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Author Topic: VJ Day  (Read 6046 times)

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Offline Dave Smith

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2015, 20:46:04 »
I've just remembered, we - the 43rd Medway Scout Troop - were part of a Victory parade in Chatham celebrating V.in E. It would have been on the Sunday & I have a whole plate photo' taken by the R.C.& G.News & bought from them. Almost certainly Brook Street with saluting base outside the Town Hall.

Offline peterchall

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2015, 11:38:01 »
Thanks also from me for the detailed description of the alternative to using the bomb, Bilgerat. On top of that, wasn’t it the intention of the Japanese to kill all POWs as soon as a landing was made on the territory where they were held?

We didn’t know the details at the time, of course, but just had a sense of relief that we would not have to endure a long and bloody war, and I’m sure nobody thought those bombs should not have been used, or didn’t feel a sense of justice done over the way the Japanese treated anyone, soldier or civilian, who came under their control.

The bombs dropped on Japan were called ‘atom bombs’ at the time and I think the name has stuck to mean the type in which the nucleus of a heavy atom is split to form lighter atoms – nuclear fission. It distinguishes them from the later weapons using the different technique of combining the nuclei of lighter atoms to form heavier ones – nuclear fusion (The hydrogen bomb or h-bomb).

My abiding memory of VE-Day is of the crowds in Rochester High Street, but I think that is because 8th May 1945 had been designated a national holiday in advance, whereas the announcement that Japan had agreed to surrender came out-of-the blue on 15th August 1945.
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Offline smiler

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2015, 09:52:19 »
Thanks Bilgerat very interesting. I have joked many times over the years the latest being my neighbours overgrown garden, about being a Japanese soldier hiding in there but as the years go by fewer people get the joke.  :)

Offline Bilgerat

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2015, 18:36:02 »
Hiroshima was targeted for a nuclear strike for a number of reasons:

1) It is a port city.
2) It was undamaged by the air campaign to date. The reason for this was that because the city had no facilities linked to the production of aircraft, it had not been a priority target.
3) It was a major communications centre.
4) It was the HQ of the forces tasked with the defence of southern Japan - totalling some 400,000 men.

The thing that gets me about all this is the quaint way the media still refer to the Bombs as being 'Atomic Bombs', but refer to their modern equivalents as being 'Nuclear Weapons'. Lets not muck around with the language here. They were nuclear weapons every bit as much as the modern ones. OK, maybe not as big or as powerful, but still nuclear weapons just the same.

Let's also clear up something else. If it hadn't have been for the nuclear strikes on these two cities, the war would have gone on into 1947 if not longer. The American plan for the invasion of Japan, codenamed 'Operation Downfall' would have seen the home islands invaded one at a time. The United States initially intended to provide ALL the ground troops and ALL the heavy air support. Reinforcements might have come from British and Commonwealth forces, but certainly the initial planning was to only use US ground forces. The British and Commonwealth nations were asked to provide naval support only, although the RAF, the RAAF, the RNZAF and the RCAF were later asked to provide 10 squadrons of heavy bombers. One British squadron definitely earmarked for Operation Downfall was 617 Sqn, the Dambusters, the only unit which could deploy the massive 'Grand Slam' bomb.

Operation Downfall was divided into two sub-operations, codenamed Coronet and Olympic. They would have seen the gathering of a naval armada which would have dwarfed that of Operation Overlord. There would have been 42 aircraft carriers, 24 battleships and over 400 destroyers, plus thousands of landing ships and amphibious assault vessels of all shapes and sizes. Using Okinawa as a staging post, this force would have literally fallen on the southern third of the southern island of Kyushu. Codenamed 'X Day', Operation Olympic was scheduled to start on 1st November 1945 and would have involved an initial landing of 14 US Army Divisions (compared to the total of 12 divisions in the initial assault of Operation Overlord).

Operation Coronet was even bigger and involved the invasion of the biggest island, Honshu, around the Tokyo Bay area. This would have involved 25 divisions in the initial assault. Operation Coronet was scheduled to start on 'Y Day', 1st March 1946.

Because of the expected fanatical opposition of both the military and civilian populations, US military planners expected the numbers of casualties on both sides to run into the millions.

In order to give adequate air support, the US 8th Air Force was to be redeployed from Europe to Okinawa, swapping it's B17 Flying Fortresses and B24 Liberators for B29 Superfortresses on the way. US Army units in Europe would also have been redeployed for Operation Downfall.

My own opinion is that on balance, President Truman made the right decision to use nuclear weapons given the alternative. The Japanese might not have surrendered had they not fallen for Truman's bluff about raining these weapons down on Japan, whereas in fact, only three such weapons had been built up to that point and one of those was expended in the Trinity test earlier in 1945.
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Offline Dave Smith

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2015, 11:55:21 »
Peterchall. I don't remember parties on V.E. Day either but I was 15 so of little interest. Yes, I know the war didn't actually end on the day we celebrated it, however!  I believe a Jap. soldier was finally coaxed out of the jungle somewhere, about 20 years later!  Re the Atom bombs, I never could see why Hiroshima, although Nagasaki was a definite military target with all the shipyards there. Horrific destruction but when we got the pictures, they were interlaced with those of ( bag of bones) Allied P.O.W's & terrible tales of torture, etc., which made us somewhat blase- they WERE Japanese who were bombed & deserved it! As so often in war, civilians are the greatest losers e.g. London & Coventry & Cologne & Hamburg. Probably more Japanese civilians would have died in the long run if there hadn't been The Bomb & the Japanese had kept on fighting like the Emperor dictated "to the last man"!

Offline peterchall

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2015, 11:03:11 »
To Dave Smith – sorry, I should have tacked my opening post on to your thread. My excuse is that VJ-Day was not the end of the war.

I read yesterday that after the surrender announcement a Fleet Air Arm fighter was shot down over Tokyo and its pilot baled out, but was executed on the spot by his captors – probably the last British combat casualty of WW2. There are several accounts of allied POWs being murdered between VJ-Day and the day of the signing of the Article of Surrender – 2nd September 1945. The delay was probably due to factions of the Japanese Government and armed forces opposing surrender. 2nd September is the day the USA holds as VJ-Day, and by that reckoning the war lasted exactly 6 years to the day for Britain.

Apart from the relief that the atom bombs brought an unexpected end to the war I think that, as in any confrontation, a bit of ‘own back’ was welcome. But 70 years later I wonder if a demonstration of what the atom bomb could do to a sparsely occupied part of Japan, instead of the destruction of two cities, would have sufficed.

Back to the reason for this thread. I have just discovered – or been reminded – that VE-Day was a national holiday but VJ-Day was not. Hence the spontaneous ‘parties’ in the streets on VE-Day. But I still don’t remember any organised street parties on or just after either day. Perhaps as a 16 year old ‘working man’ I wasn’t eligible to attend.
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Offline Bryn Clinch

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2015, 06:54:48 »
Bryn , :)
I said Rock Rd., I think It could have been Burley Rd,, Unity St., William St., Ufton lane or Epps Rd. It was somewhere in that area.
I thought it might have been Rock Rd., as my god parents had lived there before the war and they took mum and me to the party.

I knew all these roads very well and still live close by, but I just cannot remember the street parties.
Who were your Godparents, granderog? I may have known them.

Offline Robin

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2015, 23:10:11 »
I was 6 years old at the time, remember that we had a big party on the playing field next to the village pub.  As others have said, things were tight at the time, so there was no chance to have a slap up party, but we managed.  I still have the large Union Jack that my parents hung out of the upstairs window.

Robin.
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Offline grandarog

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2015, 21:01:42 »
Bryn , :)
I said Rock Rd., I think It could have been Burley Rd,, Unity St., William St., Ufton lane or Epps Rd. It was somewhere in that area.
I thought it might have been Rock Rd., as my god parents had lived there before the war and they took mum and me to the party.

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2015, 20:31:32 »
peterchall. See mine under "celebrations"- as the war was over! By that time in the war (I was born 1930) we had got completely used to austerity; food, clothes, etc. so, apart from feeling a sigh of relief that there weren't going to be thousands more killed in the Far East, life went on "as usual". Hopeful, of course, that the austerity was going to get better; which it did eventually but took a helluver long time! I think sweets were the last thing to come off ration - about 1955/6?  I know meat was still rationed (1s/9d worth I think) when I got married in 1953, and tinned fruit, etc. was still  "on points" and I think clothes were still "on coupons". I was lucky as far as food was concerned in '45/46, for we had quite a good canteen at Shorts (apprentices paid 6d for main + dessert!). And I joined the RAF as an apprentice at Halton in Jan.,1947- as Shorts were moving to Belfast- so clothed & fed!? (some of it pretty awful as they were using up all the old wartime stock- tinned spuds were the worst) by the RAF. During the war, Mothers were pretty good at " making do & mending". e.g. I needed a swimming costume & Ma made me one out of my old Cubs pullover; a bit itchy but "beggars can't be choosers!". I seem to remember buying a couple of sports shirts from Millets? in Chatham (purportedly ex Govt. stock) for cycling in '47/48, which were not on clothing coupons.

Offline Bryn Clinch

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2015, 11:32:10 »
I was in a classroom at Ufton Lane School when a teacher burst in and shouted "the war`s over". We all knew it was imminent and we were all armed with whistles, etc. and kicked up a terrible racket. Although I remember that clearly, I have no recollection of a street party in Rock Road, where I lived, yet I recall a big firework display in the playground of Ufton Lane school.

   

Offline grandarog

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2015, 09:00:21 »
Like Peterchall,I remember VE day and the street parties later on but have no memory of the Atom Bomb or any celebrations for VJ day. Although as I remember several parties One in Rock Road Sittingbourne I think.Also definitely a big one by the War Memorial and tables all along the road at Headcorn.

Offline mmitch

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2015, 08:28:20 »
I was only 6 weeks old so don't remember it! But I went to the street party.  :)
mmitch.

Offline Nemo

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Re: VJ Day
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2015, 17:35:32 »
My father was in India in the Glider Pilot Regiment. Got back in 1946 so I'm told via Palestine, which was just kicking-off. Nice de-mob suit though!

Offline peterchall

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VJ Day
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2015, 10:58:28 »
Today is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2, when Japan’s surrender was announced.

While I remember VE-Day, I have not the slightest memory of VJ-Day, a Wednesday.

What I do remember is the announcement of the dropping of the atom bombs a week or so earlier, and thinking they were about the size of a golf ball. At the time there was a sense of relief that the months/years of expected fighting was not going to happen.

What memories do other 70+ year old KHF members have of that day, and of the times generally?
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

 

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