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Dame Vera Lynn

Updated on July 2, 2012

Vera Lynn

Dame Vera Lynn

Born Vera Margaret Welch on the 20th of March 1917, during the final stages of World war 1, in East Ham, London, England, UK.

She began singing at the age of seven in a working men's club, and later took her Grandmothers maiden Lynn name as her stage name.

Vera left school at the age of 14 to work in a factory but after working a few weeks in the factory she decided to return to singing in clubs.

At the age of 19 Vera Lynn made her Her first radio broadcast, with the Joe Loss Orchestra.

In 1936 she made her first solo record, on the Crown Record label, "Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire". This label was soon swallowed up by Decca Records.

In 1939 the same year that saw the outbreak of World War 2, Vera Married Saxophonist Harry Lewis.

The outbreak of World War 2 Proved to be the turning point of Vera Lynn's career.

In 1940 Vera began broadcasting with her own radio show "Sincerely yours", which was dedicated to sending Messages from families to British soldiers serving abroad. as part of the show she and a quartet performed songs that were most requested by the serving soldiers.

Vera Lynn In Uniform

We'll Meet Again Vera Lynn

The Forces Sweetheart

During the war years Vera Lynn's Career shone, she made hit record after hit record including, "Yours", "We'll Meet Again" and "The White Cliffs Of Dover". She became the most popular female vocalist in Britain and with UK Forces overseas, to whom she was known as "The Forces Sweetheart".

It was a newspaper that ran the Forces Sweetheart competition when the first batch of boys, the British Expeditionary Force, went to France at the end of 1939.

One comedian was heard to remark: "The war was started by Vera Lynn's agent!".

Vera also made three films, We'll Meet Again (1942), Rhythm Serenade (1943) and One Exciting Night (1944).

1944 She appeared in her own armed forces stage revue and toured with ENSA as far away as Burma.

We'll Meet Again

In Wartime Britain this was Vera Lynn's song. . It and "White cliffs of Dover" are considered THE wartime hits of WW2.

After the war ended in 1945 , she retired, assuming that no one would want her singing in case it reminded them of the war, but the forces in Occupied Germany made it clear they wanted her to visit them and bring a touch of home with her.

Dame Vera Lynn

After the War

From 1948-54, Vera Lynn had several US Top 30 hits, including "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" (the first record by a UK artist to top the US charts). In the UK during the 50s, Vera Lynn had many Top 30 entries,

She appeared at London's Adelphi Theatre in the revue London Laughs, which also featured young English comedians Jimmy Edwards and Tony Hancock.

Vera Lynn was appointed an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1969.

Since then she has worked less and less, preferring to save her performances for nostalgic occasions organized by bodies such as the Burma Star Association at London's Royal Albert Hall, and shows to mark the 50th anniversaries of the outbreak of World War II, the D-Day landings, and VE Day. She was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1975, and is still fondly regarded as a legend by a large proportion of the British public.

The United Kingdom's VE Day ceremonies in 2005 included a concert in Trafalgar Square in which Vera Lynn made a surprise appearance. She made a speech praising the veterans and calling upon the younger generation always to remember their sacrifice and joined in with a bar or two of We'll Meet Again.

Vera lynn Today is 91 years old and is still activly working for some charities.


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    • profile image

      Henry Samuels 

      7 years ago

      It was a great pleasure to hear Vera Lynn singing "We'll meet again as she was surely a moral booster to the troops.I served in the British Army during world war two and on the way to the middle east I was temporary stationed in Capetown for 2 months where I met a nice young lady. I coresponded with her after I was sent to Iraq. After spending some time there I was brought back to England and when I was about to board the landing craft for the invasion of Normandy I wrote that the future was uncertain due to the war. Anyhow she met a South African airman and got married. When I eventually got out of the army I joined a comedy musical act named the Harmonica Rascals that plyed variety theatres throughout England and Europe.8 yrs.later we were booked to do a tour of South Africa.When I arrived in Capetown I checked around the neighborhood where she used to live and I happened to come across some people who knew her and her husband and they got me in touch with them.During the month we were there they picked me up every Sunday and took me out for the day.Ever since I have been communicating with them up till about a year ago when I heard the sad news through their daughter that her mother is in a retirement home with dimenshor and that her father passed away. So as Vera Lynns song tells the story that "We'll meet again,it certainly worked that way for me. Thanks a million Vera, Wishing both you and your husband and family well and keep up singing with that wonderful voice of yours. In the event you would like to take a glimpse of my harmonica playing you can log on to Henry Samuels Harmonica You Tube. All the best. Henry Samuels.

    • talford profile image


      7 years ago from U.S.A.

      Very good.

    • harley cammell profile image

      harley cammell 

      8 years ago

      my name is harley and i am 12 and i absolutely love her music and what she did for the war effort is amazing. i sing all of her songs and i think they are just lovely.


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wonderful site. I was born five months after the war ended and my family sang "Our Vera's" songs for years at our parties and celebrations. I would have liked to hear a little of her private life, did she marry, have a family? But still a very interesting site.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Although long before my time, I love Vera Lynn's songs. My favourite is "We'll Meet Again". I first heard parts of her songs on a Remembrance Day special on the radio. I now have three of her CDs. She far outshines the modern "music".

    • Metisangel profile image


      9 years ago

      Oh Jimmy, I'm considered too young to like Vera Lynn's music - but let me tell you. When I grew up, my grandfather, who used to be in a big band and played trumpet and piano at the same time - taught me how to sing. I found Vera Lynn's music about 8 years ago when I found a record of hers in a Salvation Army Store, so you know that means that I picked it up for pennies. When I got it home and listened to it - something about that music and her voice just resonated in my soul.

      So, I put a "set of her music" together for myself to perform to try to make some money for myself. But, my greatest difficulty is that I have a mild brain injury which took all song lyrics from my head and doesn't allow me to memorize anymore hardly at all. So, when I go to try to "get a gig" as it's called in the music industry, I get given a very hard time.

      Last Valentines I did my Vera Lynn show at the hospital in the elderyly section. I received the highest compliment of my life.

      An older man stood up a the end to thank me for coming out and doing this show. Then he personally came to me and told me how he was in the military back in Britain just when she was gaining her popularity and he was at a group table with her 10 times and one of those times was backstage alone with her. The compliment I received was when he stated "I've never every heard another person who sounded so exactly like her, you had the hair on my body standing right up".

      I've never forgotten that compliment and I was not surpised this last while when worldwide they brought Vera Lynn to her popularity heights and gave her such vast attention, yet again.

      Vera Lynn certainly is something special and my most favorite of her songs which my mind does remember the beginning lyrics and how I wow people out when I suddenly sing acapala just to show them I can sing is "I Love You For Sentimental Reasons".

      Oh yes, Vera Lynn. . .a timeless music!

    • profile image

      Ron Evanas 

      9 years ago

      It's great to know that this lovely lady is still with us.

      I was born at the end of WW2 and Vera's songs were big favourites with my parents' generation. Her wonderful songs and beautiful, distinctive voice did so much to keep morale up during the dark days of war. It's so good that her recent CD release is such a smash hit.

    • profile image

      Anthony Ricketts 

      9 years ago

      I am a Hospital Radio Presenter and next Tuesday morning I will be doing a star portrait programme of Vera. I grew up listening to her,and to think she has topped the charts once again is GREAT.

      Good Luck


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Good to see more of The Dame,bit confused about the new cd cover ,the train on the picture wasn't made until the 1950s who let her down on that one ???

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      James Paterson 

      10 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks Chuck, although long before my time, I have become a big fan of the dame.....jimmy

    • Chuck profile image

      Chuck Nugent 

      10 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Great Hub Jimmy. I had heard the song, "The White Cliffs of Dover" but never knew anything about the person singing it. Now I know and am impressed with Dame Vera Lynn and her accomplishments.


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