It was 3pm on May 8 1945 when Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill addressed the nation from the Cabinet Room announcing that “we may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing,” but that message instead led to three days of partying in Glasgow’s George Square, children were given time off school and families were looking forward to being reunited again.

Scotland had endured more than five long years of conflict with loved ones absent for months or never to return at all. Home soil also saw casualties of war with Clydebank in particular suffering at the hands of German air raids which official figures said claimed the lives of more than 500 people, but the true figure may have been 1200.

During the evening of May 7, peace was finally announced, and celebrations began in earnest. People began to throng the streets, and across cities the noise of fireworks, gunshots, shouts, and steamer hooters could be heard late into the night.

The following day, some Scots still had to go to work, but it wasn’t long before the revelry got under way with many starting the party early morning.

On the evening of May 8, King George VI made his broadcast to the nation from Buckingham Palace saying that in the “darkest hours we knew that the enslaved and isolated peoples of Europe looked to us, their hopes were our hopes, their confidence confirmed our faith. We knew that, if we failed, the last remaining barrier against a worldwide tyranny would have fallen in ruins.

“But we did not fail. We kept faith with ourselves and with one another, we kept faith and unity with our great allies.”

Scots crowded the city centres, singing and dancing until the small hours. ‘There won’t be enough beer to go round!’ grinned one soldier travelling through Edinburgh.

Although the fighting would go on until VJ Day, Victory Over Japan, on August 15, when Prisoners of War would finally return home, celebrations at home marked the long-awaited peace for the people of Scotland.

History Phd candidate Michelle Moffat, who is leading a study into the daily life and morale on the Scottish home front during the Second World War, said: “In Glasgow, a local saw ‘innumerable’ bonfires lit in the streets, as well as fireworks, and houses beautifully decorated with fairy lights. Light had much significance to Scots, as they had been living under blackout conditions for nearly six years. Regulations had required everyone in Britain to block all light from showing outside their houses at night, even a crack of light could see you arrested, and most outdoor light had to be extinguished too. Light was also poignant for other reasons – as one Glaswegian noted on VE night, the light reminded her of the Clydebank Blitz in March 1941: ‘I could see nothing from my window but a little twinkle through the trees and a faint red glow in the sky – very different from the bright red glow in the sky on that cold March night when all Clydebank was ablaze and the smoky flames of the oil tanks leapt up in the moonlight. Thank God we’ll never see that again and all the desolation that followed it.’”

Ms Moffat added: “This is a good reminder that the end of war brought complex emotions for many Scots. In Glasgow, VE Day dawned rainy and miserable, and one lady commented to her colleague, ‘This’ll match some folks tears, don’t you think? There must be some people feeling pretty sad today who have lost their men.’ Others agreed that it felt strange to be celebrating while the war in the Far East still raged, and ‘our boys are still away’. To add to this, many Scots were anxious about what would happen after the war, especially when the period after the Great War had brought mass unemployment and severe economic depression to Scotland, and life had been very difficult for veterans.”

When war broke out in September 1939, no one knew that it would be several years before they saw peacetime and by 1945 Scottish enthusiasm for the war had begun to wane.

Ms Moffat added: “In the first few months of 1943, a wave of Allied successes in Italy and Russia, and a damaging campaign of air raids on Hamburg made a significant impact on public spirits. Investigations into public morale found that many believed war would be over by the end of 1943. As we know, this did not happen. After the Allied landings at Normandy in June 1944, public spirits again rose, and throughout the summer, reports noted ‘spirits continue to soar higher than ever … the wave of optimism grows. The great majority believe the war is nearly over … many think it only a matter of weeks now, some of days.’ Again, when peace still had not been declared by the end of 1944, the high morale trailed off.”

For some Scots when VE Day finally arrived, they felt relief, rather than jubilation, given the months of fear and tension they had lived through.

“While the singing crowds, street bonfires, and flags in windows were testament to Scottish feelings about peace, there were many others who celebrated quietly. Some were overwhelmed with sense of relief, of happiness that their home, town, and nation had escaped,” added Ms Moffat.