- Monarch – George VI
- Secretary of State for Scotland and Keeper of the Great Seal – Ernest Brown until 8 February; then Tom Johnston
- Lord Advocate – Thomas Mackay Cooper until June; then James Reid
- Solicitor General for Scotland – James Reid until June; Sir David King Murray
- Lord President of the Court of Session and Lord Justice General – Lord Normand
- Lord Justice Clerk – Lord Aitchison, then Lord Cooper
- Chairman of the Scottish Land Court – Lord Murray, then Lord Gibson
- 17 January – a German Heinkel He 111 meteorological aircraft is crash-landed on Fair Isle.
- 5 February – the cargo ship SS Politician runs aground on Eriskay.
- 12 February – Tom Johnston is appointed Secretary of State for Scotland, a post which he holds until the end of the wartime coalition.
- 24 February – SS Jonathan Holt is torpedoed in a convoy off Cape Wrath by German submarine U-97 with the loss of 51 of her 57 crew, including English travel writer Robert Byron.
- 13–14 March – Clydebank Blitz: bombing of Clydebank.
- 6–7 May – Greenock Blitz: Greenock is intensively bombed.
- 10 May – Rudolf Hess parachutes into Scotland claiming to be on a peace mission.
- 12 May – the Honours of Scotland are secretly buried within Edinburgh Castle as a precaution against invasion.
- 2 June – 2 adults and 8 children are killed at Buckhaven when a naval mine explodes on the foreshore.
- 30 August – first official 'Shetland bus' clandestine mission using Norwegian fishing boats between Shetland and German-occupied Norway.
- 5 November – the Commercial Bar in Fraserburgh receives a direct hit from a German bomb, killing over 30.
- Loudoun Castle is gutted by fire.
- The Polish School of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh founded
- 15 January - Colin Matthew, historian and academic (died 1999 in Oxford)
- 7 March - Stewart McLean, actor and businessman (died 2006)
- 8 March - Norman Stone, historian (died 2019 in Budapest)
- 14 March - Ishbel MacAskill, Scottish Gaelic singer and teacher (died 2011)
- 9 April – Hannah Gordon, actress
- 10 April – John Kurila, footballer (died 2018)
- 9 May – John Wheatley, Lord Wheatley, lawyer and judge
- 18 May – Malcolm Longair, astrophysicist
- 22 May – Menzies Campbell, leader of the Liberal Democrats (UK)
- 22 May - Alec Monteath, actor and television announcer
- 19 June - Duncan Forbes, footballer (died 2019 in Norwich)
- 25 June - Eddie Large, born Edward McGinnis, comedian (died 2020 in Bristol)
- 30 June - Vincent Logan, Roman Catholic Bishop of Dunkeld (died 2021)
- 4 August - David R. Morrison, author, editor and painter (died 2012)
- 19 August - Tony Roper, actor
- 10 November - David Ashton, actor and writer
- 22 November – Tom Conti, actor
- 25 December – Kenneth Calman, medical researcher and academic
- 31 December – Alex Ferguson, footballer and manager
- Jenni Calder, literary historian
- Frances M Hendry, writer of children's historical fiction
- Anthony Miller, murderer, second-last criminal to be executed in Scotland (died 1960)
- Andrew Robertson, actor
- 3 January - William Mustart Lockhart, watercolour painter (born 1855)
- 6 April – Kenneth Campbell, airman, posthumous Victoria Cross recipient (born 1917; killed in action over Brest, France)
- 12 April – Charles Murray, Doric dialect poet and civil engineer (born 1864)
- 19 June – William James Cullen, Lord Cullen, judge (born 1859)
- 29 June – Sir Alexander MacEwen, solicitor, Provost of Inverness and first Scottish National Party leader (born 1875 in British India)
- 17 July – Charles Melvin, soldier, Victoria Cross recipient (born 1885)
- 3 December – Neil Harris, footballer and manager (born 1894)
- A. J. Cronin's novel The Keys of the Kingdom is published.
- Compton Mackenzie's comic novel The Monarch of the Glen is published.
- Sydney Goodsir Smith's first collection Skail Wind - Poems is published in Edinburgh.
- Devine, T. M. (1999). The Scottish Nation, 1700-2000. London: Allen Lane. pp. 551–2. ISBN 0713993510.
Johnson was a giant figure in Scottish politics and is revered to this day as the greatest Scottish Secretary of the century.
- Reekie, Christopher (5 April 1993). "How the Honours of Scotland were hidden in the castle to thwart Hitler's invading troops". The Herald. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
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