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Queen and Duke lead nation on VJ Day 70th anniversary

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh joined Second World War veterans and others to mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day and pay tributes to the thousands of Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen who sacrificed their lives in the conflict.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh led a series of events marking VJ Day Credit: Reuters

A series of events marked the day Japan surrendered and the war was brought to and end.

Prime Minister David Cameron joined the royal couple for a service at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in central London's Trafalgar Square.

Guards parade past a statue of Lord Louis Mountbatten in Horse Guards Parade Credit: PA
Her Majesty was welcomed at St Martin-in-the-Fields ahead of the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Credit: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
The royal arrival came as around 50 veterans were due to attend the keynote events in the capital. Credit: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Dr Sam Wells, vicar of St Martin-in-the-fields, led the service in tribute to those who lost their lives in defeating Japan to end the Second World War.

We are gathered together in the presence of Almighty God to remember, with gratitude, those who gave their lives for the cause which we have believed to be right, and especially to remember our comrades who, in prison camps, or in the seas of the Far East, made the supreme sacrifice, and also to remember those who have died, since their return, as a result of their suffering. That their sacrifice be not in vain, we meet to dedicate ourselves anew to his service, and to ask his guidance in all that lies ahead of us.

– Dr Sam Wells
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh smiled on arrival at the special service. Credit: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

The church service featured various hymns and readings, including passages such as We Will Remember Them and The Kohima Epitaph, before ending with the national anthem.

A wreath was dedicated at the altar in memory of those who died in the fight against the Japanese and as a result of captivity in prison camps in the Far East.

Outside the church, security was tight around the church in Trafalgar Square.

The Prime Minister also attended the service at the church ahead of a wreath-laying service, parade and reception at Westminster Abbey. Credit: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Hundreds of veterans gathered on Horse Guards Parade for a Drumhead commemoration, which was attended by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prime Minister Cameron.

Royal Marine buglers and percussionists from Portsmouth piled up their drums to form a ceremonial altar at the centre of the parade, replicating the practice used by troops on the front line.

Royal Marine buglers and percussionists piled their drums to form a ceremonial altar at the centre of the parade Credit: Reuters
The Prince of Wales laid a wreath during the Drumhead Service Credit: Reuters
David Cameron and Royal British Legion chairman John Giddings also laid wreaths Credit: Reuters

Charles, Mr Cameron and Royal British Legion chairman John Giddings laid wreaths by the Drumhead, while Camilla watched from the royal box.

Crowds applauded as a Dakota, Hurricane and a current RAF Typhoon fighter in a fly-past, though only three of the expected five planes took part.

Actor Charles Dance read Rudyard Kipling's Mandalay, a favourite marching tune for many in the 14th Army in Burma, and a well known verse for the families of veterans and many school children.

Actor Charles Dance read Mandalay by Rudyard Kipling as part of the commemoration events Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Cameron said thousands of people had died and many others "suffered appalling injuries and torture" during the conflict to "preserve our freedoms".

I feel my generation hasn't had to suffer anything like what these incredibly brave people went through.

It is completely humbling to think how these people suffered, to think how many people died, to think how brave they were and what they went through for our freedoms in this titanic struggle, it is truly humbling.

– Prime Minsiter David Cameron

The royals and the prime minister spent time speaking to veterans, listening to their experiences during the war.

Robert Hucklesby was among the war veterans introduced to the Queen at the service of commemoration. Credit: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales met veterans at a Royal British Legion reception at College Gardens, Westminster Abbey Credit: Eamonn M. McCormack/PA Wire
Mr Cameron greeted veterans as he left St Martin's in the Fields church Credit: Reuters
David Cameron enjoyed his exchange with veterans outside St Martin-in-the-Fields. Credit: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

And while security surrounding the ceremonies was tight, the Metropolitan Police encouraged people to attend the VJ Day events.

Security was tight amid the commemoration events Credit: Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Police were seen on the rooftop of the church as the dignitaries arrived for the commemoration service. Credit: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

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