The new Royal Navy carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, will help lead the United Kingdom’s national commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of the World War II.

The previous HMS Prince of Wales was among the war’s first victims, sunk on December 10, 1941, as she and battle-cruiser, HMS Repulse, attempted to stop Japanese landings on the Malay Peninsula.

They were pounced upon by enemy bombers, and without air cover, the two capital ships succumbed to the aerial assault under 90 minutes, taking 840 men with them.

The crew of the new carrier will represent the Navy at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, alongside veterans, families and descendants of those who strove to put an end to Japanese militarism.

As with VE Day commemorations earlier in the year, plans have been scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the public will not be able to attend the principal event at the arboretum. However, it will still be broadcast by the BBC.

Commemorations began on Saturday with performances by pipers around the world, including aboard the museum ship HMS Belfast (which was due to take part in operations against Japan in 1945 only for Tokyo to surrender), followed by a wreath laying at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

After the early morning parade, the focus shifted to the arboretum where the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were guests of honor, joining veterans such as former HMS Indefatigable crewman Albert ‘Les’ Wills, families and military personnel from units associated with the war against Japan.

HMS Prince of Wales

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight also performed a flypast over the ceremony with eyes remained fixed on the skies for much of the day as the Royal Air Force’s aerobatic team staged a four-hour-long flyby over the four capitals of the UK, ending over the Royal Hospital Chelsea around 1730 hours.

In the UK, the war in the Far East is generally overshadowed by the conflict against Nazi Germany in Europe, North Africa and the Atlantic. It nevertheless accounted for 71,000 of the Commonwealth’s war dead, 12,000 of them casualties of Japanese prison camps.

By the beginning of 1945, the Royal Navy had massed the greatest force in its history, the British Pacific Fleet (also known as “The Forgotten Fleet”) for the final onslaught against the heart of the Japanese empire: four battleships, over 20 carriers, 11 cruisers, 35 destroyers, 31 submarines, more than a dozen frigates and scores of minesweepers, sloops, auxiliaries and escorts.