Prince Philip’s heroic VJ Day history honoured by Royal Family in release of WW2 photos

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The photo shows the young Duke standing in a military uniform when he was First Lieutenant aboard Navy ship the HMP Whelp. Prince Philip first joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1939, before rising up the ranks.

He was then on active duty the day the Japanese signed their declaration of surrender. VJ Day marks the day the surrender was announced.

The Royal Family tweeted: “Did you know that The Duke of Edinburgh was on active service in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered on VJ Day?

“Following active service during the Second World War in HMS Ramillies, HMS Valiant and HMS Wallace, he served in HMS Whelp as First Lieutenant.

“On VJ Day, the ship’s crew in HMS Whelp helped to recover prisoners of war.”

It comes as part of a host of other historic photographs and statements released by the Royal Family to mark the anniversary.

They include documents from Royal Archives and speeches by the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge.

Prince William said: “We must not forget our responsibility to learn the lessons of the past, and ensure that the horrors of the Second World War are never repeated.”

The Royal Family also shared footage from a Prince Philip interview with the BBC in 1995.

READ: Prince Philip kicks off Royal Family’s VJ Day commemorations as he makes rare appearance

In it, the Duke recalled what happened on the day the Japanese surrendered.

He called the surrender a “great relief,” and added the ship moved on to Hong Kong afterwards.

Prince Philip said: “From there, we went on to Hong Kong, and the most extraordinary sensation – we sailed, we suddenly realised we didn’t have to darken ship anymore. We didn’t have to close all the scuttles. We didn’t have to turn the lights out.

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“So all these little things built up to suddenly feeling that life was different.”

He also remembered the ‘most extraordinary sensation’ of rescuing prisoners of war who had been held by the Japanese.

The Duke said the prisoners of war also fellow sailors. Once aboard the ship, they were given cups of tea and tears were ‘pouring’ down the cheeks of soldiers on both sides, Prince Philip added.

The Japanese announced their surrender on August 15, 1945, days after the US dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, August 6, killing around 135,000 people including civilians, and the Nagasaki bomb on August 9, killing at least 50,000.

The surrender also followed the USSR declaring war of Japan on August 8.

Prince Philip’s military timeline spans decades. He began his naval career at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth and won prizes for best cadet.

He then joined battleship HMS Ramillies in 1940, before being transferred to the HMS Valiant.

In 1942, the Duke became one of the Navy’s youngest officers to be made First Lieutenant and second-in-command of a ship.

He was also appointed First Lieutenant and second-in-command of the aforementioned HMS Whelp in 1944.

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