The unconditional surrender of Germany, signed on 7 May 1945 and celebrated the following
day, VE Day, was greeted with joy and relief throughout Britain, although there was
still the realisation that the war in the Far East was yet to be won. Only the surrender
of Japan on 14 August, with VJ Day the day after, finally saw the Second World War
For some, the victory was a time of rejoicing, a celebration of the triumph of democracy
over tyranny or just the lifting of some of the wartime restrictions. For others,
it was a sombre occasion, a time to remember loved ones who would never return. For
most, though, it meant that it would not be much longer before their husband, boyfriend,
son or father returned home.
Thousands of East Lothian men served in the forces at home and overseas and, with
the outbreak of peace, anxiously waited to exchange their uniforms for 'civvies'
and the infamous Demob suit and to return home. These men, who had served their country
with distinction and faced horrors which cannot possibly be imaginable by those who
were not there, were treated as heroes and returned to be guests of honour at civic
ceremonies and 'Welcome Home' parties, often receiving the freedom of their home
The war that these men sacrificed so much to help win has proved to be the 'war to
end wars' that the First World War was not. In the 60 years since the end of the
Second World War we have been lucky enough not to face another world war and have
been spared the horrors that the servicemen and women, and their families, went through
from 1939 until 1945.