Looking back at VJ Day 50

Looking back 25 years to the national remembrance of VJ Day in 1995.

Looking back at VJ Day 50

Looking back 25 years to the national remembrance of VJ Day in 1995.

Over the past 75 years since Victory over Japan was declared and the Second World War ended, SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity has supported the wartime generation.

In 1995 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of VJ Day, SSAFA founded Tribute and Promise, which they launched in partnership with more than 100 other charities, benevolent funds and organisations. Tribute and Promise was a formal pledge, read out in front of  HRH Queen Elizabeth II and world leaders at Buckingham Palace, to vigorously continue to support the wartime generation, all the wartime generation from Blitz survivors to those who had been held as Prisoners of War in the Far East.

To mark the 50th anniversary of VJ Day and to place Tribute and Promise firmly into the nation’s minds a Tribute and Promise parade was held on the Mall. 25 years on, such public mass acts of commemoration are not possible for the 75th anniversary due to the COVID-19 crisis, but the Promise still stands.

We promise to do everything possible to help where there is need, and to ensure that they may enjoy the years that lie ahead in comfort, dignity and contentment.

- Tribute and Promise Pledge

 

To remember VJ Day 50, and the promise SSAFA and others made, we have brought together four interesting articles from 1995, including many stories from Veterans of the war in the Pacific theatre.


VJ Day 50 excerpt from SSAFA News

In 1995 on the 50th anniversary of VJ Day, SSAFA was involved in the national celebrations and commemorations for victory. SSAFA News reports on the moment 5,000 Burma Star veterans joined the Tribute and Promise veterans parade down the Mall on VJ Day 50. Amongst the stories featured is that of Russell Weight who found himself a prisoner of war and working on the infamous Burma Railway, which claimed the lives of an estimated 12,000 POWs during its construction.

 

SSAFA Volunteer shares his memories of his war in Burma

Ian Ronald served in Burma and was in Singapore on the day of Japanese surrender. Ian would go to be a Divisional Secretary for SSAFA’s Hart Branch. In 1995, on the 50th anniversary of VE and VJ Day, he shared his memories of the Second World War and his time in the Far East with SSAFA News.

 

Reflections on life after being held as a Japanese Prisoner of War

In 1995, the then SSAFA Vice-Chairman Philip Dixon and the then-Controller Major General Charles Grey reflect on the physical and mental impact being a POW in the Far East had on survivors, citing studies from the time which found nearly half of those surveyed had mental health issues at pensionable age.

 

A note from our old chairman on VJ Day 50

For the Autumn edition of SSAFA News in 1995, SSAFA’s then Chairman Vice Admiral Sir Barry Wilson reflected on the activities across the nation for the 50th anniversary of VJ Day, and the official making of the Promise to the wartime generation.