Victory in the Pacific

The 15th August, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific Day.

Victory in the Pacific Day marks Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allies after more than 3 years of war. On VP Day, we reflect on the important role that Australians played to end the war in the Pacific region.

Australians are most well known for their engagements with Japan in the Pacific in the Papua New Guinea campaigns of 1942: Kokoda and Milne Bay.

However, Australians also supported the Allied cause in the Pacific towards the latter half of the Second World War. In total, six Australian divisions, supported by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), were in action against the Japanese from 1942 to 1945 throughout the Pacific region, including in Singapore, Borneo, Malaya, Papua, New Guinea and New Britain.

While Victory in Europe was declared in May 1945, fighting in the Pacific region continued until August 1945.

Due to the location of the international date line, Japan's surrender actually occurred on August 14 in the Americas and Europe. The formal surrender didn't take place until September 2, 1945. On this day, Japanese envoys boarded the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay and formally signed the surrender document. Half an hour later, 42 US ships entered Tokyo Bay, with 13,000 American troops landing on Japanese soil.

Casualties

  • More than 39,000 Australians died during the Second World War.
  • More than 17,000 Australians lost their lives in the war against Japan.

Some key battles across the Pacific

  • Kokoda (1942)
  • Milne Bay (1942)
  • Battle of Wau (1943)
  • Battle of the Bismarck Sea (1943)
  • Salamaua-Lae Campaign (1943)
  • Finisterre Range Campaign (1943–44)
  • Huon Peninsula Campaign (1943–44)
  • Bougainville Campaign (1943–45)
  • New Britain Campaign (1943–45)
  • Admiralty Islands Campaign (1944)
  • Battle of Leyte Gulf (1944)
  • Aitape-Wewak Campaign (1944-45)
  • Western New Guinea Campaign (1944–45)

See more at the Australian War Memorial.

Local Hero: Aircraftman 1 William Ossian Chelman 25061 was born at Telegraph Point.  He joined the RAAF in May 1940.

On the 8th August 1942, William was on board Sunderland W4019 of No 10 Sqn RAAF, which crashed in the Bay of Biscay, off the coast of Spain and all the crew were killed.

They have no known grave and their names are commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing Runnymede, UK.

VP DayWilliam’s story and those of 148 other locals will be on display at the Community Hall from 10:00 on Sunday 16th of August to commemorate VP Day. The display will be presented in folders containing personal World War II history and stories.

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