IT was on board a supply ship which had docked in the port of Marseille that Barney Roberts learned the news that the war was over.

He had been on route from Naples to bring supplies to British liaison staff in the south of France in the last days of the conflict.

For Mr Roberts there was only a little time for celebration before it was back to work clearing mines in the Adriatic.

"We were in the old port when it was announced that peace was imminent, but we didn't have any advance warning," said Mr Roberts.

"We heard all the cheering and I remember we had to take part in a church parade and then there was a little celebration.

After nearly three years away from home serving with the Royal Navy, it would be another few months before Mr Roberts was to be reunited with his family as he didn’t return until after VJ Day in August 1945.

Read more: VE Day 75: Jubilant scenes across Scotland as people rejoiced the Second World War was finally over

This year 75 years on with the country still gripped in lockdown, 93-year-old Mr Roberts will be marking the day at home in Glasgow with quiet reflection.

Mr Roberts, who was a Leading Hand in the Royal Navy, said: "We still had to continue our work after VE Day. The Adriatic Coats was full of mines and we set up a base at Trieste and set about clearing all the mines."

While peace broke out in May, Mr Roberts, who attends weekly activities at both Erskine veterans’ home and the Scottish War Blind centre in Paisley didn’t arrive home to Dover until August 16 1945.

“It was 2am and remember having to shout up to a window to get in as the door was locked,” added Mr Roberts. “My sister shouted down who is it, and I replied it was Barney. They had no idea I was coming we couldn’t text ahead to say we were on our way. There I was with my kit bag waiting to get in.

“I remember my mother smothering me with hugs. I think she was making up for all the months I was away. My mum never knew where I was. We were able to write to them, but no details were given away about our whereabouts”

During his Royal Navy service, Mr Roberts took part in the Arctic Convoy missions before being deployed to the Mediterranean.

Earlier this year it was announced the bravery of those who served on the Arctic convoys will finally have a permanent memorial at the place where so many of their perilous journeys set sail.

Loch Ewe was the base for more than half of the Arctic Convoys going to the northern reaches of the Soviet Union with supplies during the Second World War.

It became a strategic gathering place for the Allies’ merchant fleets, and home to other defence and training facilities.

Read more: VE Day 75: Extra bread as workers enjoy a day off, how The Herald reported the day

During World War II the Arctic Convoys sailed from the United Kingdom, Iceland and North America to ports in the Soviet Union, primarily Archangel and Murmansk in Russia. Cargo included tanks, fighter planes, fuel, ammunition, raw materials, and food.

There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945, taking supplies to the Soviet forces in the Arctic Circle. About 1,400 merchant ships were involved in the missions, escorted by ships of the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and the U.S. Navy.

Loch Ewe was a temporary base of the Home Fleet during World War II and was also used as an assembly point for convoys.

“I was on board a mine layer, the Isle of Skye, and we had 400 mines on board at time. I remember we headed up to the Faroes, Iceland and the north coast of Norway. We lost one ship the HMS Port Napier which was destroyed in 1940 by an explosion on board.”

In total, 104 Allied merchant ships were sunk with the Arctic convoys, along with 18 warships; 829 merchant mariners and 1,944 navy personnel were killed aboard them. Russia lost 30 merchant ships and an unknown number of personnel.

After the war, Mr Roberts was to report to HM Naval Base Portsmouth following a period of leave. He had the chance to join two submarines and opted for HMS Forth which saw him dock in Rothesay where he met the woman who was to become his future wife. He was on shore leave when he met a young woman called Mary at the Pavilion in Rothesay. They went on to marry and have three children daughters Jean, Carol and son Glyn who sadly died. Mr Roberts lost his wife Mary around five years ago.

After all these years, attending the activity at Erskine threw up a chance meeting. Mr Roberts regularly went to the Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre for veterans in Bishopton, Renfrewshire. The initiative was set up to enhance the quality of life and wellbeing of veterans in the community. Out with lockdown, it is open every weekday, offering veterans the opportunity to socialise together; learn and develop new skills; enjoy a variety of activities as well as access support services.

“I have a couple of friends at the centre who it turned out we did our training together with all those years ago. We have good chats at the centre, but have been talking online since the lockdown. I think what got us through the war years was comradeship and maybe that is what people need to do now,” added Mr Roberts.

As was the case with many ex-servicemen, it was sometime before Mr Roberts received his medals. In fact it was 50 years.

“I was just working and bringing up a family, I didn’t give the medals any thought. I was watching a remembrance parade at the Cenotaph one year and I thought I’ve got nothing to leave the grandchildren. I’ve now got five medals to show for my service. A few of us had been planning a trip to Moscow as the Russians wanted to mark our role in the Arctic Convoy but that has now been postponed. Maybe we will get there one day.”