Dame Vera Lynn
UK

Dame Vera Lynn: Forces' Sweetheart Dies Aged 103

She was known as the Forces' Sweetheart due to her performances during World War Two.

Dame Vera Lynn

Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn has died at 103, the singer’s family have said.

Her family said they were "deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers".

She was surrounded by her family when she passed away earlier this morning.

Born in East Ham, London, on 20 March 1917, Dame Vera became known for entertaining troops during the Second World War.

The singer made several morale-boosting visits to the front line during the period, often at great personal risk.

She was best known for songs such as 'We'll Meet Again', 'The White Cliffs Of Dover', 'There’ll Always Be An England', 'I’ll Be Seeing You', 'Wishing' and 'If Only I Had Wings'.

In April, Her Majesty the Queen referenced 'We'll Meet Again' during an address to the nation.

"My songs reminded the boys of what they were really fighting for," Dame Vera once said, describing the hits as "precious, personal things, rather than ideologies and theories".

Last month, Dame Vera became the oldest artist to reach the top 40 in the UK album charts when her greatest hits compilation re-entered at number 30.

Dame Vera Lynn rehearsing at microphone cover image 300756 CREDIT PA
Dame Vera Lynn was famous for entertaining personnel during World War Two. Here she is at a rehearsal in 1956 (Picture: PA).

Many have already paid tributes to the star, who recently stressed the importance of remembering "the brave boys and what they sacrificed for us" on the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The Queen is to send a private message of condolence to Dame Vera Lynn's family.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Dame Vera's "charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours".

"Her voice will live on to lift the hearts of generations to come," he added.

The Defence Secretary, meanwhile, praised her "iconic performances" adding that they were "critical in the war".

"Her voice will remain with us forever," Ben Wallace added.

Sir Andrew Gregory, Controller at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said the organisation was "greatly saddened" to hear news of Dame Vera's passing.

"Her work with the forces community spanned a lifetime and she will always be remembered as the original Forces' Sweetheart," Sir Andrew said.

Captain Tom Moore posted on Twitter, saying: "She had a huge impact on me in Burma and remained important to me throughout my life."

Details on a memorial service for Dame Vera will be announced at a later date, according to her family.

Cover image: A photograph of Dame Vera Lynn taken in March 2020 (Picture: Susan Fleet).

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