Death of a Sweetheart

 

Dame Vera Lynn dead: We'll Meet Again singer dies aged 103 | Metro ...Dame Vera Lynn has died at the age of 103.

Vera Margaret Welch was born on March 17, 1917, and was just 22 when she began driving herself to London Underground stations to sing to people taking shelter from the German air raids. Her biggest hit, We’ll Meet Again, was recorded in 1939, and was followed by years of selfless service to “her” troops as she’d go anywhere, at whatever danger to herself, to perform for them, including a tour of Japanese-occupied Burma to perform for the British guerilla troups there.

The men loved their “Forces Sweetheart,” and she kept faith with them for the rest of her life, remaining active in numerous veterans organizations and charities until today.

I can’t think of another Briton, other than the Queen (who invoked the spirit of We’ll Meet Again in her recent Covid-19 speech), who so exemplifies what used to be the spirit of a great nation. Look for what’s likely to be an all-too-brief outburst of national pride in one of its favorite citizens.

Her last public performance was in 1995, at the age of 78, at the fiftieth commemoration of VE-Day, in Trafalgar Square.

Since then, she’s done numerous interviews, and has released several very popular compilations of her hits. 

She has kept her promise. Rest in peace, dear lady. Pretty sure you’re among friends.

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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Beautiful.

    • #1
  2. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Wonderful song. Wonderful life.

    • #2
  3. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    She: including a tour of Japanese-occupied Burma to perform for the British guerilla troups there.

    Gutsy.

    • #3
  4. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Stad (View Comment):

    She: including a tour of Japanese-occupied Burma to perform for the British guerilla troups there.

    Gutsy.

    I think so too.  I remember, several years ago (it was probably that 50th VE Day anniversary in 1995), reading about her and being surprised that she was so very young during the war.

    • #4
  5. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    What a story!  What a dame!

    @she and @cliffordbrown –  I think this is a better example music motivating people than anything I  could come up with.  This could easily be today’s Group Writing post.

    • #5
  6. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Great post. Hard to believe there isn’t any other film of her during the wartime. Cheers and thanks.

    • #6
  7. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    I was surprised that Vera Lynn was still alive in 2020.  What a life.

    “We’ll Meet Again” almost brings a tear to my eye. (I said “almost.”  It’s a great nostalgic song, but tough guys like me don’t cry.)  I was seven when the war ended, but I still remember bits and pieces of those days in Los Angeles. They were eventful days.  Mom was working in the shipyards, Dad in the oil fields.  I was proud of my rations book.  Every member of the family had one with his name on it.  I remember that my uncle had a map on which he kept track, with little pins, of our soldiers’ march through France. 

    She, I’m glad you remembered Lynn and put up a post in her honor.  As Omega said, “What a dame!”

    • #7
  8. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    I was surprised that Vera Lynn was still alive in 2020. What a life.

    “We’ll Meet Again” almost brings a tear to my eye. (I said “almost.” It’s a great nostalgic song, but tough guys like me don’t cry.) I was seven when the war ended, but I still remember bits and pieces of those days in Los Angeles. They were eventful days. Mom was working in the shipyards, Dad in the oil fields. I was proud of my rations book. Every member of the family had one with his name on it. I remember that my uncle had a map on which he kept track, with little pins, of our soldiers’ march through France.

    Mr. She’s Dad was an ace welder at Pittsburgh’s Jones and Laughlin steel mill.  His Aunt Sophie was a “Rosie the Riveter” type.  His Uncle Bill and Uncle Joe were Seabees.  And Mr. She has memories that, perhaps, are not dissimilar to yours.

    She, I’m glad you remembered Lynn and put up a post in her honor. As Omega said, “What a dame!”

    Thanks.  There is nothing like a dame, and she was a particularly good one.

    • #8
  9. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Great post. Hard to believe there isn’t any other film of her during the wartime. Cheers and thanks.

    It is, but perhaps just a sign on the times, and what we’ve come to expect in a day and age when everything, everywhere is captured on video somewhere, somehow, whether we’re aware of it or not.  

    She did appear in a contemporaneous (1943) film, We’ll Meet Again,” which gives what must have been the flavor of some of her performances:

     

    • #9
  10. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Here’s the Telegraph obituary.  They do have a paywall, but also a number of “free articles” per month.  They’re always good reading, second only to Mark Steyn in the Ave atque Vale department, I think.

    The money quotes:

    Although carefully posed photographs made her stunningly attractive she was also the straightforward, toothy “girl-next-door” whom young servicemen would have liked to marry (while it was said sotto voce that they would have liked only to bed the leggy American actress Betty Grable). Living up to her image, she married one man, worked hard and, above all, was unflinchingly committed to her “boys”.

    These were the wartime servicemen all around the Commonwealth and, particularly, the troops of the “Forgotten Fourteenth Army” for whom she had sung in Burma in 1944. The bond she retained with them decades later awed sons and grandchildren who saw them singing along with her at concerts or on television; and no wartime commemoration seemed complete without her participation.

    That she was prepared to exercise her clout on their behalf was demonstrated in 1994 when she was first left out of plans for the commemoration of the D-Day invasion, and then so appalled by the “fun day” planned in Hyde Park that she announced that she would not sing in what was clearly intended to be a carnival atmosphere if the veterans did not like it. John Major’s government surrendered immediately; Peter Brooke, the Home Secretary, announced that ex-servicemen’s leaders were “kindly coming to discuss what the plans should be”.

    In 2008 she spoke up for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, who were coping with inadequate equipment , and the following year she complained about the failure of modern entertainers to make more trips to the front, suggesting that they perhaps travelled with too much to make it “through the jungle”.

    A woman who lived her values till the end.

    • #10
  11. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    She had a lovely smile to match her voice.

    • #11
  12. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    She,

    They don’t make’em like that anymore.

    Maybe they do. Somewhere.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
  13. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    When you sift the dross from the gold, Vera was gold indeed. Who among our contemporary singers will be celebrated at 100 for how they captured and inspired a nation?

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I first heard about her through you, She, and have followed your writing on her. She was a gem.

    • #14
  15. Dominique Prynne Member
    Dominique Prynne
    @DominiquePrynne

    In my professional career working with seniors over these last twenty years, I have had quite a few WW2 vets as clients.  (Early on of course, not so many now).  The stories these gentlemen shared with me have made such an impression and have sparked a tremendous interest in all things WW2.  Vera Lynn was one such discovery.  I am a sucker for a great torch song!  I just imagine the yearning of the girl back home waiting for the safe return of her G.I.   Lovely! 

    • #15
  16. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Statue in her honor. Stat. 

    • #16
  17. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    I have one of her albums.

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Statue in her honor. Stat.

    And make damn sure it can’t be pulled down later when she gets “cancelled” for being a “privileged white warmonger” or something.

    • #18
  19. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma
    @JosePluma

    We’ll Meet Again always brings a tear to my eye.  (Tough guys like me cry on occasion.)

    • #19
  20. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    We’ll Meet Again always brings a tear to my eye. (Tough guys like me cry on occasion.)

    Like at the end of Dr Strangelove?  :-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15YgdrhrCM8

     

    • #20
  21. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    We’ll Meet Again always brings a tear to my eye. (Tough guys like me cry on occasion.)

    Jose’s a crybaby. Jose’s a crybaby. 

    • #21
  22. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma
    @JosePluma

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    We’ll Meet Again always brings a tear to my eye. (Tough guys like me cry on occasion.)

    Jose’s a crybaby. Jose’s a crybaby.

    Thanks!

    (That just gave me an idea!)

    • #22
  23. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    I think I’m weeping partially at the loss of the civilizational confidence on display even in the 1995 footage, I can’t quite imagine such a celebration today without prune faced scolds and black block rioters ruining it. The 75th Anniversary of VE Day just passed without much mention and the  75 Anniversary of VJ Day coming up in Aug, I don’t suppose we’ll get through that with out more finger wagging and national self flagellation over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    • #23
  24. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    She (View Comment):

    Hi.

     

    I am trying to send you a message through the Ricochet message app and it wont let me.  Could you try sending me one, I want to see if you want to come on our new Podcast.

    Thanks

     

    • #24
  25. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Hi.

     

    I am trying to send you a message through the Ricochet message app and it wont let me. Could you try sending me one, I want to see if you want to come on our new Podcast.

    Thanks

     

    Sure.  Trying it now.

    • #25
  26. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Hi.

     

    I am trying to send you a message through the Ricochet message app and it wont let me. Could you try sending me one, I want to see if you want to come on our new Podcast.

    Thanks

     

    That will be a great interview. Looking forward to it.

    • #26