Knaresborough Royal British Legion to unveil new memorial

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Last Updated on 11 August 2020 at 5:19pm

This Saturday, 15 August 2020, is the 75th anniversary of VJ Day (Victory over Japan), marking both the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War.  Join with the Royal British Legion as we remember and recognise all those who served and sacrificed in the Far East and ultimately brought an end to the Second World War.

Whilst VE Day marked the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, many thousands of Armed Forces personnel were still involved in bitter fighting in the Far East, where the war continued.

Victory over Japan would come at a heavy price, and Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) marks the day Japan surrendered on the 15 August 1945, which in effect ended the Second World War.

Fighting in the Asia-Pacific took place from Hawaii to North East India and Britain and the Commonwealth’s principal fighting force, the Fourteenth Army, was one of the most diverse in history – over 40 languages were spoken, and all the world’s major religions represented. The descendants of many of the Commonwealth veterans of that army are today part of multicultural communities up and down the country, a lasting legacy to the success and comradeship of those who fought in the Asia-Pacific.

So this year we remember the contribution of all Commonwealth and Allied Forces, without whom victory and the freedoms and way of life we enjoy today would not have been possible.

To mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day the Knaresborough Branch of the Royal British Legion has totally refurbished the commemoration Bench that sits opposite the War memorial in the Castle grounds and will be rededicating it on Saturday.

Speaking on behalf of the Branch, Vice-Chair Dave Houlgate said:

The Bench was installed in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of VE and VJ days but has become weather worn in recent years.  We had planned to undertake this work and re-dedicate the Bench for VE Day back in May but we were unable to do that due to the pandemic lockdown.  Even now the Health and Safety of people is paramount so whilst we will be carrying out a short commemoration service on Saturday, we are not able to give a time as to when.

We’ll be taking photos and hoping to video the event to upload on to social media but it is important that we don’t encourage people to attend on this occasion.  If you are in the castle grounds when the ceremony is happening, please, please make sure you comply with social distancing guidelines.

The Bench will be inscribed with VE and VJ and the years 1945 and 2020.

Nationally, a Two Minute Silence will take place at 11am and the commemorations will pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the thousands of Armed Forces personnel, civilians and family members who contributed to victory in the Far East, and recognise the horrors they endured.

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Harrogate Informer