rededicated followed by a wreath-laying at the Far Ear Prisoners of War Grove.
In Lichfield Cathedral there will be a special service of thanksgiving on Saturday 15 August.
The Manningtree and District Royal British Legion Branch will hold a ceremony at the Manningtree War Memorial at 11am on Saturday 15 August.
In Derbyshire, there will be a service of thanksgiving and commemoration at the village war memorial in Hayfield village, organised by the local Royal British Legion branch.
At Easthill Park war memorial in Portslade, near Brighton, there will be a service of remembrance at 2:30pm.
In Portsmouth's Guildhall Square a service will be held next to the cenotaph at 11am. The service will be attended by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, 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.
On Sunday there will be a choral evensong in Portsmouth's Cathedral at 6pm to mark the anniversary.
Defence secretary Michael Fallon said: “It is important that we take this opportunity to pay tribute to the courage and fortitude of all those whose actions led to the final victory of Allied Forces in the Second World War.
“This major anniversary is a time to recognise the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives, the veterans who fought, and the prisoners of war and civilian internees who suffered for their country. I would urge the nation to attend the many events up and down the country 70 years on from the victory in Japan.”

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