Today marks the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, both the day Japan surrendered and the official end of World War Two. This day serves as an opportunity to pay remembrance not just to the hard work of Britain’s domestic army, but to the monumental sacrifices made by our Commonwealth allies over the course of the Far East Campaign.
It is a sad truth that VJ Day, and our Far East soldiers, have never seemed to capture public sentiment in the same way as VE Day. But the simple truth is that there would never have been victory on our shores if not for the sacrifices overseas.By 1945 the military units under the South East Asia Command stood at a total of 1.3 million, comprising 955,000 units from the Empire and Commonwealth.
Only 10% of these units were British. While I was reading through the website of the Royal British Legion I stumbled across an anecdote that I believe we could all do with reading.“In 1940 after the fall of France, when Britain was at its lowest ebb, British officials in Nepal asked for permission to recruit an extra twenty battalions of Gurkhas and that they be allowed to serve anywhere in the world. In response the Prime Minister of Nepal said “Does a friend desert a friend in time of need? If you win, we win with you. If you lose, we lose with you” and placed Nepal’s armed forces at the disposal of the British Crown.”
Today, as we should on all days, lets pay thanks and remembrance to our friends overseas, and to those who fought for the freedoms we hold dear.