Dame Vera Lynn will forever remain the Forces’ Sweetheart

Faye Dixon June 18, 2020
Photo credit should read SHAUN CURRY/AFP via Getty Images

Singer Dame Vera Lynn has died at the age of 103. Her family confirmed she passed away peacefully surrounded by close relatives.

Her best-known tracks include We’ll Meet Again and (There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs Of Dover.

Vera Margaret Welch was born in Essex and began performing publicly aged only seven. She took her grandmother’s maiden name as her stage surname.

How did Dame Vera’s career begin?

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Her first solo record, Up The Wooden Hill To Bedfordshire, was released in 1936.

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Her war-time contribution began when she sang to those huddled on London’s tube station platforms during air raids.

She was dubbed the the Forces’ Sweetheart when her songs boosted the morale of troops during the Second World War. She appeared in outdoor concerts for troops in Egypt, India and Burma.

In 1941, Dame Vera began her own radio show, Sincerely Yours, sending messages to British troops serving abroad.

In 1943, she starred in the films We’ll Meet Again and Rhythm Serenade. 

Dame Vera and her post-war legacy

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Dame Vera continued recording chart hits including My Son, My Son and It Hurts To Say Goodbye. She went on to host a number of television shows and appeared at the Royal Variety Performance four times.

She received a variety of honours throughout her life, including an honorary doctorate of laws from the Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 2000, she received a Spirit Of The 20th Century Award following a nationwide poll.

In 2018, Dame Vera received the outstanding contribution to music award at the Classic Brits. There’s also a street named in her honour – Vera Lynn Close in Forest Gate, London.

Aged 92, Dame Vera became the oldest living artist to achieve number one in the British albums chart.

In 1995 she sang outside Buckingham Palace in a ceremony to mark the golden jubilee of VE Day. She even started entertaining again during the pandemic, with new versions of her classic songs. Katherine Jenkins sang We’ll Meet Again during the recent VE Day 75 celebrations.

Her legacy will live on as her songs remain as popular to this day.