AT 11.15am on Sunday, September 3, 1939, Neville Chamberlain told the nation by radio that we were now at war with Germany. In Glasgow at least, the weather was fittingly dramatic. Chamberlain's words were heard against a backdrop of thunder and steady rain, and then, almost as he reached his conclusion, there was a vivid flash of lightning and a loud peal of thunder. The mood, however, was one of calm.

Two days earlier, 70,000 Glasgow schoolchildren, mothers and helpers had been evacuated, part of the Government's three-day plan to evacuate 250,000 people from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Clydebank and Rosyth. On the Saturday, large notices were carried round at half-time during football matches in Glasgow, asking for volunteers to fill sandbags at city hospitals. People responded to these and other calls in great numbers; some 1300 men and women were enrolled in various ARP (air raid precaution) posts on the Friday and Saturday. Across the city, more and more Anderson shelters were being erected, and more and more trenches were being dug in public parks. Struts were placed in tenement closes to strengthen them as shelters in the event of air attacks. When the first black-out of the war occurred on Sunday evening, there was barely a glimmer of light anywhere. In the shops there was "tremendous" demand for black paper, blinds and heavy curtains. And small blue bulbs were fitted onto trams and trains, in place of the bright lighting that had gone before.