Singer Vera Lynn outside Buckingham Palace after being invested a Dame Commander of the British Empire 021275 CREDIT PA
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D-Day Veteran Recalls Childhood Memories Of Dame Vera Lynn

Major (Ret’d) Ted Hunt, who fought in Normandy, knew Dame Vera growing up and said her singing was "so good".

Singer Vera Lynn outside Buckingham Palace after being invested a Dame Commander of the British Empire 021275 CREDIT PA

A D-Day veteran has been speaking to Forces News about his childhood memories of growing up with Dame Vera Lynn, who has died aged 103. 

Born in London on 20 March 1917, Dame Vera went on to entertain Second World War troops during several morale-boosting visits to the frontline.

Known for songs such as 'The White Cliffs Of Dover', 'There’ll Always Be An England' and 'I’ll Be Seeing You', the singer was affectionately called the ‘Forces Sweetheart’.

Major Ted Hunt, who fought in Normandy, knew Dame Vera Lynn as a teenager.

“I knew Vera Lynn first when she was 16 and I was 14," he said.

Mr Hunt told Forces News she was singing at the East Ham Working Men’s club on the Barking Road at the time.

"She was so good, and that’s where she started learning the trade that she finished up knowing better than anyone," he said.

Mr Hunt, a former Royal Engineer, said Dame Vera's visits to the frontline were important for troops during the war.

“You don’t hear any English female voices, you know, when you’re involved in battle, shall we say, in Normandy," he said.

"For that voice to come over, and it was so genuine, so you felt that she really meant what she had to say and what she said was so appropriate."

“She did so much and it was so very much appreciated.”

WATCH: A look back at the life of the 'Forces' Sweetheart'.

"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".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said 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.

In April, the Queen referenced 'We'll Meet Again' in an address to the nation during the coronavirus outbreak.

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

Mr Hunt also spoke of how Dame Vera’s heart and compassion was clear to see on the last time he saw her.

He said: “I lived near Worthing, and the local veterans’ home was known as Gifford House in those days and just a few years ago, they were celebrating a special birthday and Vera Lynn was going to be there.

"It was packed with veterans and others and I thought 'well, she’ll probably pop in and disappear', but oh no.

“She stayed all afternoon”, he said, adding: “The lovely Vera, she certainly knew what to say, the Forces Sweetheart indeed."

Reflecting on Dame Vera's passing, Mr Hunt said: “I think her loss will be felt this coming weekend, more than most have been felt in recent times.

"She was a lovely, lovely lady who deserved the honours that she'd received over the years.”

Cover image: Singer Vera Lynn outside Buckingham Palace after being invested as a Dame Commander of the British Empire (Picture: PA).