DAME Vera Lynn is the forces sweetheart whose songs boosted the morale of troops during the Second World War.
The singer celebrated her 100th birthday in 2017 and now the veteran star’s hit We’ll Meet Again is inspiring the nation once more after The Queen referenced her song in her address to the nation during coronavirus lockdown.
Who is Vera Lynn and what is her background?
Vera Lynn, 103, was born in East Ham on March 20, 1917.
She is a singer, songwriter and actress who became hugely popular during World War Two and was widely referred to as “the Forces’ Sweetheart”.
She began performing at the age of seven and gave up school aged 11 to start touring.
By the 1930s she was a popular radio performer and she released her first solo record in 1936.
When did Vera Lynn sing We’ll Meet Again?
Dame Vera is best known for her 1939 hit We’ll Meet Again, which was hugely popular with troops posted overseas and their families back home.
In the early stages of the war she was voted Britain’s most popular singer.
She would tour the world to entertain the troops during wartime, often at great personal risk, as part of the Entertainments National Service Association.
Among her other best-known songs are I’ll Be Seeing You, The White Cliffs of Dover, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and There’ll Always Be An England.
Films she has appeared in include: We’ll Meet Again (1943), Rhythm Serenade (1943), One Exciting Night (1944) and Meet Again (2014).
Once the war ended, Dame Vera decided to raise her daughter, Virginia – but she still remained popular.
How old is Dame Vera Lynn?
Dame Vera turned 100 on March 20, 2017 and marked the occasion by releasing a new album.
In doing so, she broke her own recording for being the oldest person to release a new album – having last released an album in 2014, aged 97.
She also currently holds the record for being the oldest living artist to get a top 20 UK album.
The much-loved singer also celebrated her birthday with a charity concert, showcasing some of the best of British talent at the London Palladium.
What happened at the White Cliffs of Dover for Dame Vera Lynn’s birthday?
In honour of Dame Vera’s milestone birthday, footage of her performing her classic song appeared on the White Cliffs of Dover.
This was done through the use of cinema projectors and it was broadcast during The One Show on BBC1.
The larger-than-life projected figure performed the 1942 hit song The White Cliffs of Dover.
This song was used as encouragement for soldiers and their families during the war reminding them that it would eventually come to an end and they would be reunited with their loved ones.
How many albums has Dame Vera released?
Dame Vera has released 22 original albums, the first one came out in 1949 and was called Sincerely Yours and the last one was called Vera Lynn Remembers, released 1984.
When was Dame Vera’s album released?
The album was released on March 17, 2017 three days before her 100th birthday.
Dame Vera said: “It’s truly humbling that people still enjoy these songs from so many years ago, reliving the emotions of that time – I was after all just doing my job as a singer – and it’s so wonderful for me to hear my songs again so beautifully presented in a completely new way.”
What did Dame Vera Lynn do after the war?
Vera has also devoted much of her time to charity work, helping ex-servicemen, disabled children, and breast cancer charities.
The wartime singer founded a cerebral palsy charity named the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity in 2002, which provides support and education for affected families.
She was awarded with the British War Medal 1939-45 and the Burma Star.
She was also given an OBE in the 1969 New Year Honours and was later advanced to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 1975 Queen’s Birthday Honours for charitable services.
In 2000, she was named the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th century and last year she was made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in Her Majesty’s Birthday Honours list.