Moment of world history

The Japanese board HMS Nelson in 1945 to sign articles of surrender. Picture from family of Ken Rylance.
The Japanese board HMS Nelson in 1945 to sign articles of surrender. Picture from family of Ken Rylance.

This is the moment Japanese forces boarded an allied ship to surrender at the end of World War Two.

On board the HMS Nelson that day on September 2, 1945, was naval seaman John Kenneth Rylance, from Eastmoor.

Mr Rylance, who was known as Ken and died last April aged 89, kept the black and white image after serving on the ship during the war.

The surrender of Imperial Japan had been formally announced on August 15 after America dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Japan’s Emperor Hirohito gave a recorded radio address across the Empire on August 15.

The HMS Nelson was then part of operation Tiderance, launched after the surrender, and was the flagship of the fleet which arrived in Penang, Malaysia.

On September 2, the Japanese envoy boarded HMS Nelson to formally sign the articles of surrender.

Ken Rylance, who served on the ship until the end of 1946, was son of six children born to Ernest and Catherine Rylance, of Eastmoor.

His brother Horace was also involved in the war effort and is believed to have been stationed at the British code-breaking headquarters Bletchley Park.

His cousin Ronald Rylance was also a professional Rugby League player for Wakefield Trinity.

Ken Rylance left substantial undisclosed sums in his will which have been donated to both Wakefield Hospice and St Austin’s church in Wakefield.