Following the success of their VE Day Festival in May, The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), National Army Museum (NAM) and Royal Air Force Museum (RAFM) together with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), are coming together in a unique collaboration to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day with a series of free virtual events for the public to engage with from the safety and comfort of their home.
Taking place from Friday 14 August to Sunday 16 August 2020, the ambitious commemorations will feature a variety of online talks and events which will explore the contribution of the British and Commonwealth forces during the Far East Campaign in the closing months of the Second World War.
Although victory had been declared in Europe, the grueling fight against Japan continued. From 1941 to 1945, the British Commonwealth Forces alongside the allies fought a bitter campaign in Asia. The fighting took place over challenging terrain, from the jungles of Burma to the remote islands of the Pacific, and always against a tenacious enemy. Despite the extraordinary nature of the far eastern element of the conflict, it remains less well known or recognized than the European elements of the war.
The program of online events will begin on Friday 14 August and will see the tri-service museums introduce the Far East Campaign and explore its vast geographical spread. They will also share the rediscovered stories of individual service personnel who fought during this period. These online videos will be available to view via the museums’ individual digital channels.
The program continues Saturday 15 August, the date of Japan’s surrender and the end of the Second World War, with ‘Never Forgotten: The War in the Far East and Modern Memory’. This exciting debate hosted by journalist and author Dr Shrabani Basu sees historians from the three museums and the CWGC discuss how the Far East Campaign was fought on land, sea and air and how it continues to be commemorated today. After the debate members of the public are invited to get involved in a live Q&A. This is a free event that will be broadcast on Crowdcast on Saturday 15 August at 2pm.
The final day of the commemorations on Sunday 16 August will see the three museums and the CWCG come together for the last time to discuss the popular cultural legacy of the war in the Far East. It will address topics such as why so many of our war films are only focussed on the war in Europe, and how the war is remembered today. Like the previous debate, this is also a free event that will be broadcast on Sunday 16 August at 2pm.
The full events program can be found on the websites of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, the National Army Museum, the Royal Air Force Museum and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission by Monday 10 August 2020.
The museums are encouraging those joining to share pictures on social media with the hashtags #VJDay75 #NeverForgotten
About the National Museum of the Royal Navy – The National Museum of the Royal Navy, established in 2009, tells the story of the four fighting forces of the British Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Fleet Air Arm, the Submarine Service and the Surface Fleet. Ours is the epic story of the Royal Navy, its impact on Britain and the world from its origins in 625 A.D. to the present day. The Museum Group includes the Royal Naval Museum, the Fleet Air Arm Museum, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum with HMS Alliance, Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower, the Royal Marines Museum, HMS Victory, HMS Caroline, HMS M33, HMS Warrior and NMRN Hartlepool (including HMS Trincomalee). Further information is available on www.nmrn.org.uk
About the National Army Museum – Established in 1960 by Royal Charter, the National Army Museum is the United Kingdom’s leading authority on the history and traditions of the British Army. It explores the impact that soldiers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth have had throughout the world, from the 17th century to the present day. Through its world-class collections, the Museum safeguards and shares the stories and values of ordinary people who have been called upon to bear extraordinary responsibilities on behalf of others. www.nam.ac.uk
About the RAF Museum – The RAF Museum is a place of storytelling and sharing. Our RAF stories include those of serving personnel, veterans, cadets and reserves. They explore our rich collections of technological innovations, personal items and the heritage of our site. The stories come from times of war and keeping the peace, from at home and abroad. They may be about courage, fear, love, loss or laughter. Visitors are encouraged to discover these stories throughout our exhibitions, across our site and online – and perhaps contribute their own. The RAF Museum is free to enter. Keep up to date with the latest news and event information by following us at www.rafmuseum.org
About the Commonwealth War Graves Commission – We honour and care for the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars, ensuring they will never be forgotten. Funded by six Member Governments, our work began with building, and now maintaining, cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations all over the world. Today, over a century after we first began, our work continues through our staff, supporters and volunteers who preserve our unique cultural, horticultural and architectural heritage and ensure that the stories of those who died are told. www.cwgc.org