Bruce McIntosh, 94, was being trained as an officer in India when Japan surrendered, and still remembers when he heard the news.
“We reacted with total disbelief,” he says. “The Japanese were a formidable [impressive, frightening] enemy. There were seven million of them between us and Japan, and I was due to fight against them. It was just total euphoria [joy] that the war was actually over. In one moment my life span went up from nine months to 60 or 70 years. I was sure
I would have been killed somewhere like Singapore. The thought of being able to get back home and see family was just incredible. I remember bowing my head and saying a silent prayer of thanks.”
Joseph Hammond was one of the many African men who helped to win the war. He joined the 14th Army aged just 18.
“On the 75th anniversary of VJ Day
I will be remembering all my comrades who fought with me in the Far East,” he says. “Many of us were away from home for several years not knowing what was happening elsewhere in the war and hearing little or nothing from our families. On VJ Day I will be thinking of those who made it home and those who didn’t.”
The Royal British Legion’s Bob Gamble OBE said: “As we mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day we are inviting the public to take this opportunity to honour the contributions of all who served and sacrificed in the Far East. We recognise the enormous bravery of the Tri-Service [Army, Navy and RAF] personnel
Bruce (second from right) during the war who came from across Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and Australasia to form one of the most multicultural forces in history, many of whom faced some of the harshest conditions of the Second World War. Those serving with the British Forces in the Far East came from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and much of the UK’s modern-day multiculturalism can be traced back to this period of history.”
To learn more, take a look at the Royal British Legion’s 75th anniversary pages at
It includes an interactive map that shows where in the world the members of the 14th Army came from.