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Service marks VJ Day anniversary

The bravery, dedication and sacrifices of those who fought for their country to help bring an end to the Second World War have been remembered.

Prime Minister David Cameron, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall joined representatives of the three military Services and veterans of the conflict to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day).

The elderly servicemen, many wearing their campaign medals, came together in the sunshine in Whitehall to reunite with long-lost comrades and acknowledge the thousands who did not make it back.

The service at the Cenotaph remembered the efforts of hundreds of thousands of veterans operating in the harshest of conditions, and paid tribute to nearly 30,000 British losses suffered during the Far East campaign, some 12,500 of whom died while prisoners of war.

Men and women from all over the British Empire and Commonwealth made a vital contribution to the Allied victory over Japan.

Members of the public lined barriers either side of the Cenotaph to pay their respects.

The half-hour service was organised by the Ministry of Defence with the Burma Star Association. It began with prayers, followed by the Last Post, then veterans and dignitaries bowed their heads for a minute's silence.

A series of wreaths were laid at the base of the Cenotaph by Prince Charles, Mr Cameron, representatives of the Armed Forces and veterans from Second World War Associations. The wreath laying was followed by selected readings, hymns, prayers and a blessing.

After the National Anthem, veterans and Standards of the Second World War Associations marched past the Cenotaph to warm applause from the crowds.

Among the many veterans attending was RAF serviceman Peter Proctor, 88, from Southport, Merseyside, who saw service in Africa and India, before joining 11 Squadron in Burma. Commenting on the service, he said: "I think it's very important to keep the memory alive. They were the Forgotten Army. When the war ended in Europe there were great celebrations, people were saying the war is over, but it was still going on in the Far East."

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