THE BLOG

VJ Day; Remembering the Bravery and Sacrifice 70 Years On

17/08/2015 14:40 BST | Updated 13/08/2016 10:59 BST

2015-08-13-1439457372-640253-VJDay_HuffPost.jpg

The 70th anniversary of VJ Day allows us as a nation the opportunity to remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms today and to share their stories for future generations to hear.

When I hear the stories of veterans I am always struck by their humility, to these men they were just doing their jobs. In their eyes, serving their country was the right thing to do - whatever the cost.

Those sent to the Far East not only fought against the Japanese but also the inhospitable and unusual conditions they found in countries like Myanmar (Burma), India and Indonesia. Veterans tell stories of servicing aircraft outdoors without the shelter of aircraft hangars as the monsoon rain lashed down.

Japan became involved in the conflict when, in 1941, attacks on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii and British and Dutch territories in Asia and the Pacific led to the Western Allies declaring war.

It was a war which continued until Japan's surrender in 1945, four months after peace was declared in Europe. Thousands were captured and imprisoned along with civilians in harsh Japanese POW camps.

When peace finally came the RAF immediately began plans to repatriate the troops, dropping 136 teams of negotiators into the area along with leaflets, food and medical supplies.

The best way to pay tribute to the legacy of our brave armed forces is to remember them and the debt we owe. The RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF's leading welfare charity, has compiled a collection of testimonies, photos and videos from RAF veterans who served during the conflict in the Far East.

To read some of these first hand accounts of what life was like, please visit: www.rafbf.org/vj-day