A pen that ended WWII to go on display in Chester

A pen that ended WWII to go on display in Chester

Historic pen used by US General MacArthur to end WWII to be displayed in Chester Town Hall showcase from 21st August to 4th September coincides with signing’s 70th anniversary

On September 2nd 1945 on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the pen was used by US General Douglas MacArthur to sign a formal surrender ceremony that, following Japan’s surrender, effectively brought an end to World War II.

The pen was gifted by MacArthur to Lt General Arthur Percival, a former forces commander, Japanese prisoner of war and a witness to the signing on board the ship. He, in turn, donated it to the Cheshire Regiment before his death in 1966.

In the hands of Cheshire Military Museum since that time, the museum has now loaned the pen for public display. Working with the city’s Business Improvement District, CH1ChesterBID, Chester-based social enterprise Big Heritage and Chester Racecourse the pen will be showcased as part of “Chester Unlocked”, a year-long programme celebrating the city’s diverse and rich heritage.

To coincide with the 70th anniversary of the signing on board the USS Missouri, the pen will be available for public viewing in Chester Town Hall, Northgate Street, from Friday 21st August 2015 to Friday 4th September.

“This pen has a significant role in global history,” said Rita Waters, Chief Executive of CH1ChesterBID, “so to have the chance to showcase this as part of Chester Unlocked is incredibly exciting for the city.”

Lt General Percival was in charge of forces in Malaysia that fell to the Japanese in 1942. Forced to surrender, he was held in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. After Japan’s surrender in WWII, MacArthur secured Percival’s release and bought him on board the USS Missouri to witness the Japanese signing the surrender. MacArthur then presented the pen to Percival.

At the end of the war, General Percival was part of the Cheshire Regiment and Yeomanry and he donated the pen to the regiment before his death in 1966.

“We were absolutely blown away when the Chester Military Museum gave us permission to display this pen as part of Chester Unlocked,” added Dean Paton, Managing Director of Big Heritage. “During 2015 we see the 70th anniversary of VE Day and VJ Day, however, this signing also holds its own significant place in history so we’re delighted to be able to display this in Chester for all to see.”

Chester Racecourse, who operate the space within the Town Hall on behalf of Cheshire West and Chester Council, has supported the pen display which is open for public viewing from Friday 21st August 2015 to Friday 4th September, between 10:00am and 16:00pm seven days a week. After this event, the pen will be on permanent display at Cheshire Military Museum, which is open to the public all year round.

Find out more about Chester Unlocked 

To see the formal surrender ceremony on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2nd 1945

(Source: Naval History and Heritage)