The life and music of Vera Lynn in WW 2

Dame Vera Margaret Lynn (nee Welch), born in 20 March 1917, in East Ham, Essex, England, was widely referred to as the “Forces’ Sweetheart” during World War 2. She was an English singer, songwriter and entertainer, who were part of the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) which gave outdoor concerts for the troops. Here, we remember the life and music of Vera Lynn, who shone a light through her voice, in the midst of war. John Eilermann

Image source: telegraph.co.uk

Vera Lynn began singing, touring men’s clubs at the age of 7. But it was only at the age of 11 when Vera went to adopt her grandmother’s maiden name (Lynn) as she joined the singing troupe Madame Harris’s Kracker Kabaret Kids. In 1935, Vera Lynn had an opportunity to sing with the Joe Loss Orchestra in what would be her first radio performance. Two years later, in 1937, Lynn recorded her first hits “The Little Boy Santa Claus Forgot” and “Red Sails in the Sunset.” John Eilermann

Image source: media.npr.org

Lynn’s popularity during the war began when she would sing to people who were using the London’s tube station platforms as air raid shelters. Vera Lynn’s name came on top of a list of favorite performers as a result of a survey of British servicemen. She continuously performed with her quartet, doing songs most requested by soldiers. Her wartime hits include “We’ll Meet Again” and the “White Cliffs of Dover.” John Eilermann

Vera Lynn continued to perform even after the war. In 1969, Lynn became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), and in 1975, was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). She wrote three memoirs – Vocal Refrain (1975), We’ll Meet Again (1989; with Robin Cross & Jenny de Gex), and Some Sunny Day (2009). Vera Lynn died in 18 June 2020 at the age of 103. John Eilermann

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