18/07/2015 00:01 BST | Updated 17/07/2016 06:12 BST

Queen To Lead Events Marking 70th Anniversary Of VJ Day

The Queen will mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day by leading the nation in commemorating the sacrifices of British Second World War forces who fought and died defeating Japan.

The Queen and members of the Royal Family will take part in a series of events on August 15.

A service attended by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, veterans, former prisoners of war and civilian internees will be held at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in central London.

Later that afternoon the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be joined by veterans and their families for a special commemorative event at Horse Guards Parade, featuring a fly-past of historic aircraft, a wreath-laying ceremony, readings and hymns.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "It is important that we take this opportunity to pay tribute to the courage and fortitude of all those whose actions led to the final victory of Allied forces in the Second World War.

"This major anniversary is a time to recognise the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives, the veterans who fought, and the prisoners of war and civilian internees who suffered for their country."

After Victory in Europe (VE) Day on May 8 1945 the Japanese finally surrendered on August 14 following the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet declaration of war and invasion of Manchuria.

The next day, Wednesday August 15, was celebrated as Victory over Japan (VJ) Day and the nation formally surrendered on September 2 1945 at a ceremony in Tokyo Bay aboard USS Missouri.

Also in the bay was the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Whelp with Philip, then a First Lieutenant, part of the ship's company.

A highlight of the event at Horse Guards will be actor Charles Dance reading the poem The Road To Mandalay by Rudyard Kipling.

The poem was famously set to music and was a favourite marching tune for many in the 14th Army in Burma, commanded by Field Marshal Lord Slim during the campaign.

The actor said: "When the Second World War ended in Europe in May 1945 British and Commonwealth military personnel and civilians in the Far East were still at war, still on the frontline and still in prisoner of war camps.

"VJ Day 70 on August 15 presents an opportunity for us to publicly recognise the sacrifices of the veterans, internees and their descendants, and the conditions they endured during the dark years of the Second World War."

The event will begin in spectacular style with a fly-past of four historic aircraft, a Spitfire, Dakota and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and a Royal Navy Swordfish, together with a current RAF Typhoon fighter jet.

Also attending will be the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

Afterwards, veterans, civilian internees, their descendants and families along with serving members of the Armed Forces will move down Whitehall and through Parliament Square to Westminster Abbey – passing the statue of Field Marshal Slim – in a special 70th anniversary parade.

Along the route they will be supported by military bands, and the final part will be lined by serving military. A reception will then take place in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, hosted by the Royal British Legion.

The public are being urged to support the anniversary by lining the streets of Whitehall to watch the aircraft flypast, view the event in Horse Guards Parade on big screens and cheer on the veterans as they parade past.

Victor Knibb, 90, of Hampton in Surrey, is the vice-chairman of the Burma Star Association and served with the 4th Battalion The Royal West Kent Regiment. He said: "VJ Day means a lot to me. Around 97,000 British and Commonwealth troops died out there and more than 120,000 Japanese died in that war.

"To me, VJ Day is for the memory of those men who didn't come back. Without them we wouldn't have had 70 years of peace and comfort."