Dame Vera Lynn is an English singer who is better known as “the Forces' Sweetheart.” Even today, the smallest mention of Vera Lynn evokes dark images of World War II and Britons pushing out Nazi soldiers out of their bunkers. However, among the soldiers that served during the war, Lynn was a symbol of beauty, hope and the English spirit. She sang concerts, boosted morale and became an icon of hope during the violent war
Life in the aftermath of World War I
Born on 20 March 1917, the Great War ended just a year after her birth. Vera started singing and dancing at a young age of seven. The affinity soon evolved past a hobby. At the age of 18, she started singing with Joe Loss' orchestra and began recording. By the late 30s, she had already worked with Charlie Kunz and Bert Ambrose's bands, and she began her own radio programme, Sincerely Yours.
World War II
In 1939, she recorded We'll Meet Again, written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles which was a very popular song among soldiers during the world war. In 1941, she started sending messages to English troops serving abroad and performed songs requested by the troops.
Her other wartime hits include The White Cliffs of Dover, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and There'll Always Be an England. After the war ended, her decision to retire took the Britons by a storm. However, she started working again by the end of 1947.
Continued Success and Accolades
Her 1952 single Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart became the first record by a British performer to top the charts in the United States. Her success became more prominent and was immortalized in 1969 when she received an OBE from the British crown, and she was made Dame in 1975. The English rock band Pink Floyd honored Vera on their 1979 album, The Wall with a song titled Vera, referencing her and the song We'll Meet Again.
In 2016, Vera was awarded Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour medal by the Queen for 8 decades of service. Vera claimed that she was unaware of the award until she received it. She called it a pleasant surprise.
Personal Life and Net Worth
Vera settled down in Ditchling, Sussex in the early 1960s, where she resides to this day. In 2009, then 92-year-old became the oldest singer ever to top the British album charts with We'll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn.
The same year, she published her autobiography, Some Sunny Day. Vera has also published two memoirs: Vocal Refrain (1975) and We'll Meet Again (1989). Vera was married to Harry Lewis, a clarinetist and saxophonist until his death in 1998. They had one daughter, Virginia Penelope Anne Lewis. She released a compilation album, Vera Lynn 100 , three days prior to her 100th birthday in 2017. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at Classic Brit Awards in 2018. The 101 years old artist has released 22 original albums.
As of 2019, the centenarian has an estimated net worth of $20 million.