‘It wasn’t joy… it was relief’: Royal Family to lead VJ Day 75th anniversary services

Senior members of the Royal Family will join veterans to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two.

Prince Charles will lead a two-minute silence at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire as part of a special VJ Day TV service, with the Red Arrows taking to the skies for a UK-wide flypast.

VJ Day is often overshadowed by VE Day, but it was a hugely significant moment because it marked the formal end of the war with the surrender of Japan.

Prince Charles will lead a two-minute silence

More than 71,000 British and Commonwealth troops died in the war against Japan, including 12,000 who lost their lives in Japanese prisoner of war camps, where the conditions were brutal.

“When the Second World War ended 75 years ago with the surrender of Japan, British soldiers, sailors and airmen were serving in the Far East, fighting hard to achieve victory – and were among the last to come home,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“On this anniversary I want to remember what we owe the veterans of the Far East campaign. They brought an end to the Second World War, they changed the course of history for the better, liberated South East Asia, and many paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“That’s why on this remarkable anniversary – and every day hereafter – we will remember them.”

Among those who will attend today’s service is 96-year-old veteran Roy Miller, who joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15 and served in the gunnery division onboard the aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable in the Far East.

“My job was to defend her if she was attacked and from time to time they came after us with kamikaze pilots,” he told Sky News from his Surrey home.

Roy Miller says the end of the war was a ‘feeling of relief’

Mr Miller fought in the Royal Navy

“There was a trickle of fear that ran through you because you had to keep your nerve and you’ve got to hit him before he hits you. That was a stressful time.

“People often ask if I celebrated when it all ended, but it wasn’t joy at all. It was relief. It was an end. It was a feeling of relief that the whole thing was coming to an end and we weren’t going to be shot at any more.”

The campaign in Burma and the Far East saw large numbers of Commonwealth troops take part in some of the most ferocious fighting of the entire war.

Among them was a 20-year-old soldier from Ghana called Private Joseph Hammond.

Joseph Hammond is a World War Two veteran

“It was the most terrible thing in my whole life – I’m short of words to describe it to you,” Mr Hammond told Sky News from his home near Accra.

“The Japanese were the most ferocious fighters under the sun. I was so happy that the war ended, but equally happy to have participated.”

Japanese emperor Hirohito surrendered after the US dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Burma Star Association, which helped thousands of veterans over the years, will today become the Burma Star Memorial Fund due to the dwindling numbers of surviving veterans.