Tony Lloyd MP pays tribute to the British and Commonwealth troops that demonstrated unprecedented bravery and sacrifice in what is widely regarded as one of the war’s harshest theatres.
Tony Lloyd said, “Three quarters of a century after Victory over Japan, we continue to enjoy the hard fought freedoms secured by the brave men and women in the Pacific theatre.
“My half-brother fought in that campaign, and I’ve also been privileged to know people who served there. Some are now no longer with us, but 99-year-old Albert Jones still recalls his time in the prisoner of war camp.
“The main message of today is that for many who served in the Japanese campaign, they did feel forgotten for many years, and 75-years on, we do remember them.
“For those who are now gone we recognise their service, and for those who are still with us, we thank them for that service.
“Harsh conditions, heavy casualties and some of the worst atrocities recorded enhance the need for us all to take a moment to pay the tribute to their efforts.”
While figures are disputed, leading historians suggest that British and Commonwealth forces incurred heavy losses of life with 235,000 casualties, including approximately 82,000 killed. Figures also suggest that British Prisoners of War in Japan had just a 25-27% chance of survival.
British and Commonwealth forces fighting in the Pacific were among the most diverse and multi-cultural. Troops from India, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal all fought together.
The Labour Party has a long lineage of commemorating VJ Day, when Prime Minister Clement Attlee first called for two days of national holiday to pay tribute to the efforts in the Pacific.