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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 August 2005, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Crowds gather to remember VJ Day
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight over Blenheim Palace
Europe's largest one-off celebration to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ day has taken place in Oxfordshire with about 25,000 attending the event.

The Festival of Flight at Blenheim Palace had a four-hour air display by 40 planes including Sally B Flying Fortress and the Red Arrows.

The event also included musicians, dancers, singers, classic car and military vehicle enthusiasts.

The anniversary marks the surrender of Japan to the Allies in World War II.

Japan surrendered on 15 August, 1945, days after the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by atomic bombs, which killed 200,000 people.

Wartime Britain

The weapons were carried on board American B-29 bombers, developed from the B-17 Flying Fortresses which flew missions over Europe.

The only working example of a B-17 in Britain, known as Sally B, will be the centrepiece of the airshow at Blenheim, the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

Crowds were entertained by re-enactments of distinctive sights and sounds from 1940s Britain.

We're...trying to capture the immense relief, joy and the spontaneous realisation that the war was finally over
Francis Rockliff
Festival director

Lord Blandford, who is part of the organising committee, said: "What we hope to create is a living tribute to wartime Britain and to the millions of men and women that served all over the world and at home.

"In this VJ Day 60th anniversary year every opportunity must be taken to acknowledge their contribution."

As well as a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Red Arrows will also perform a display above the palace.

Mess tents, swing dance workshops, jeep rides, news footage, hot air balloon flights, Dads Army enclosure, flight simulators and vintage cars added to the 1940s atmosphere.

"This was undoubtedly one of the tragic events of history, but while we're commemorating the official end of the Second World War and remembering those that gave so much, we're also trying to capture the immense relief, joy and the spontaneous realisation that the war was finally over," festival director Francis Rockliff said.

Elsewhere there were services of remembrance and events to honour British veterans of the Far East campaign, including those in Birmingham, Glasgow, Cardiff and Norwich.

Sunday's events follow similar commemorations, held around the world to mark Victory in Europe Day - proclaimed on May 8, 1945.




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See how VJ day will be commemorated



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