As a young Royal Navy officer onboard HMS Whelp in Tokyo Bay, the Duke of Edinburgh watched through binoculars as the Japanese formally surrendered to the Allies in 1945.
Next week, as the UK marks the 75th anniversary of VJ Day (Victory over Japan Day), the Duke, 99, will feature in a poignant photo montage, alongside other living veterans, to be broadcast on large screens up and down the country.
The “then and now” themed tribute will show Second World War veterans holding an image of themselves from their time in service.
The Royal Family will be at the heart of commemorations on Saturday, August 15, which will be marked by the first UK-wide Red Arrows flypast since the 2012 Olympic Games, Boris Johnson has announced on Wednesday.
The jets will roar over Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and London, including in their path the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home to three Burma Star recipients.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will lead a two-minute silence at 11am as the nation remembers those who served in the Far East, and who were among the last to come home.
The couple will be joined at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for the televised service by veterans including Albert Wills, 93, who served in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Indefatigable, as they pay their respects to fallen comrades.
Music will be provided by The Central Band of the Royal Air Force, while the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will take part in a flypast following the silence.
A lone piper will play Battle’s Over, the traditional Scottish air that marked the end of a battle, at HMS Belfast in London at sunrise.
The haunting tune will form part of a tribute called Waking Up to Peace that will include pipers playing at dawn in India, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal.
The Duke of Cambridge will feature in a BBC One programme filmed at Horse Guards Parade, called VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute, in which he will thank those who sacrificed so much during the war.
Mr Johnson said: “On this anniversary I want to remember what we owe the veterans of the Far East campaign. They brought an end to the Second World War, they changed the course of history for the better, liberated South East Asia, and many paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“That’s why on this remarkable anniversary – and every day hereafter – we will remember them.”
Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, said VJ Day was sometimes seen as “the forgotten victory” but that celebrations this year would rightly be focused on paying tribute to the Greatest Generation and their service and sacrifice in the Far East.
Britain suffered 90,332 casualties in the war against Japan, of whom 29,968 died, 12,433 of them being prisoners of war.
The number of surviving veterans is slowly dwindling, but many, including the Duke of Edinburgh, will feature in the photo montage to be shown on social media as well as on existing large screens on the anniversary.
A Buckingham Palace source said that while the two images of the Duke to be used, one from his time in service and the other, more recent, had not been especially commissioned, he was happy to be involved in the project, led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, given his involvement in the campaign.
The Duke recalled his memories of serving on HMS Whelp, the destroyer on which he returned to the UK in 1946, for a 1995 documentary.
“Being in Tokyo Bay, with the surrender ceremony taking place in a battleship which was 200 yards away, you could see what was going on with a pair of binoculars,” he said.
“It was a great relief. From there we went on to Hong Kong, and (it was) the most extraordinary sensation when we sailed, that 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.
“So all of these little things built up to suddenly feeling that life was different.”
After the formal surrender, which took place on the USS Missouri, HMS Whelp took on board a number of prisoners of war who had been held by the Japanese.
The Duke recalled: “These people were naval people, they were emaciated. They just sat there, with tears pouring down their cheeks. They just drank their tea, they really couldn't speak.”
Captain Sir Tom Moore urges public to stop what they are doing and remember
Captain Sir Tom, a veteran of the Burma campaign, has encouraged the public to remember the British and Commonwealth soldiers who served in the Far East on VJ Day, which he described as "the most special of days".
He said: "For me, VJ Day will always be the most special of days, remembering all those who served in such challenging conditions in the Far East.
"It was VJ Day when the pain of war could finally start to fall away as peace was declared on all fronts.
"I respectfully ask Britain to stop whatever it is doing and take some time to remember.
"We must all take the time to stop, think and be thankful that were it not for the ultimate sacrifices made all those years ago by such a brave band of men and women, we would not be enjoying the freedoms we have today, even in these current difficult times."