Vera Lynn, the singer who became a symbol of hope in Britain during World War Two and again during the coronavirus pandemic with her song We’ll Meet Again, has died at the age of 103.
Known as the Forces’ Sweetheart, Lynn struck a chord with soldiers fighting overseas and with the public back home with songs such as The White Cliffs of Dover that gave voice to the hopes and fears about the conflict with Nazi Germany.
To mark her 100th birthday in 2017, a giant image of Lynn as a young woman was projected on to those white cliffs and a new album released.
She was back in the headlines as recently as April when Queen Elizabeth used words from Lynn’s song to tell the country “We will meet again” and urged people to show resolve during the coronavirus lockdown.
“Dame Vera Lynn’s charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter. “Her voice will live on to lift the hearts of generations to come.”
Lynn was born Vera Welch on March 20, 1917, the daughter of a plumber in London’s East End, and was singing in working men’s clubs at the age of seven.
She began radio broadcasts and singing with bands in the late 1930s. But it was her wartime songs that won her fame and led to British tanks trundling into battle with "Vera” painted on their sides and more than 1,000 written offers of marriage from servicemen.
In 1941, she began a weekly radio broadcast from London called Sincerely Yours in which she relayed messages from British troops serving in all war theatres to their loved ones.
She also toured Burma in 1944 and was later presented with the Burma Star medal.
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