Forces sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynn, dies aged 103
Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn has died aged 103.
The singer entertained troops with morale-boosting visits to the front line during the Second World War.
Her family said in a statement they were “deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers at the age of 103”.
They added: “Dame Vera Lynn, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, passed away earlier today, 18 June 2020, surrounded by her close family.
“Further information regarding a memorial service will be announced at a later date.”
Earlier this year, ahead of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Dame Vera spoke of remembering “the brave boys and what they sacrificed for us”.
The Queen referenced the title of one of Dame Vera’s most beloved wartime songs when she told the country, separated from families and friends during the coronavirus lockdown: “We will meet again.”
She was also fondly remembered for singing The White Cliffs Of Dover, There’ll Always Be An England, I’ll Be Seeing You, Wishing and If Only I Had Wings, to help raise British spirits during the Blitz.
“My songs reminded the boys of what they were really fighting for,” she once said. “Precious, personal things, rather than ideologies and theories.”
Dame Vera later had her own television show and toured the world.
She remained an outspoken supporter of military veterans throughout her life.
In May, she urged the nation to “remember the brave boys and what they sacrificed for us”.
She added: “They left their families and homes to fight for our freedom and many lost their lives trying to protect us and our liberties.”
She also encouraged the British public to “rediscover that same spirit that saw us through the war” amid the coronavirus pandemic, in a special message before she turned 103 in March.
Dame Vera was born in East Ham, east London, on March 20, 1917.
She performed for troops during the war, often at great personal risk, in countries including Egypt, India and Burma.
In May this year, Dame Vera became the oldest artist to score a top 40 album in the UK.
The 103-year-old saw her greatest hits album 100 re-enter the chart at number 30, boosted by commemorations for the 75th anniversary of VE day on May 8.