More than 1,000 people attended the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to commemorate VJ Day and witness the opening of a memorial building dedicated to Far East prisoners of war.
Dozens of ex-servicemen, including many who toiled on the Burma and Sumatra railways, joined the families and friends of those who died during the Far East Campaign to view the new building in Alrewas, near Lichfield.
Created to resemble the jungle huts in which prisoners were kept, the wooden structure houses veterans' memorabilia.
It is sited next to a section of the notorious Thai-Burma railway, that was brought to the arboretum three years ago as a tribute to the servicemen who died constructing it.
The opening came three years after the founder of the Children and Families of the Far East Prisoners of War group, Carol Cooper, launched a fundraising appeal on the 60th anniversary of the fall of Singapore to the Japanese Imperial Army.
Speaking at a ceremony to officially open the £500,000 building, Mrs Cooper said: "This is a building we have built for our loved ones and it's certain they will never now be forgotten again."
Mrs Cooper's father, Lance Corporal Bill Smith, was one of the 40,000 who died in captivity in the Far East.
She set up the association in 1997 after stumbling across a secret diary her father had written about his time in captivity.
Air Marshall Sir John Baird also addressed the crowd who had gathered for the opening ceremony, which was followed by a fly-past from a Second World War Spitfire.
Sir John suggested that the memorial was "perhaps 60 years late" and described the lack of gratitude shown to the Far East PoWs immediately after the war as shameful.
"The fact that so many of the Far East PoWs survive today is an incredible reflection on them," Sir John noted. "We owe them an untold amount of thanks."
The building was partlyfunded by the Millennium Commission, although a third of its cost was raised by the work of individual COFEPOW members.
Former Royal Engineer George Stevens, aged 85, had travelled from his home in Walsall with his wife Dorothy.
The sapper, who was taken prisoner in Singapore in 1942, was subjected to two years of forced labour.
"The conditions were absolutely terrible," he recalled. "All you had was your jungle hat. The men's bodies were down to six stone and when you are so low the body can't fight off malaria or beri beri.
"There were no medical supplies and a lot of the boys had legs amputated - some of them made crutches from bamboo, but by that time they were dying like flies.