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15 October 2014
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VE Day in Glasgow icon for Recommended story

by Tommy Mac

Contributed by 
Tommy Mac
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
17 July 2003

Like every other city in Britain, Glasgow was bursting with excitement. We knew the war was over and were just awaiting official confirmation.

Then, in the morning came the voice of Winston Churchill over the radio. Words to the effect of, 'Although the enemy in the Far East has yet to be conquered, the war in Europe is now over, God Save The King.'

The entire city went a little mad. Schools were closed for the day. It was a day of celebration! I was 14 at the time and wanted to join these celebrations too, but not by myself. I looked around and took up with the nearest female at hand.

She was an older girl, perhaps 16 or so. Still, she was to be my companion for the rest of the day. We made our way hand in hand from where we lived in the Cowcaddens part of the city in order to find the main celebration in George Square. Every street we went through was holding some party or another.

The tram cars in Hope Street were filled with servicemen of all nationalities - American, Canadian, Australian, European; all of them commandeering the trams and singing and dancing up and down the length of Hope Street, singing all kinds of songs I had never heard before.

At the bottom of the street the dance was the 'eightsome reel' - this of course took precedence over all the other carousing. This was Scotland's national dance, and everyone could join in. The music was relayed from the old Kemsley House, former home of the Glasgow Daily Record, who also supplied the lighting for the parade. To see the lights go on again was a miracle in itself.

I didn't see too many drunks, now that I think on it. There was no need. The spirits were lifted high enough as it was. It was quite wonderful to see all the men and women in uniform hugging, kissing and generally flirting with the civilian population.

During all this time I never once let go of my companion's hand. I danced with her, hugged her, kissed her too, I don't know how many times. I never did find out what her second name was. All I knew was her name was Norah, my lovely Norah. In all my life I have never forgotten her, and although we were as close to being intimate as was possible, there was never any impropriety. We actually stayed together until 4am, when we finally kissed and said goodbye, each hugging the other. I never saw her again, and to this day I wonder sometimes whether or not Norah remembers as well. My lovely Norah, with you I shared the most memorable day in my life. My thanks forever to you.

-- Read all Tommy Mac's edited contributions to this website

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