It was, they said, a beautiful night. The moon was full, its luminous presence dominating the clear night sky.

They came in droves, exploiting the clear night flying conditions. Crossing the Irish Sea, the Clyde shimmered beneath them, silver in the moonlight.

That night the carefully observed blackout was redundant, and the war weary citizens of the Clydeside could do nothing to hide their fine old tenements as wave after wave of German pilots – determined to cripple the Scottish wartime shipbuilding industry – dropped their deadly cargo on the defenceless people below.

As I write this in March 2024, 83 years ago today the Clydeside Blitz was underway. My Grandfather, John George Stant, went to work as usual. He left his wife Jenny and their three young children in the top floor tenement room and kitchen where they lived, on the Dumbarton Road in Scotstoun. Ahead of him loomed a night shift at Yarrow’s, a 20-minute tram ride away.

As the air raid sirens wailed along the Clyde some hours later, my Mum – then aged 15 - joined her younger twin siblings and my Grandma in the underground air raid shelter across the road. They didn’t know so at the time, but three miles west, John and his workmates ran a doomed sprint towards the shipyard shelter where a few moments later they were to die, victims of a Luftwaffe direct hit.

My Grandma sat up all night waiting for her husband to come home. And, of course, he never did. Nor was there a body to bury. John George Stant, like so many veterans, had dodged German bullets in Flanders only to die at the hands of German bombers over the Clyde. By the time they’d finished 1200 Clydesiders lay dead and 1100 were seriously injured.

By a curious twist of fate, I’m writing this from my study in the home then owned by Miss Sandeman, of the famous Port wine company. That night she was almost certainly hiding in the private Anderson Shelter she’d built in the garden. If she was frightened she’d good cause to be as the German aircraft lightened their load by discarding excess bombs randomly as they flew east across Scotland towards the North Sea and home. Ms Sandeman was lucky. Some of her neighbours were hit. But she lived to celebrate her 100th birthday.

John George Stant’s immediate family are long gone. His wee boy Eric was to die from leukaemia a year later. My Mum, throughout her own long life, was blessed (or cursed) by a vivid recollection of the night her father died. She joined me at Westminster for a commemoration ceremony to mark the Blitz 75th anniversary, although she couldn’t face a return to Clydebank as she said the memories remained too painful.

My Mum often said how remarkable it was that war in northern Europe now seems inconceivable. And when the Brexit results came through, she despaired that generations who’d never known war should so take Europe’s peace dividend for granted.