This Saturday morning, 15 August 2020, there will be a small ceremony in Market Place to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2.
After six years of devastating conflict involving nations worldwide that spoke more than forty different languages and practised numerous religions, WW2 effectively came to an end with the surrender of the armed forces of the Empire of Japan. On 15 August 1945 at noon Japan standard time, Emperor Hirohito announced surrender to the allied forces by accepting the Potsdam Declaration, a document jointly issued by China, the United States and Great Britain. Eighteen days after, on 2 September, the surrender documents were signed. The Allies agreed to name the surrender VJ Day to echo the VE Day, and the United Kingdom officially commemorate this day on 15 August.
75 years on, there are still deep scars left by the horrendous destructions and injustices of WW2. It also transformed people’s outlook, and the post-war world has effected major political and cultural changes in many countries. And in the UK, at peace, descendants of many of the veterans of the Commonwealth and the Allied Nations have formed multicultural communities and a lasting legacy of comradeship.
The Royal British Legion invites everyone to observe a two-minute silence at 11 am on 15 August 2020 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day and remember all the sacrifices made for the freedom and way of life we all enjoy. This will be the focal point of the commemorative service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire led by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Sadly, due to the restrictions in place to combat the pandemic, it will not be possible to conduct ceremonies truly befitting this incredibly significant occasion.
At this same time on Saturday 15 August, Henley-on-Thames & Peppard Branch of the Royal British Legion is holding a short ceremony to mark VJ Day in the Market Place in front of the H Café. This ceremony will be carried out while observing social distancing requirements. Members of the public who wish to observe are warmly welcome to do so at a safe distance.
Standards of The Dunkirk Veterans Association and Henley-on-Thames & Peppard Branch of the Royal British Legion will be on parade. Henley-on-Thames Town Hall will be flying the flag of the Royal British Legion. A bugler will sound the Last Post and the Reveille.
Henley RBL thank Henley Town Council officers and Harrods for facilitating this occasion.
Date: Saturday 15 August 2020
Venue: Henley-on-Thames Market Place in front of the H Café
- 10:45 am – Socially distanced assembly including the Henley RBL Committee and His Worship the Mayor Councillor Ken Arlett
- 10:50 am – Lt. Col. Peter Blaker, President of the Henley RBL, makes a brief announcement followed by reciting the Exhortation
- 10:55 am – Prayer by Fr. Jeremy Tayler of the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin
- 11:00 am – Two-minute silence following the sounding of the Last Post by a bugler
- 11:02 am – Bugler will play The Reveille
- 11:05 am – Lt. Col. Peter Blaker recites the Kohima Epitaph, concluding the ceremony