British icon Vera Lynn, famous for the wartime classic, We’ll Meet Again, died today at age 103, her charity announced.
Lynn died peacefully surrounded by family, said the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity. She had been residing in Ditchling, East Sussex, England.
Tributes came in from across the world, including from Elton John, who posted: “Vera Lynn was a genuine British icon. She galvanised Britain during its darkest hours – bringing people together through her music and healing the nation. She was elegant, humble and had the voice of an angel. She will live on in the hearts of millions.”
Lynn is best known for We’ll Meet Again (1939) and The White Cliffs of Dover (1942). We’ll Meet Again surged in popularity this year after Queen Elizabeth II referenced the lyrics in her address to the nation on April 5. It was also a part of the VE Day celebrations on May 8.
Lynn toured across the world during World War II, entertaining allied troops and visiting hospitals. We’ll Meet Again‘s nostalgic lyrics (“We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day”) symbolized many soliders’ hopes of winning the war and returning home.
Below is a video retrospective from Guardian News.
Lynn was interviewed recently by Radio Times below.
About Vera Lynn (from Wikipedia)
Dame Vera Margaret Lynn née Welch; born 20 March 1917) is a British singer of traditional popular music, songwriter and actress, whose musical recordings and performances were enormously popular during the Second World War.(
She is widely known as “the Forces’ Sweetheart” for giving outdoor concerts for the troops in Egypt, India, and Burma during the war as part of Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA). The songs most associated with her are “We’ll Meet Again“, “The White Cliffs of Dover“, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” and “There’ll Always Be an England“.
She remained popular after the war, appearing on radio and television in the UK and the US and recording such hits as “Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart” and her UK number one single “My Son, My Son“. Her last single, “I Love This Land“, was released to mark the end of the Falklands War. In 2009, at the age of 92, she became the oldest living artist to top the UK Albums Chart, with compilation album We’ll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn. Lynn also scored a number one in 2014, when she was 97, with the collection Vera Lynn: National Treasure, and remains the oldest person to top the album charts. Further, she released the compilation album of hits Vera Lynn 100 in 2017, to commemorate her centennial year, and it was a number-3 hit, making her the first centenarian performer to have an album in the charts.
She has devoted much time and energy to charity work connected with ex-servicemen, disabled children, and breast cancer. She is held in great affection by veterans of the Second World War and in 2000 was named the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th century.
Lynn is best known for her 1939 recording of the popular song “We’ll Meet Again“, written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles; the nostalgic lyrics (“We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day”) were very popular during the war and made the song one of its emblematic hits. During the Phoney War, the Daily Express asked British servicemen to name their favourite musical performers: Vera Lynn came out on top and as a result became known as “the Forces’ Sweetheart”.
In 1941, during the darkest days of the Second World War, Lynn began her own radio programme, Sincerely Yours, sending messages to British troops serving abroad. She and her quartet performed songs most requested by the soldiers. Lynn also visited hospitals to interview new mothers and send personal messages to their husbands overseas. Her other great wartime hit was “The White Cliffs of Dover“, words by Nat Burton, music by Walter Kent.
In March 1944, she went to Shamshernagar airfield in Bengal to entertain the troops before the Battle of Kohima. Her host and lifelong friend Captain Bernard Holden recalled “her courage and her contribution to morale”. In 1985, she received the Burma Star for entertaining British guerrilla units in Japanese-occupied Burma.