George Mendonsa poses for a photo in Middletown, R.I., holding a copy of the famous Alfred Eisenstadt photo of Mendonsa kissing a woman in a nurse's uniform in Times Square. Picture: Connie Grosch/Providence Journal via AP

New York - George Mendonsa, the US sailor famously pictured kissing a nurse in New York's Times Square as they celebrated the end of World War II, has died aged 95, the American Veterans Centre confirmed on Monday.

The photo snapped by Alfred Eisenstaedt was taken on August 14, 1945 just after news of the Japanese surrender reached the US, and thousands poured onto the streets to celebrate.

The picture, which also featured nurse Greta Zimmer Friedman, became one of the most iconic of the time, though the pair were not identified for years.

"I didn't know who the hell I grabbed, I knew she had the uniform," Mendonsa told the Veterans Centre in a 2015 interview.

He said he had been home on leave after fighting in the Pacific and was expecting to return to service the following day when news came that the war was over.

"Times Square was wild and I had quite a few drinks in me and I saw the nurse," he said.

He recalled that he had been impressed by the nurses he had seen in the Pacific, on the day that the US aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill was hit by two kamikazes and his ship The Sullivans went to its rescue.

"I saw what these nurses did that day .... and it was still in the back of my head," he said. "If that girl did not have the nurse's uniform on I never would have done that."

"After it was over I went my way, the nurse went her way, thought nothing of it," he added. It later turned out that Friedman, who died in 2016, was a dental assistant.


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