Header image: The BBMF formation flypast for the VJ Day 75 anniversary commemorations on 15th August, at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas. (Photo:Crown Copyright)
The UK commemorated the 75th anniversary of VJ Day – the day that World War Two ended with Japan’s surrender – with a service of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, on Saturday 15th August. The proceedings focused on the multinational and multicultural composition of the Allied forces that fought against the Japanese in the Far East. A small number of veterans and their relatives sat on benches dotted around the gardens, to maintain social distancing. The event was screened live on BBC TV.
HRH the Prince of Wales attended the event with the Duchess of Cornwall to lead the two-minute silence. He also laid a wreath at the Kwai Railway Memorial and met and chatted with some of the veterans.
A formation flypast by the BBMF was a part of the occasion and was also shown on TV, with the Lancaster leading a Hurricane and three Spitfires over the Arboretum exactly on track and on time. Lancaster PA474 was captained by Flight Lieutenant ‘Faz’ Farrell and all four of this year’s BBMF fighter pilots were involved in flying the fighters, led by OC BBMF, Squadron Leader Mark ‘Disco’ Discombe AFC, in Hurricane LF363.
The BBMF also featured in the TV programme broadcast on the evening of 15th August on BBC One – ‘VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute’ – with a pre-recorded flypast over Horse Guards Parade by the Lancaster, Hurricane LF363 and Spitfire Mk XVI TE311. This was actually flown and filmed on the evening of 26th July. For this TV programme HRH Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, who is the Royal Patron of the BBMF, pre-recorded a speech in which he said: “It is hard for us to imagine what Victory over Japan Day must have felt like at the time; a mix of happiness, jubilation, and sheer relief, together with a deep sadness and overwhelming sense of loss for those who would never return home. Today we remember those who endured terrible suffering and honour all those who lost their lives.”