Cheshire West commemorates Victory in Japan with a two minute's silence at 11am on 15 August. VJ Day marks both the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War.
To mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, on 15 August Chester Town Hall will once again be lit red, white and blue and decorated with union flags. There will be a two minutes' silence led by the Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Mark Williams, at 11am and it is hoped that wherever you are on Saturday at 11am, you are able to take time to participate in the silence.
The day will start at 6am with a lone piper playing, joining the Lord Mayor of Chester to play the Battle's O'er from Chester Cathedral. The event will be streamed live on the Lord Mayor's Facebook page and re-tweeted onto the Council's social media accounts at 9am.
The Lord Mayor of Chester, Lord Lieutenant, local dignitaries, military colleagues and local people have come together to record a virtual civic service that will be shared at 10am on the Council and the Lord Mayor's social media accounts. Participants will reflect on the significance of the ending of the Second World War and the historic pen linking Chester to the signing of the Instrument of Surrender. Please join us in watching and sharing the short video This will be circulated to you all towards the end of the week
The Chester Military Museum holds one of the pens used at the Japanese surrender. On 2 September 1945, in a formal ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan, representatives of the Japanese government signed the Instrument of Surrender, officially ending World War II. General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in the Southwest Pacific, signed for the United States and accepted the surrender in his capacity as the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.
The pen was gifted by General MacArthur to Lt General Arthur Percival, a former forces commander. Lt General Percival was in charge of forces in Malaysia and was held in a Japanese prisoner of war camp after it fell to the Japanese in 1942. After Japan's surrender, MacArthur secured Percival's release and brought him on board the USS Missouri to witness the Japanese signing the surrender. MacArthur then presented the pen to Percival. He, in turn, donated it to the Cheshire Regiment before his death in 1966.
Due to the current Pandemic and social distancing guidance, attendance at the civic service on 15 August has been limited to thirty invited guests. However, the civic service will be broadcast live via the links below on Saturday 15 August from 10.30am. The service can be watched live or at your own leisure on the following YouTube accounts (no accounts or pre-step up is required).
Following the short service on Saturday, the Act of Remembrance and wreath laying will take place in the Cathedral Memorial Gardens at 10.55am and The Last Post played followed by the two minute's silence at 11am. The two-minute silence will be ended with the playing of Reveille. These events will also be streamed live on the Council's YouTube account and the Facebook accounts of the Lord Mayor of Chester and Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Mark Williams said: "Once again our plans have been changed due to Coronavirus but the Internet will provide the means to share our commemoration services. Please join me virtually to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.
"We will remember the contribution of all Commonwealth and Allied Forces, without whom victory and the freedoms and the way of life we enjoy today would not have been possible. We will also remember those who sadly lost their lives as a result of the war".
Councillor Bob Rudd, Chairman of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said "Whilst we must remember and commemorate those who were gravely wounded or died during years of war, the 75th Anniversary of victory in Japan is also an opportunity to celebrate the peace that came to us all at the end of WW II. Veterans and families involved with the battles in Asia have always felt they were the 'forgotten army' so here in Cheshire West we have arranged for a virtual and a Hybrid civic service to take place, so they are not and will never be forgotten.
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