With the 75th anniversary of VJ Day (Victory over Japan) next week (Saturday 15 August), St Helens Borough Council is presenting a series of virtual projects to commemorate the occasion.
VJ Day marks the surrender of Japanese forces, which in effect ended the Second World War. For months after VE Day (Victory in Europe) on 8 May 1945 war continued to wage in the Asia-Pacific region and only came to an end after two atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Starting the series of events, St Helens Borough Council’s Archive Service will be premiering a special ‘From the Archives’ video on the St Helens Libraries Facebook page on Thursday 13 August, 2pm that will reveal some original documents held in the borough collections showing the local reaction to the end of World War II.
Then, Lawrence Powers of the Burma Star Association, who served in India and Malaysia during the Second World War, will share his memories of the war’s end. His video account of the time was originally captured as part of an oral history project by Wigan Armed Forces Centre, and has been shared with St Helens Borough for the occasion. A short clip of Lawrence’s story will be published on Friday 14August, 2pm on the council’s social media and in full on its YouTube channel.
And finally, the council’s Arts and Libraries Service wanted to commemorate the date by working with an artist to create a new reflective artwork.
Taking inspiration from news reports from the day 75 years ago, St Helens Borough artist Rebecca Ainsworth has created a new soundscape video artwork called Peace Has Once Again Come To The World.
The piece utilises the 1891 poem ‘I Many Times Thought Peace Had Come’ by Emily Elizabeth Dickinson which has been recorded by another St Helens Borough artist, Sophie Tickle.
Peace Has Once Again Come To The World has been created as part of the award-winning Cultural Hubs programme and is funded by Arts Council England and delivered by St Helens Council’s Library Service, which is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.
The video artwork will be premiered on St Helens Borough Council’s YouTube and social media channels at 11am on Saturday 15 August.
Councillor Sue Murphy, St Helens Borough’s Cabinet Member for Developing Young People and Armed Forces Champion, said:
“75 years on we remember the contribution of all British, Commonwealth and Allied Forces, without whom victory and the freedoms and way of life we enjoy today would have not been possible.
“We can’t wait to share these insightful and thought-provoking videos with residents, and hope that you’re able to find some small time this week to reflect on the sacrifices that were made in war.”
To catch all of the video premieres this week, follow St Helens Borough Council on Twitter and Facebook @sthelenscouncil, and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/sthelenscouncil.
Civilians and service personnel in London celebrating V-J Day on August 15, 1945.
By Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer – http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//45/media-45159/large.jpg This is photograph D 25636 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24346748