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Dame 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.