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Singer Dame Vera Lynn Passes Away Aged 103 Years

Memories of my grandmothers brown Bakelite ‘Wet & Dry Battery’ valve radio of the 1950’s, were vividly revived again today, on learning that singer Dame Vera Lynn had passes away this morning, aged 103 years.

Her family confirmed today that the inspirational and iconic singer Dame Vera Lynn had sadly passed away, surrounded by her close family.

Video shown above contains just one of Dame Vera Lynn’s most famous songs, “We’ll Meet Again” was released in 1939 and as war progressed it increasingly resonated with the British public. In Vera’s own words; “It’s a good song as it goes with anyone anywhere saying goodbye to someone.”

Fondly known as “the forces’ sweetheart” due to her down-to-earth style, quickly established her as the public’s favourite antidote to both the misery of the blackouts and her often morale-boosting visits to front line troops during World War II.

Born in London’s East Ham in 1917, daughter of plumber Bertram Samuel Welch (1883–1955) and dressmaker Annie Martin (1889–1975), who had married in 1913, she left school at age 11. She made her first solo recordings, which included “Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire” and “The little boy that Santa Clause forgot” at the age of 19 years, and just some of her better known and much loved hits include; “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” and “There’ll Be Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs Of Dover”. By the age of 22 years she had sold more than one million records.

A huge part of her appeal during wartime came from her BBC radio programme “Sincerely Yours”, which ran during 1941 and 42 taking the form of “A letter to the men of the Forces, in words and music”.

In 1941, Dame Vera married Harry Lewis, a clarinettist and saxophonist whom she had had met two years previous. They had a child in March of 1946, Virginia Penelope Anne Lewis, (now Lewis-Jones). Her husband sadly passed away in 1998.

In 1976, Dame Vera received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the Memorial University of Newfoundland. She received the Freedom of the City of London in 1978 and in 2000, she received a “Spirit of the 20th Century” Award in a nationwide poll in which she won 21% of the vote.

Requiescat in Pace.

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