Object of the Week: The pen used by General Douglas MacArthur to signal the end of World War Two

By Ben Miller | 19 August 2015

Object of the Week: The pen used by General Douglas MacArthur in Tokyo Bay to signal the end of World War Two

A photo of the brown fountain pen used by General Douglas MacArthur to end World War II
© Courtesy Chester Unlocked
On September 2 1945, on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, US General Douglas MacArthur used this pen to sign a formal surrender ceremony which, 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.

A black and white photo of US General Douglas MacArthur signing an agreement to end World War II on a US military ship surrounded by soldiers
US General Douglas MacArthur used the pen to sign a formal surrender ceremony, with General Arthur Percival standing behind him© Courtesy Chester Unlocked
Lt General Percival was in charge of forces in Malaysia who fell to the Japanese in 1942. Forced to surrender, he was held in a Japanese prisoner of war camp before MacArthur secured his release following Japan’s surrender.

Cheshire Military Museum now owns the pen. They’re lending it to Big Heritage, a Chester-based social enterprise, for a public display at the city’s town hall to mark the 70th anniversary of the signing. Organisers say they are “absolutely blown away” by the loan.

  • You can see the pen at Chester Town Hall from Friday (August 21) until September 4 2015. Visit Chester Unlocked for more.

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