On the 15th August 2020 it will be the 75th anniversary of VJ Day – Victory in Japan.
A special service of remembrance in partnership with The Royal British Legion will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum, and veterans and their families are invited to attend. Please visit the NMA website for more details.
From the NMA website:
In 2020, in partnership with The Royal British Legion, we will be asking the Nation to remember the impact that leaving, missing and returning home has on service men and women & their loved ones – then and now.
Whilst we may not be able to deliver our original programme of activity around this special date, we are working with the Royal British Legion, the Ministry of Defence and the BBC to produce a live broadcast from the Arboretum.
The best place to see the programme is from your home, however, a limited number of spaces to visit the Arboretum to watch proceedings on a large screen in the Naval Review will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from 30 July.
Veterans and those with family connections, are encouraged to register with The Royal British Legion here. We ask, where possible, that priority is given to veterans and family when watching proceedings on the Naval Review also.
Please note the FEPOW Memorial Building and Far East Area of the Arboretum will be inaccessible to the public from 9am Friday 14 August to 3pm Saturday 15 August.
This video is part 1 of a 3 hour DVD by Royal Naval historian Roland R Smith. From around 40 mins in there is terrific footage of HMS Wager as she approaches the camera ship on fleet business, and noses the carrier’s stern.
Footage showing Corsairs and Avengers (with some intercut footage of Fireflies from other carriers) from HMS Illustrious operating as part of the British Pacific Fleet off Sakishima Gunto in 1945. HMS Illustrious’ aircraft can be recognised by the ‘Q’ on their tails.
While HMS Wager and the 27th Destroyer Flotilla were not awarded the Battle Honour NORMANDY 1944 the destroyer, with many other units of the Home Fleet, were at sea in home waters. The Home Fleet was required to be available to intercept any enemy ship interference during the allied landings in Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE).
Some 6,000 ships, from battleships to landing craft and fast patrol boats were involved on D Day, landing some 130,000 troops on the five beaches.
That maritime losses on that day, and in the ensuing weeks, were relatively light is, of course, in part owing to the outer screen provided tens and hundreds of miles away from the Normandy coast.
Let’s remember them today.
In July, HMS Wager sailed for the Far East to play a part in the war with Japan. She was at Gibraltar by early August.
The strange drinking hours Down Under in 1945 are recorded here (search for ‘Fleet Canteen’) – I remember Dad (Able Seaman (LTO) Wally May) saying that, not only was Sydney on the upside down part of the earth but the bars closed when ours opened and it was the first time he’d seen upside down (drop) handlebars on a bicycle.
So it was all upside down!
The caption reads: BEARDED RATINGS of the Royal Navy enjoying their pots of beer at the Naafi Fleet canteen in Goulburn street, Sydney, on its opening night on Saturday. Under supervision of the Naval patrol, sailors will be able to drink between 6pm and 9pm seven nights a week. British sailors who visited the canteen at the weekend voted it first class.
The man on the left is AB (LTO) Walter May and a one-badge Leading Seaman, presumably also from HMS Wager, is on the right.