Boris Johnson praises ‘immeasurable sacrifice’ of British troops in Asia as UK marks 75th anniversary of VJ Day
VJ Day commemorates the end of the conflict in the Pacific and the end of the Second World War (PA)
Boris Johnson has praised the “immeasurable sacrifice” of British and Commonwealth troops as the UK marks the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.
In a letter to veterans of the Second World War, he said that “those who are last to come home deserve particular recognition”.
He wrote: “Across a vast region, you fought on until the final day of the Second World War exactly 75 years ago.”
“When at last you returned, you sometimes found that your experiences had been overshadowed in popular imagination by the conflict in Europe. So in offering my thanks for your service, I would like to remember what you achieved.”
VJ Day—or Victory over Japan Day—commemorates the end of the conflict in the Pacific following the surrender of Japanese forces on 15 August, and takes place three months after VE Day—Victory in Europe Day—which celebrates the victory over Hitler’s Germany.
Mr Johnson went on to praise the “ingenuity and daring” of forces in the region and the “fearful cost” of the fighting that lead to the death of 50,000 British troops, half of which died in prison camps.
He continued: “Yet this immeasurable sacrifice helped to change the course of history and lay the foundations of the success of South East Asia.
“You were the last to come home but your achievements are written in the lights of the glittering capitals of the dynamic region we see today. You fought for freedom, brought the Second World War to its end, and restored peace and prosperity to the world.
“All of us who were born after you have benefited from your courage in adversity. On this anniversary — and every day hereafter — you will be remembered.”
Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer paid tribute to the “spirit and determination” of the wartime generation who fought “for a better world and a better future”.
In a video message to mark VJ day, he said: “It's important that as we face the challenges of today, we take inspiration from that generation.
“Through their community spirit and their bravery and their determination for a better world, they've shown us what we can achieve when we pull together.”
Two minutes of silence will be held at 11 am on Saturday morning to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ and the end of the Second World War.