Happy Birthday Dame Vera Lynn. Yes, you are 100 years old today. What a remarkable achievement from an amazing lady. Her voice: so recognisable, provided comfort during Britain’s darkest hours in the Second World War.
This remarkable lady did so much to support the troops fighting overseas, and also the civilians being bombed in the United Kingdom.
During the Second World War many professional actors and entertainers were part of ENSA (Entertainment National Service Association). The roster was the ‘Whose Who” of the entertainment world and included Oscar winning actresses and top musicians. I have met a couple of these performers over the years and their job was to keep up the morale of the troops.
Vera Lynn was also part of ENSA, but she also did a lot of work for civilians. She was already a recognisable star and had her own radio programme where she sent messages and dedications to the troops from their families. She would go into hospitals and interview new mothers to send the messages.
As a singer, her pure, clear voice gave hope to people missing their loved ones; that they would see each other in the future. She sang to the troops and amazingly was awarded a Burma Star for entertaining the troops in Burma/Japan. In a world where everything was uncertain and so many people lost loved ones and friends, she gave great comfort. ‘We’ll meet again’ and “White Cliffs of Dover” are nostalgic memories of a terrible time for the United Kingdom.
After the war she devoted her time to charity fundraising. And as a person, she is held in very high regard by the war veterans, and civilians who lived through the Second World War. The voice has the power to move people in a personal way, since singing is from the heart. And Vera Lynn demonstrates that so clearly.
I have shared some videos below of her beautiful singing and also a documentary about her live.