Died at 103, Dame Vera Lynn, the “darling of the Forces”, who serenaded British troops abroad during the Second World War, has died. During the war and long after, Lynn made crowds sing, smile and cry with sentimental favorites such as “We will meet again” and “The White Cliffs of Dover”.
“The family is deeply saddened to announce the death of one of the most beloved British artists at the age of 103,” his family said in a statement. “Dame Vera Lynn, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, died earlier in the day on June 18, 2020, surrounded by her close family. ”
Lynn had a down-to-earth appeal, reminding the military of those they had left behind.
“I was someone they could associate with,” she said to The Associated Press one day. “I was an ordinary girl. ”
Tributes pour in from political leaders, artists, veterans and thousands of fans.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his “magic and magical voice has delighted and elevated our country to some of our darkest hours. His voice will continue to lift the hearts of generations to come. ”
Lynn hosted a very popular BBC radio program “Sincerely Yours” during the war in which she sent messages to British troops overseas and performed the requested songs. The half-hour broadcast took place during the coveted slot following news on Sunday evening.
“Winston Churchill was my first part,” she said one day.
Lynn had thought that the war would jeopardize her chances of success.
“When the war started, when it was declared, I said to myself:” Well, my career is going well. “You know, I will end up in a factory or in the military or somewhere,” she recalls. “You imagined the closure of all theaters, which only happened when the sirens sounded. And everyone, if they wanted, could stay in the theater and the show would go on. ”
In September 2009, well after her retirement, Lynn topped the charts for British albums with a collection of best hits titled “We Will Meet Again – The Best of Vera Lynn”. It reached No. 1, despite competition from the release of the Beatles’ remastered albums.
In the midst of this year’s coronavirus epidemic, Lynn and opera singer Katherine Jenkins released a charity version of “We Will Meet.” Audiences found comfort in his words of hope, which echoed in the locked country.
In a reflection of her enduring appeal, Queen Elizabeth II also invoked the words of Lynn’s signature song as she addressed the locked-out nation. The monarch played on the theme of the song, promising that the loved ones would finally be reunited after being separated by the virus.
“We should be reassured because even if we have more to endure, better days will return,” said the queen. “We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we’ll see each other again. ”
Lynn earned his nickname, “The Forces‘ Sweetheart, “after leading a 1939 Daily Express poll that asked soldiers to name their favorite musical artists. Years later, she reflects on the time spent with soldiers abroad.
“What they needed was contact from their home,” she said. “I entertained an audience of 2,000 to 6,000 people. And the boys had just come out of the jungle and sat there for hours waiting for our arrival, then withdrew once we were gone. ”
The daughter of a plumber, Vera Margaret Welch was born on March 20, 1917 in the blue collar district of East Ham in London.
She took her stage name from her grandmother’s maiden name. She started singing in social clubs at the age of 7 and dropped out of school at 11 when she started touring Britain with a traveling variety show. At 17, she was a group singer, and at 21 – when the war started – she was a known artist.
She married musician Harry Lewis in 1941, and he later managed his career. They had a daughter, Virginia.
Lynn has appeared in a handful of films: “We will see each other again” (1942), playing a young dancer who discovers her singing voice; “Rhythm Serenade” (1943), in which she plays a woman who joins the Royal Navy and organizes a nursery in an ammunition factory; and “One Exciting Night” (1944), a comedy about a singer who is mistakenly caught in an abduction.
Although Lynn was best known for her work during the war, she was very successful in the post-war years. His 1954 “Auf Wiedersehen Sweetheart” became the first record by an English artist to top the US Billboard charts, staying there for nine weeks. Lynn’s career flourished in the 1950s, culminating in “My Son, My Son”, a No. 1 hit in 1954.
After moving away from the company for years, she made a 1970s single back “Don’t You Remember When” and even covered Abba’s “Thank You for Music”, but fans still wanted really hear the war classics. Lynn was made Lady of the British Empire in 1975.
In the years that followed, she continued to support the causes of veterans and to raise funds for cancer and cystic fibrosis research. She created her own charity for children with cerebral palsy and has been a strong advocate for its causes. She played an important role in a 1989 campaign to win a better pension agreement for widows of the Second World War, and until 2010 was actively involved in various charities for veterans.
On occasion, Lynn delighted fans by picking up the microphone. She sang outside Buckingham Palace in 1995 at a ceremony marking the Golden Jubilee on Victory Day. In recent years, Lynn has lived a quiet village life in Ditchling, about 40 miles south of London.
She made ephemeral mini-appearances, especially when veterans were involved. During last year’s ceremonies to mark the landing, a pre-recorded wish was played in a ballroom filled with veterans on a ship sailing to France to mark the event. Tears flowed as Lynn spoke. When she was done, the thunderous applause shook the windows.
They remembered her many appearances and the fact that she went to Burma to entertain the troops, one of the few artists to embark on the difficult journey.
Burmese veteran Tom Moore, who captured the heart of the nation by walking 100 towers from his garden as he approached his 100th birthday to raise funds for the National Health Service during the pandemic, described his death as ” real shame ”.
“I really thought Vera Lynn would live longer,” he says on Twitter. “She speaks so well on television recently. “