75 years has passed since the Japanese surrendered and World War II finally ended. Today we acknowledge the crucial part those soldiers in the Far East played in winning us the freedoms we enjoy today.
2020 marks the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan, or VJ, Day. On 15 August 1945, Imperial Japan surrendered, effectively bringing the conflict to an end. To commemorate this significant year in the legacy of the Second World War, we have explored our collections and the stories behind some of the artefacts that relate to war with Japan.
The International Churchill society recognises the Chelsea Pensioner veterans of World War II and the leadership of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
As we remember those who lost their lives in the line of duty, some of our Chelsea Pensioners, who served in World War II, share their own thoughts and memories of wartime losses.
Alan Rutter has completed his epic Western Front walk. He’s lost a stone, gained new friends and has memories he’ll cherish forever. He’s also helped to raise a magnificent £3,400 for the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
93 year old Bill Fitzgerald is one of our incredible WW2 veterans. Here he talks us through his fascinating life story, from growing up in London during the Blitz, to participating in the historic D-Day landings, and then later making the decision to live at the Royal Hospital Chelsea as a Chelsea Pensioner.
Alan joined the army as a boy soldier aged just 14 years of age. Initially based in Cardiff; Alan moved to Belfast where he quickly established himself as a personal fitness instructor. In July 1944, having become old enough to join the regular Army, he transferred to the Army Air Corps as a paratrooper and went on to fight during the height of WWII - deep behind enemy lines in Germany.
In 1945, when an 18 year old Helen Andrews was told by the Army – “don’t tell a soul where you’ve been” – she followed their orders to the letter. It wasn’t until 70 years later, that Helen was finally happy to share the story about her involvement in the Second World War, her time at Bletchley Park, codebreaking and the Enigma machine.
Chelsea Pensioner Jim Little completed a stomach-churning ride in a TR9 Spitfire, originally built in 1944, in memory of his brother who was an RAF spitfire pilot in the latter stages of the Second World War. Jim's brother was only 17 years of age when he joined up in 1941.