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 Royal Hospital was honoured to receive a visit from Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall last week. Her Royal Highness was originally due to visit on Founder's Day as the Reviewing Officer, but was not able to attend due to Coronavirus restrictions.

On Tuesday 23rd June, Chelsea Pensioners – at a distance – were treated to the sunshine and spectacle of the King’s Royal Hussars on parade at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Pensioner William Fraser BEM is taking lockdown in his stride and enjoying a relaxed routine – although he misses a drink in the Club with his friends.

On a day when the Chelsea Pensioners would traditionally be on parade with over 1,000 service men and women in Salisbury to celebrate Armed Forces Day, this year has seen a very different celebration of this important event.

Celebrated singer, Peter Straker, Friend to Freddie Mercury, David Bowie -and the Chelsea Pensioners records The White Cliffs of Dover to raise funds for the Royal Hospital.

 

Colin was 20 years old when he was deployed –the youngest in the observation post Party he served in. He still suffers from the frostbite he got while cut off by the Chinese.

Gerry Farmer, 1951 Royal Fusiliers, lost his friend Cpl Derby in the conflict. He was left with shrapnel in his spine and lifelong claustrophobia, after being trapped in a Jeep at the bottom of a river while trying to escape Chinese mortars.

Arthur Bisson, Royal Military Police, was demobbed in 1947, then called up again to go to Korea in 1950. He served there for eight months in total.

Alfred Mason, Durham Light Infantry (28 Commonwealth Brigade) remembers the conditions they were faced with during the conflict.

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Ranelagh Gardens & Rotunda
From prehistoric marsh to a college that never opened – uncovering the story of our site

The Royal Hospital dates back to the late 17th century, but the story of the land where it stands has been traced back still further. Research from the Museum of London Archaeology has thrown light on the site’s varied past.

Salisbury Court Gardens - Royal Hospital Chelsea
Royal Hospital's Hidden Show Garden

This year a new garden was successfully installed in Salisbury Court, the private courtyard within the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary.

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