It was the day that the guns in the Far East finally fell silent and the ­Forgotten Army knew they would finally be coming home.

The Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945 marked the official end of the Second World War.

But while crowds flocked to Buckingham Palace to cheer the Royal Family on the balcony, celebrations elsewhere in the country were far more muted.

Victory in Japan Day never sparked the wild jubilation of Victory in Europe Day three months earlier and the heroes returning from Burma, Thailand and brutal prisoner of war camps often felt their efforts were overshadowed.

And ahead of today’s 75th anniversary, a shocking survey has revealed that almost half of Britons have no idea what VJ Day is.

Brits told to 'remember Forgotten Army who fought for Britain in WWII' ahead of VJ Day
Never previously published pictures of life in Japanese PoW camps from the War Office

Armed Forces charity the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association found 46% did not recognise the acronym while 52% did not feel the need to mark it in anyway.

SSAFA chairman Sir Gary Coward said: “We should all be aware of our national history, especially when associated with an unrelenting campaign and huge ­sacrifice.

“VJ Day marks such an event. This year, we remember 75 years since the day Japan surrendered, in effect bringing the Second World War to a conclusion.

“Many people celebrated Victory in Europe Day but very few acknowledge or know about Victory over Japan Day.

Brits told to 'remember Forgotten Army who fought for Britain in WWII' ahead of VJ Day
Almost half of Britons have no idea what VJ Day is

“Thousands of Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen remained incarcerated in horrendous conditions and their many colleagues continued to fight bitter battles for freedom in the Far East well after VE Day.

“Without their supreme sacrifice, life would be very different today.

“So we should take a moment to reflect on this and try to learn the lessons of this key moment in history.

“The huge losses on all sides must not be forgotten.”

Brits told to 'remember Forgotten Army who fought for Britain in WWII' ahead of VJ Day
British prisoners were badly treated in Japanese camps

But millions of people around the world will be saluting the Forgotten Army today and remembering all affected by the war against Japan.

World leaders will pay tribute to Second World War veterans as the UK commemorates the sacrifices of its Armed Forces and Allies on the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and nine other world leaders – including US President Donald Trump, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – have recorded a video message thanking those who served.

In the Friendship of Nations video, each leader will say in turn: “To all who served, we thank you.”

And the Royal Family will be leading our national thank you in a day of Covid-compliant commemorations.

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