WREATHS will be laid at Sunderland War Memorial in Burdon Road and prayers said to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war with Japan.
Deputy Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Alan Emerson is leading the commemoration to be held at 11am on Saturday 15 August. The Mayor’s Chaplain Father Oliver Keyes will also be present to offer a prayer.
Cllr Emerson will join former Far East prisoner of war Len Gibson in laying a wreath. Len was a member of the 125 Anti-tank Regiment that was captured at the fall of Singapore and used as slave labour on the Burma Death Railway.
Mr Gibson and survivors of the railway were granted the Freedom of the city in 2010.
A further wreath of poppies will be laid by Deputy Lieutenant for Tyne & Wear Dr Norman Taylor MBE, DL
Cllr Emerson said: “Today we commemorate the events of 70 years ago. It is hard now to imaging the hardship, danger and despair that the war in the far east caused. For many months after the celebration of victory in Europe, Britain and its allies continued to engage with Japanese forces in the most hostile of jungle conditions. If taken prisoner the threat of cruelty, injury and death was ever-present as many thousands of soldiers and civilians found to their cost.
“I am grateful for the honour of taking part in this ceremony and encourage everyone to join in and show their respect for true heroes past and present.”
National V-J Day is celebrated annually across the country each year on August 14 to August 15. The official announcement of Japan’s surrender to the Allies during World War II was made at this time in 1945, and because of the time zone difference, both dates apply. On September 2, 1945, the signing of the surrender document occurred, which was the official ending of World War II.
The formal signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender took place on board of the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. At that time President Truman declared September 2 to be the official V-J Day however, over the years, many citizens of the United States have celebrated August 14 as the official V-J date.