World War II British forces’ sweetheart singer Vera Lynn dies aged 103

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KATHMANDU: British singer, songwriter and entertainer Dame Vera Lynn, who became a voice of hope in Britain during World War II and was known as the Forces’ Sweetheart, has died at the age of 103.

In a statement, her family said, “The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers at the age of 103… Dame Vera Lynn, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, passed away earlier today, 18 June 2020, surrounded by her close family.”

During the World Ward II Lynn got crowds singing, smiling and crying with sentimental favourites such as We’ll Meet Again, and The White Cliffs of Dover. These songs gave voice to the hopes and fears about the conflict with Nazi Germany, writes Reuters.

In 2017, to mark her 100th birthday, a giant image of Lynn as a young woman was projected on to those white cliffs and a new album released.

In April, Queen Elizabeth used words from Lynn’s song to tell Britian, “We will meet again” and urged people to show resolve during the coronavirus lockdown, which brought her in headlines again, as per Reuters.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Dame Vera Lynn’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.”

According to Reuters, Lynn was born Vera Welch on March 20, 1917 and was singing in working men’s clubs at the age of seven. She began radio broadcasts and singing with bands in the late 1930s. But it was her wartime songs that won her fame and led to British tanks trundling into battle with ‘Vera’ painted on their sides and more than 1,000 written offers of marriage from servicemen.

In 1941, she began a weekly radio broadcast from London called Sincerely Yours in which she relayed messages from British troops serving in all war theatres to their loved ones, Reuters writes.

Lynn’s biggest hit with a German title Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart came after the war and was backed by a soldiers’ chorus — it was sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and made Lynn the first British performer to top the US hit parade.

In 1975 Lynn was given the title of Dame of the British Empire.

She married Harry Lewis — a clarinet player, in 1941, who also became her manager.

 


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