TODAY, the typical image of VE day in 1945 is scenes of jubilation on the streets and cheering crowds - but the reality for many was very different.

Here six of the last surviving members of the 'Great Generation' in Scotland recall their experiences of the end of the war against Nazi Germany seventy years ago.

Angus Mitchell, 90, from Edinburgh, was a second lieutenant carrying out reconnaissance work as part of the 11th Armoured Division of the Inns of Court regiment while it advanced on the retreating German army, when news filtered through radios that peace in Europe had broken out.

He said: "I was with my troop of armoured cars on the banks of the Kiel Canal, which was the line which the British had reached right at the end of the war. My division was further forward than any other division in the British Army.

"The Germans - those who had not already surrendered - were on the other side of the canal and so we were very relieved and happy that the war was over, at least in Germany. Of course, we were fully expecting some of us would probably have to go on to Japan.

"When the bomb dropped at Hiroshima, we were much more relieved as we knew would not have to fight a second war over in the Far East.

"There were no celebrations at all on that day (VE Day). We were keeping quiet and hoping the Germans would also."

Following the war, Mitchell went to study history at Oxford University, where he met his wife Ann, who is 92. On VE Day, she was one of the thousands of women working at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, the headquarters of the government's now-famous operation to break German codes. It has been credited with shortening the war in Europe by two to four years.

She said: "During the Second World War women were being called up for war service and I asked what was available. I was sent for an interview at Bletchley Park. I didn't know where Bletchley Park was.

"I went there in the summer of 1942, I couldn't be told anything about the job - it was top secret. I had to sign the Official Secrets Act .

"Some people took it very seriously and thought they would be shot if they spoke to anyone about where they were working."

She added: "You never met any of the people you worked for and we told people we worked for the Foreign Office."

Ann Mitchell still has photos of her watching VE day celebrations, although she can recall little of the day itself. But she said she remembered feeling "astonishment, enjoyment and relief" when she heard there was finally peace in Europe after six years of war.

John Murdoch, 88, from Kilmarnock, joined the army in July 1944 when he was 18-years-old and subsequently trained with the Armoured Battalion of the Scots Guards before deployment to Europe. He was at Victoria Barracks in Windsor with the Scots Guards on VE Day and spent the day on guard duty at Windsor Castle.

He said: "I remember I felt so pleased - not for myself, but for others that had been in action. And while we were relieved up to a point, our thoughts were still very much with the boys in Burma and Malaya and also the American Army in the Pacific. The war was still going on and it wasn't over yet."

In the immediate aftermath of the war Murdoch was deployed to Italy and Yugoslavia as part of efforts to help stabilise and rebuild Europe.

He said he remembered many more celebrations taking place on V-J Day in August 1945, which marked the surrender of the Japanese and the end of World War Two.

He said: "I was on home leave on V-J day in Kilmarnock before going abroad to Italy.

"The celebrations were out of this world - I happened to be up the town at night and there was dancing all over the car parks and bands playing. It was a lovely night."

Murdoch is a supporter of The Soldiers' Charity, the national charity of the British Army, which gives welfare grants to assist soldiers, veterans and their dependents with costs such as care home fees, respite breaks and housing adaptations.

He added: "I'll be celebrating and also watching the events taking place now. On VE day and VJ day, I was pleased for all those that had come through it.

"One of the squad I was with got killed just 10 days before the armistice, just outside Bremen. It was very sad."

Margaret Miller, from Glasgow, who is 104-years-old, signed up to the Women's Voluntary Service (WVS) in1939 to help the war effort. The WVS - nicknamed "the army that Hitler forgot" - attracted over a million British volunteers, who provided support such as helping people after air raids and providing rest centres and first aid.

Miller decided to join when she came back from a holiday and saw barrage balloons - which were used to defend against enemy aircraft attack in the skies above Glasgow.

She said: "When I came home the barrage balloons were in the sky and I felt I wasn't doing anything, so I had better join up."

Miller was attached to Glasgow Royal Infirmary and provided support to wounded soldiers being treated at the hospital, particularly those who did not have any family nearby.

"We tried to gather things which would be useful in case of being bombed out and had a store with towels, pillows, and anything like that," she said.

"Once wounded soldiers began to come into the hospital, we formed a group and visited the ones who did not have visitors as they were too far away from their families.

"We were younger and we didn't consider it hard work, it was something we did as part of the war effort."

Miller still volunteers for the same charity, which is now known as the Royal Voluntary Service, and still attends a club she started in 1974 to provide support for stroke patients and help boost their confidence.

Seventy years ago on VE Day, she was in the countryside with her parents and young baby daughter, so was not involved in any of the celebrations. She said she remembered feeling a huge sense of relief the war was over.

But she added: "I felt so sad about those that didn't come home."

Alexander Adam, 91, from Forfar, was part of the occupational forces sent into Germany after peace was declared and one a group of five World War II veterans who were invited to be guests of honour at Royal British Legion Scotland VE day event in Forfar yesterday.

He joined the Royal Marines in 1942 and was part of the naval unit responsible for looking after wireless equipment on landing craft. Seventy years ago, on VE Day, he was on his way to Germany.

He said: "We were in convoy on VE day going out to Germany, so we never took part in any of the festivities.

"I don't remember how I found out about the news - I think we had left Aldershot the morning that peace was declared, but I don't remember a great deal about it. However I felt relieved that it was all over.

"It was so funny looking back as we didn't take part in any of the celebrations to mark the end of the war.

"We were mostly confined to our barracks and not allowed to mix with anyone. We ended up being there for about five months. To us it felt like the war was still going on."

He said he felt it was important to commemorate events such as VE day and remember wartime.

One of his own memories is watching the burning of Belsen concentration camp, which was liberated by the British in 1945. The troops found thousands of sick and starving prisoners and rotting corpses and the camp was burned to the ground after being evacuated because of the risk of diseases such as typhoid.

Adam said: "We were told that was Belsen...It was a terrible place. It was a relief to know that it was all over."

Mona McLeod, 92, from Edinburgh, was one of 80,000 members of the Women's Land Army - nicknamed Land Girls - who were sent to farms to help with work such as milking, lambing, harvesting and operating machinery.

She was about to go to university but ended up on a farm in Galloway during the war years instead.

She said: "A fortnight after Dunkirk my father told me 'I believe in the importance of the higher education of women, but I think we ought to concentrate on winning the war' and he arranged for me to go to the farm in Galloway.

"It was very hard work and not just fun, like many of the television programmes have portrayed it. I was the odd-job man - or in this case woman. It was a mixture of working with horses and some terribly dull jobs like hoeing turnips. I could also shear sheep, I was rather proud of that."

Following the war, McLeod studied history at Edinburgh University and later became involved in teaching work. She still gives lectures today and has just completed a book about her experiences in the Land Army, which she is seeking to get published.

She also still has a letter which she wrote to her parents describing how she and her sister spent VE Day, which involved visiting a woollen mill run by her father's cousin.

In it she wrote: "Even though the Japanese are still to be defeated and we have the appallingly difficult business of reconstructing ahead of us, it is grand to have come to the end of our part of the war."

McLeod added: "I don't remember any kind of fireworks or any of that sort. Every farm was isolated from every other farm - there must have been something going on in the village, but I have no memory of going to it at all."

Frank Ferri, from Edinburgh, was just 10-years-old on VE Day and vividly remembers experiencing the city lights going on for the first time after years of night-time black-outs which had been enforced to make it difficult for enemy aircraft to target their bombs.

He said: "On the night of VE Day, my pal and I aged saw the lights of our local cinema in Leith brighten up the night sky for the first time in six years. We just stood in awe at the outline of the lovely building ablaze with colours of red, green and blue, with the name of the latest film brightly lit.

"What a feeling of happiness and joy it brought to a couple of kids after experiencing what to us was a lifetime of darkness."

Ferri, who is 79, added: "I do recall as a child, having the silly notion that on the day the war finished everything would be free in shops - possibly with sweeties in mind."

One particularly vivid memory Ferri has is when Leith was hit by a "mini-Blitz" in April 1941, by bombs which were hastily unloaded by a German aircraft which had been on its way to attack Clydebank, but was intercepted by RAF fighters.

"I was aged six or seven and I was sitting by the fireside reading my comic before going to bed," he said. "There was no warning and the next thing there was this enormous blast, which lifted me right off my chair and flung me across into the hall, a distance of about four yards.

"The window had blown in, the plaster on the ceiling and walls fell off and there was furniture, dust and glass strewn all over the place."

Ferri and his family escaped to the safety of an air raid shelter. However following the raid he suffered post-traumatic stress for "some considerable time".

He said: "If a flake of lime or plaster shaken down by the footsteps of our upstairs neighbour fell from the ceiling I ran out of the house totally terrified. There was no treatment for that in these days."