Pipers around the world are preparing to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Japan (VJ) Day at sunrise tomorrow (06:00) at locations of their choice.

Held on what would have been Day Two of the World Pipe Band Championships, pipers that have confirmed their participation include many in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa but also from countries as varied as Nepal, Malaysia, Belgium, Brazil, Peru and Argentina.

Some pipers plan to ascend the summits of the four highest peaks of the component countries of the United Kingdom: Ben Nevis (Scotland), Scafell Pike (England), Snowdonia (Wales) and Slieve Donard (Northern Ireland) and play from there.

Robert Proctor from Leeds is today making his way to the top of Scafell Pike where he will camp overight in readiness for his 06:00 tribute on Saturday. Robert hopes to broadcast his performance live on Facebook

Click here to register your participation.

Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 15, 1945. The day has since been commemorated as Victory over Japan – or ‘VJ’ – Day. On September 2, 1945, a formal surrender ceremony took place on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, officially bringing the Second World War to an end.

Meanwhile, members of The Black Watch Association will mark the anniversary at a ceremony at the regiment’s spiritual home, Balhousie Castle in Perth, Scotland.

Alistair Duthie.

Alistair Duthie, who served as Pipe Major of the regiment’s 1st Battalion until retiring in 2009, will pipe at the ceremony. Alistair brings our attention to one of the last skirmishes – possibly the last – of the Second World War, one that features one of the regiment’s pipers.

On August 8, 1945, The Black Watch were in Burma in a village called Labu near Hkawan in the north of the country. The incident is reocunted by Bernard Fergusson in his The Black Watch and the King’s Enemies by (Collins, 1950):

“One last effort was required of the Battalion, and then, it was promised, the survivors would be flown out. Four miles from the railway (that symbol of the Japanese communications against which the whole campaign had been directed, however spasmodically), was a village called Labu, which was held by the enemy. This was to be the last objective. The combined strength of both columns was now pitifully small, and all the men weak … the jungle and the ground were in the enemy’s favour.

“Here come the 42nd, here come the Forty Twa.” The Black Watch in Burma in 1945.

“… Next morning 73 Column was also available to take part in the assault, which was now recognised as beyond the capacity of the ghost of 42 Column … 73 Column, moving up, found the enemy in new positions farther along the ridge; and during the morning, by a mixture of manoeuvre and mortaring, drove them out and into their last line, a series of well-prepared dug-outs immediately in front of the village. From these even the mortars failed to shift them; and as it was now late in the afternoon a final effort was ordered. Gibb’s men engaged the enemy with fire from the right flank. The mortars pounded them. Noble’s men charged. Lark, an English piper, played them in on the pipes which Green, with a stroke of genius, had caused to be dropped at Pungan a week before. Noble’s men had few bayonets left, put several tommy-guns; and the Japs fled, leaving much material behind them.

“The campaign was over. On the 9th, a patrol under Lieutenant Ross went down into the railway valley, and met the leading elements of the 36th British Division, the first outside troops to be met since India, on their way to the familiar scenes of White City and Indaw, a hundred miles and more to the south. On the 10th, there was a mammoth supply drop, with all the materials suitable for rejoicing. On the 11th, official photographers arrived by jeep, a football by parachute (why ? of all things in the world, surely a football might be dropped free), and Lark played his pipes all round the camp.

“On the 13th, Padre Mair held a service, followed by Communion in a native hut. On the 14th, the Colonel gave a lecture on discipline. On the 15th Major Fraser held a drill parade on the only open ground, which was brusquely interrupted by the arrival of a supply drop. On the 17th the Battalion marched along a main road, with Piper Lark playing at the head of it, and passed men of 36 Division going in the opposite direction. On the 18th they travelled by train (in Jeeps modified for the railway) from Mogaung to Myitkyina, On the 19th they travelled by air to Assam, new clothing, hot showers and fresh cheese sandwiches. The age of wonders was not over.”

Balhousie Castle, Perth.