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Last Updated: Monday, 15 August 2005, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Duke leads VJ Day commemorations
Prince Philip meets veterans
The Duke of Edinburgh served with the British Pacific Fleet
Veterans of the Far East campaign have been marking VJ Day, when World War II ended after Japan's surrender in 1945.

In London the Duke of Edinburgh joined former prisoners of war and servicemen at an Imperial War Museum reunion.

Commemorative events were held across the UK and the Royal British Legion called on young people to take part.

It said many were unaware of sacrifices made by previous generations and most do not even know the date of VJ Day.

Research undertaken by the RBL revealed only 2% of 11- to 18-year-olds could correctly identify the date of the VJ Day anniversary.

Brigadier Ian Townsend, director general of the RBL, said: "It would seem that the groundswell of support for our veterans is still very strong.

The honourable men and women who served in the Far East are often disappointed that so little recognition is given to their extraordinary efforts
Brigadier Ian Townsend

"However, the honourable men and women who served in the Far East are often disappointed that so little recognition is given to their extraordinary efforts when compared to other theatres."

VJ Day - 15 August 1945 - followed the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs. The formal surrender was signed on 2 September.

Japan marked the 60th anniversary of its defeat with an apology for its wartime aggression.

VJ veterans reminisce

On Monday, 60 years after Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender, his son Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called for a peaceful future for Japan.

The chairman of the Burma Star Association, of which the Duke of Edinburgh is patron, said Monday's events meant those who served had not been forgotten.

Captain Paddy Vincent said: "It is a reassurance that the public do not forget, as people sometimes like to say they do."

At London's Imperial War Museum, the Duke of Edinburgh met veterans of the Fourteenth Army - dubbed the Forgotten Army - the former British Pacific Fleet and Far East Prisoners of War.

Malta memorial

The prince - who is patron of the Burma Star Association - served with the British Pacific Fleet and witnessed the final surrender of Japan.

Among the guests were Viscount Slim, Countess Mountbatten of Burma and Dame Vera Lynn. Actress Joanna Lumley, whose late father served with the Chindits - an elite British guerrilla unit that fought in Burma - also attended.

VJ DAY MARKED AROUND UK
Memorial to British prisoners of war in the Far East opened in Staffordshire
Cruise liner QM2 sounds its whistle to re-enact announcement of end of WWII
Thousands gather in Glasgow and smaller events held across Scotland
Services held across Wales and tributes paid

The band of the Brigade of Ghurkhas put on a marching display, and later the prince will tour the Children's War exhibition.

Royal Navy veteran Charles Wall said: "It's always an emotional occasion, this one maybe more than most because it may be the last one."

In Alrewas, Staffordshire, a new Far East Prisoners of War Memorial Building was opened at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Regional Burma Star Association branches held events across the country.

Earlier on Monday the Duke of Edinburgh laid a wreath at the Malta Siege Memorial in London, accompanied by the President of Malta, Dr Edward Fenech Adami.

Following a service of dedication at All Hallows church, by the Tower of London, about 300 veterans, dignitaries and guests gathered to honour those who served in the defence of Malta during the 1940-43 siege.

Festival of Flight

The cruise liner Queen Mary 2 sounded its whistle from its berth in Southampton at noon to re-enact the role played by its predecessor in announcing the end of the war.

Commemorations have already been held to mark VJ Day in recent weeks.

Joanna Lumley with veteran Ron Hadley
Actress Joanna Lumley's father served with the Chindits in Burma

In London there were joint celebrations to mark both VE Day and VJ Day.

On Sunday Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire staged a Festival of Flight, which re-enacted the sights and sounds of 1940s Britain.

In Glasgow, thousands gathered for a parade while flypasts were held at RAF Kinloss and Wick airport in Caithness.

Veterans also met in Cardiff and Gwent in Wales to remember their comrades.

Elsewhere, a Spitfire exhibition opened at the Science Museum, London, to mark the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See the scenes of celebrations 60 years ago in London



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