#RespectYourElders: Dame Vera Lynn was an English singer, songwriter, and entertainer who recently passed away in June at 103 years old. Lynn is well known for her music and support of the British troops in WWII.
Lynn was born in London’s East Ham neighborhood in 1917. By the age of 11, people around her noticed her gift for singing, so she left school to pursue a full-time career as a singer and a dancer.
In 1939, WWII erupted and millions of British troops prepared for battle with the Axis powers. That year, at the young age of 22, Lynn was voted by service members as their favorite entertainer and became known as the “Forces’ Sweetheart.” At this point, she had sold more than a million records. Lynn traveled to Myanmar, India and Egypt to sing for and boost morale for troops.
“Her voice brought comfort to millions in their darkest hours, her songs filled the nation’s hearts with hope, and her emotive performances, whether home or abroad, then or now, helped to get us through,” said singer Katherine Jenkins.
Lynn’s most well-known songs include The White Cliffs Of Dover, There’ll Always Be An England, I’ll Be Seeing You, and Wishing and We’ll Meet Again.
In 1941, Lynn married Harry Lewis, an English saxophonist and clarinetist. They had one daughter, Virginia Penelope Ann. Lynn said her reason for only having one child was so that she could carry on working.
Following the war, she toured the Commonwealth, performed in a Las Vegas cabaret, and played for the British Royal Family. Lynn also performed on television and became the first British singer to top the charts in the U.S. At the time of her death she had nearly 96 years in the music industry.
Lynn recently spoke in May in celebration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the day that the Nazis officially surrendered to the Allied powers.
“Most of all, I hope today serves as a reminder that however hard things get, we will meet again,” Lynn said.