Dame Vera Lynn, the British singer and “Forces’ Sweetheart” whose song ‘We’ll Meet Again’ helped raise morale in World War II, has died at the age 103.
The singer’s family, who was with her when she died at her East Sussex home, confirmed the news on Thursday morning (June 18), the BBC reports. “The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers at the age of 103,” a statement said.
Lynn was born in 1917 in East Ham, on the outskirts of London, and began performing at the age of seven. She released her debut solo recording, ‘Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire’, in 1936, while she was working at an East End shipping company. During the second world war, Lynn hosted a popular radio program called ‘Sincerely Yours’ and toured for troops across Egypt and India, which earned her the nickname “the Forces’ Sweetheart.”
The singer’s most popular song was ‘We’ll Meet Again’, released in 1939 and written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles, which became the defining song of the British campaign and a symbol of hope for departing soldiers. Some of her other hits include ‘There’ll Be Bluebirds Over’, ‘There’ll Always Be an England’, and ‘Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart’, which reached No. 1 in the US.
In 2009, Lynn became the oldest living artist to get a top 40 album in the UK with her greatest hits compilation We’ll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn. In 2018, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Classic Brit Awards.