Photo story

11 Photos Of VJ Day Celebrations

Japan publicly announced its surrender on 15 August 1945. This day has since been commemorated as Victory over Japan - or ‘VJ’ - Day.

On 2 September, a formal surrender ceremony took place on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, officially bringing the Second World War to an end.

Millions of people across the world celebrated Allied victory over Japan in August and September 1945. These 11 photographs offer a glimpse into how people in Britain - and servicemen stationed abroad - marked the war’s end.

  • 1. News breaks

    American Sergeant Franklin G Talley, assisted by an RAF airman, holds up a copy of the <em>Evening News</em> on 10 August 1945.
    American Sergeant Franklin G Talley, assisted by an RAF airman, holds up a copy of the Evening News on 10 August 1945.
    EA 75893

    Japan had put forth an offer of surrender on 10 August, but it took several days for the exact terms of the surrender to be agreed. When news of this initial offer broke, London took to the streets to celebrate. In this photograph, American Sergeant Franklin G Talley, assisted by an airman of the Royal Air Force (RAF), holds up a copy of the Evening News while seated on traffic lights in London’s Oxford Circus on 10 August 1945.

  • 2. Flying the 'Stars and Stripes'

    American soldiers and British civilians in Piccadilly Circus, 10 August 1945.
    American soldiers and British civilians in Piccadilly Circus, 10 August 1945.
    EA 75894

    American soldiers and British civilians parade the United States’ flag - the ‘Stars and Stripes’ - in London’s Piccadilly Circus after hearing news of the Japanese offer of surrender, 10 August 1945.

  • 3. Dancing in Oxford Circus

    Crowds dance in Oxford Circus, 10 August 1945.
    Crowds dance in Oxford Circus, 10 August 1945.
    EA 75898

    Crowds dance in Oxford Circus, London, on 10 August 1945.

  • 4. Cheers from the Cocos Islands

    Ground crews of No. 356 Squadron RAF in the Cocos Islands celebrate on 14 August 1945.
    Ground crews of No. 356 Squadron RAF in the Cocos Islands celebrate on 14 August 1945.
    CI 1557

    Ground crews of No. 356 Squadron RAF, based at Brown's West Island in the Cocos Islands, celebrate the news of Japan’s surrender, 14 August 1945.

  • 5. Celebrating in Nairobi

    Allied forces during the VJ Day parade in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15 August 1945.
    Allied forces during the VJ Day parade in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15 August 1945.
    K 9878

    Allied forces during the VJ Day parade in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15 August 1945. Over 5,000 servicemen and women took part in the parade, including troops of East Africa Command, nursing officers, and men of women of the RAF and Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

  • 6. Partying in Piccadilly Circus

    Civilians and service personnel in Piccadilly Circus celebrate Allied victory, August 1945.
    Civilians and service personnel in Piccadilly Circus celebrate Allied victory, August 1945.
    D 25636

    Civilians and service personnel in London's Piccadilly Circus celebrate victory over Japan, August 1945.

  • 7. Festivities on Regent Street

    Civilians celebrate on Lower Regent Street, London, August 1945.
    Civilians celebrate on Lower Regent Street, London, August 1945.
    D 25638

    Civilians walk amongst piles of torn up paper that have been thrown from the windows of offices on Lower Regent Street in London to celebrate the victory over Japan, August 1945.

  • 8. Lord Mountbatten salutes in Ceylon

    Lord Louis Mountbatten takes the salute during the VJ Day Parade in Ceylon, 25 August 1945.
    Lord Louis Mountbatten takes the salute during the VJ Day Parade in Ceylon, 25 August 1945.
    SE 4578

    Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, takes the salute during the VJ Day Parade on the Galle Face Green in Columbo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), on 25 August 1945.

  • 9. A parade at RAF Watnall

    Airmen during the VJ Day parade at RAF Watnall, Nottinghamshire.
    Airmen during the VJ Day parade at RAF Watnall, Nottinghamshire.
    MH 7627

    Airmen during the VJ Day parade at RAF Watnall in Nottinghamshire. A service, conducted by the chaplain pictured here on the far right, was also held.

  • 10. The Royal Navy joins in the celebrations

    View from the HMS <em>Empress</em> as units of the British East Indies Fleet celebrate VJ Night in Ceylon.
    View from the HMS Empress as units of the British East Indies Fleet celebrate VJ Night in Ceylon.
    A 30431

    In this photograph, taken from the Royal Navy warship HMS Empress, units of the British East Indies Fleet celebrate VJ Night in Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

  • 11. The Four Nations Parade

    British Sexton self-propelled guns in Berlin during the Four Nations VJ Day parade, 7 September 1945.
    British Sexton self-propelled guns in Berlin during the Four Nations VJ Day parade, 7 September 1945.
    BU 10256

    British Sexton self-propelled guns drive down the Charlottenburger Chaussee in Berlin during the Four Nations VJ Day parade on 7 September 1945, five days after the formal surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay.