Royals lead VJ Day 70th anniversary ceremonies

The Queen, members of the royal family and the Prime Minister led events marking the 70th anniversary of VJ Day.

The nation commemorated the sacrifices of British Second World War forces who fought and died defeating Japan.

Security was tight amid reported terror threats to London events.

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'It made you more determined to see the thing through'

Second World War veterans gathered for VJ Day celebrations in London today. Among them was 95-year-old Douglas Blackwell who had fought against the Japanese in what was then Burma.

He spoke to ITV News:

Former child PoWs meet for the first time at VJ Day

Among those attending VJ Day celebration in London were survivors of Japanese Prisoner of War camps.

Two men who had been child prisoners at the Stanley Internment Camp in Hong Kong met for the first time, in a moment of excitement amid a day that was often somber.


Charles and Camilla meet VJ Day veterans

The Prince of Wales spoke to a veteran who served in the Far East Credit: PA

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have met war veterans at a lively reception as part of VJ Day celebrations.

More than 1,000 people attended the event, hosted by the Royal British Legion and held in the grounds of Westminster Abbey amid a day of remembrance events.

The 350 veterans, who were joined by David Cameron, were clapped and cheered as they arrived, with one of them joking: "Where's the beer tent?"

Veteran afraid to make friends for fear of losing them

World war two veteran Len Gibson, who spent three and a half years as a Japanese prisoner of war, said nobody thought they would survive longer than two or three weeks in the camp.

He was at the VJ Day service in Sunderland today 70 years on.

I lost most of my friends. I used to worry about making good friends because I would as soon lose them.

– Len Gibson, prisoner of war

Spitfire and Swordfish absent from VJ Day fly-past

A Hurricane jet followed by a Typhoon FGR4 seen as part of the VJ Day celebrations Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

Crowds watching the VJ Day celebrations in London were entertained by a fly-past of military aircraft, but technical issues meant only three of the five expected planes took part.

A Dakota, Hurricane and current RAF Typhoon fighter jet flew over the capital.

But the well-loved Spitfire and the Royal Navy's Swordfish, the world's oldest surviving bi-plane, were absent from the spectacle.

A spokeswoman from the ministry of defence said: "The Swordfish was unable to take part in today's Victory over Japan Day anniversary celebrations due to a last minute minor technical issue, which prevented the aircraft from flying."


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Chesterfield commemorates VJ Day

Former servicemen and women gathered in Chesterfield to commemorate the end of the Second World War and VJ Day.

Wreaths laid in Chesterfield to mark VJ Day Credit: ITV Yorkshire

It's 70 years since the Japanese surrender brought hostilities to a close. Wreaths were laid by ex-service organisations as well as cadet groups and those currently serving in the military.

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London cabbies waive fares for VJ Day veterans

Black cab drivers will drive veterans to the VJ Day ceremony Credit: PA

Taxi drivers will be providing free transport for veterans attending the VJ Day commemorations taking place in London today.

The cabbies are offering their services to the London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled - known as the Taxi Charity.

They will be driving the veterans to Horse Guards Parade for the ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory over Japan.

"I'm very excited as I didn't know if there was to be a celebration until recently.

People ask me about VE Day and what I was doing then. 'Still fighting,' is what I tell them, the next day we were attacked by Kamikazes and we lost 35 men on one ship."

– Danny McCrudden, Royal Navy veteran

"When we think what these men and women went through for us, it is the least I can do to give up a few hours of time this Saturday to support them."

– Dennis Hayes, Black cab driver
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