Vera Lynn A Legend In Troop Entertaining

19 Oct

When I mention troop entertainers, one name stands out more than others. Yes you are right Vera Lynn. My first recollection of Vera Lynn was in the war years. I along with my parents, my brother and sister, all sitting round the fire in our backroom listening to the radio. When Vera Lynn sang, nobody said a word until she had finished singing. What a wonderful voice and without doubt a wonderful woman.
Dame Vera Lynn, DBE, was born Vera Margaret Welch on 20 March 1917 in East Ham. She began performing publicly at the age of seven; she adopted her grandmother’s maiden name (Lynn) as her stage name. Her first radio broadcast, was with the Joe Loss Orchestra, in 1935. At this point she was being featured on records released by dance bands including those of Joe Loss and of Charlie Kunz In 1936 her first solo record was released. She became enormously popular during the Second World War entertaining the Forces in Europe, Egypt, India and Burma, giving outdoor concerts for the troops. She became known, and is still referred to, as “The Forces Sweetheart”. In 1941, during the darkest days of World War II, Lynn began her own radio show,” Sincerely Yours,” sending messages to British troops serving abroad. She and her quartet performed songs most requested by the soldiers. Vera Lynn also visited hospitals to interview new mothers and send personal messages to their husbands overseas.
I have to mention. In 1985 it was announced that Vera Lynn would receive the Burma Star for entertaining British Guerilla units (Chindits) in Japanese-Occupied Burma territory. She lifted the hearts of the lads serving in the Burma theatre of war, making sure they were not forgotten. During those dark war years the songs most associated with her are “We’ll Meet Again” The White Cliffs Of Dover” “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” and “There Always Be An England” Vera Lynn remained popular after the war, appearing on radio and television in the UK and the United States and recording such hits as “Auf Wiederseh’n Sweetheart” and “My Son My Son.” I personally love to hear Vera Lynn singing “Land Of Hope And Glory” I get a tingling sensation in the back of the neck and making me so proud to be British of which I am
In 2009 she became the oldest living artist to make it to No. 1 on the British album chart, at the age of 92. She has devoted much time and energy to charity work connected with ex-servicemen, disabled children and breast cancer. She is still held in great affection by veterans who fought in the Second World War and in 2000 was named the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the twentieth century. I could go on forever about Vera Lynn, who indeed was an outstanding woman of the 20th Century.

Alan

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