On Thursday 18th June, Dame Vera Lynn passed away at the age of 103 and since the news of her death, tributes have been pouring in from celebrities and members of The Royal Family. However, it was a speech from Her Majesty The Queen back in April 2020 that will perhaps go down as Dame Vera Lynn’s everlasting tribute.
Her Majesty The Queen made a special Coronavirus broadcast to the nation in April where she said “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return; we will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again.” This last line was, of course, a reference to Dame Vera Lynn’s most famous and memorable song ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and even struck a chord with the singer herself.
In an interview with The Sun following The Queen’s historic broadcast, Dame Vera Lynn said she believed those poignant words would bolster a beleaguered nation.
Speaking of The Queen’s choice of words, Dame Vera said, “I watched The Queen’s speech which was wonderful, but I didn’t know that Her Majesty was going to finish up with the words, ‘we will meet again’. I have met The Queen on a number of occasions. You have to have something and someone that we can all look up to and rely on in times of trouble, and Her Majesty is that person.”
Following that historic speech, Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ began to rise up the music charts. It had risen 689 places to number 22 on the iTunes chart by the Monday afternoon.
Dame Vera Lynn was born in East Ham, London in March 1917 as the First World War raged on. At the age of seven she was singing in Working Men’s Clubs and by the age of nineteen she had recorded her first solo record entitled ‘Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire’.
It was during the Second World War that Dame Vera became a national icon with her songs that roused the spirits of those on the Home Front and all those soldiers abroad. Her songs, including The White Cliffs of Dover and There’ll Always Be an England, lifted the spirits of a nation during its darkest days from 1939 – 1945. It was this morale boosting that gave Vera the title of Forces Sweetheart and in later years she became affectionately known as the Nations Sweetheart.
Tributes have poured in for Dame Vera Lynn including from Prime Minister Boris Johnson who said the singer’s “charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours.” Katherine Jenkins said, “I simply cannot find the words to explain just how much I adored this wonderful lady.”
To echo the words of Boris Johnson, it is true that Dame Vera Lynn uplifted this country through some of its darkest hours. Not even Dame Vera would’ve imagined that her lyrics would become so true and would provide a much needed morale boost in 2020 as her country once again steers itself through it’s worst national crisis since the Second World War.
Dame Vera Lynn 1917-2020.
Photo: Allan Warren