Queen to defy VJ Day terror threat

The Queen will lead the VJ Day celebrations in London on Saturday
The Queen will lead the VJ Day celebrations in London on Saturday

The Queen will mark the 70th anniversary of VJ Day this weekend commemorating the sacrifices of British Second World War forces who fought and died defeating Japan.

She will lead the nation along with other members of the Royal family and Prime Minister David Cameron in a series of events on Saurday marking VJ Day – Victory over Japan – which are expected to be watched by thousands of people.

Veteran Bob Wright will be at Belfast's VJ Day commemoration service at the Northern Ireland War Memorial on Friday

Veteran Bob Wright will be at Belfast's VJ Day commemoration service at the Northern Ireland War Memorial on Friday

In Belfast on Friday morning, the Northern Ireland War Memorial is hosting an event to remember the conflict.

Staged at the Talbot Street headquarters, members of the public, press and those belonging to veterans organisations will begin gathering from 11.30am onwards before a two-minute silence is held.

Among the attendees will be 92-year-old Army veteran Bob Wright, who saw action against Japanese forces.

Although there have been media reports that extremists aim to explode a bomb in central London during the commemorations on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police is urging the public to continue attending commemorative events.

A former head of Royal security has said the fears should be played down, adding that the Royal family has “a very determined attitude”.

Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on the reported threat, with a spokeswoman saying they did not comment on security matters.

Proceedings will begin with a service attended by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, the Prime Minister, veterans, and former prisoners of war at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church.

Later, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be joined by veterans and their families for an event at Horse Guards Parade, featuring a fly-past of historic aircraft and a wreath-laying ceremony.

A highlight of that event will be actor Charles Dance reading the poem The Road To Mandalay by Rudyard Kipling.

The poem was famously set to music and was a favourite marching tune for many in the 14th Army in Burma, commanded by Field Marshal Lord Slim during the campaign.

The event will begin with a fly-past of four historic aircraft, a Spitfire, Dakota and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and a Royal Navy Swordfish, together with a current RAF Typhoon fighter jet.

Afterwards, veterans, civilian internees, their descendants and families along with serving members of the Armed Forces, will move down Whitehall and through Parliament Square to Westminster Abbey – passing the statue of Field Marshal Slim - in a special 70th anniversary parade.

Along the route they will be supported by military bands, and the final part will be lined by serving military.

A reception will then take place in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, hosted by the Royal British Legion.

After Victory in Europe (VE) Day on May 8 1945 the Japanese finally surrendered on August 14 following the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet declaration of war and invasion of Manchuria.

The next day, Wednesday August 15, was celebrated as Victory over Japan (VJ) Day and the nation formally surrendered on September 2 1945 at a ceremony in Tokyo Bay aboard USS Missouri.

In relation to the reports of terror threats, former head of Scotland Yard’s royal protection squad, Dai Davies, said he had confidence in the ability of police, security and military that all appropriate measures would be in place.

Asked what he thought the royal family will make of the reported threats, he said they had “a very determined attitude”.

He added: “I do think we should play down the fears.”