September 2

1945 The Japanese sign the Instrument of Surender

Pretty much everyone has seen the picture of American general Douglas MacArthur on the deck of the battleship Missouri signing the acceptance of the Japanese surrender which ended the Second World War in the Pacific. Less well-known is the fact that Canada also signed this document as one of the belligerents in the struggle against the Japanese empire.

Great Britain, in its own imperialistic way, assumed that it would sign on behalf of its Dominions but MacArthur chose to invite the Australians, who had played a significant part in battles against the Japanese, as well as Canada, New Zealand and two countries whose Asian colonies had been conquered, France and the Netherlands. The Australians were reportedly miffed at the Canadian invitation.

The Canadian signature was added by Colonel Lawrence Moore Cosgrove (pictured above) who accidentally signed on the wrong line, perhaps because he was blind in one eye from a wound suffered in World War I. 

Cosgrove had been a war hero (DSO and the Croix de Guerre) and was supposedly the fellow on whose back John McRae wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” in the trenches on the Western Front in 1917.

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