Dame Vera Lynn, Britain’s World War II ‘Forces’ Sweetheart,’ Dies at 103

Dame Vera Lynn, the woman whose voice boosted British spirits during the darkest days of World War II, has died at 103.Her family did not give a cause of death when it announced her passing Thursday in East Sussex.Along with Winston Churchill’s, Lynn’s was the most recognized and renowned British voice of World War II.She was known as the “Forces’ Sweetheart,” serenading Allied soldiers and the British people with such sentimental but optimistic ballads as “We’ll Meet Again,” “The White Cliffs of Dover” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.”FILE – Singing star Vera Lynn tries on a lampshade in London, Nov. 30, 1961.She also hosted “Sincerely Yours,” a hugely popular BBC radio show during the war that included messages to British soldiers and sailors overseas and songs she sang at their request.Lynn also toured army camps, entertaining British troops in person.”What they needed was a contact from home,” she said. “I entertained audiences from 2,000 to 6,000. And the boys would just come out of the jungle and sit there for hours waiting until we arrived and then slip back in once we’d left.”Her popularity endured after the war.A decade before the Beatles, her 1952 recording of “Auf Wiedersehen Sweetheart” made her the first British singer to top the American record charts.She also found renewed fame when director Stanley Kubrick played her vintage recording of “We’ll Meet Again” near the end of his 1964 film “Dr. Strangelove.”Long after she retired, a 2009 compilation album, “We’ll Meet Again — The Very Best of Vera Lynn,” was a top-selling recording in Britain.Prime Minister Boris Johnson said her “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.”Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth plans to send a personal note of condolence to Lynn’s family. 

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