Beloved at home and abroad
Vera began singing in public at the age of 7. When she was 11, she adopted her maternal grandmother’s maiden name to use as a stage name. She left school at 14 after being spotted by a booking agent who found her work at parties and events.
By age 22, she sold more than a million records and is especially remembered for singing 'The White Cliffs of Dover', 'There Will Always Be an England' and 'I’ll Be Seeing You'.
However, Vera is best known for her rendition of the popular song 'We’ll Meet Again', written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles. When the song debuted in 1939, Vera’s wistful low-pitched rendition of the poignant lyrics resonated with service personnel and their families. The song beautifully articulated the yearning felt by those separated from their loved ones by war.
As a result of her popularity, Vera was given her own BBC radio show, Sincerely Yours, Vera Lynn, in November 1941. On it she sent messages to British troops serving abroad and sang soldiers' requests, backed by a quartet of musicians. Vera also visited wounded personnel in hospital and interviewed soldiers' wives to send personal messages to their absent husbands. She went on tour and performed outdoor concerts for the troops in Egypt, India and Burma.
She remained popular after the war, frequently appearing on stage, radio and television. She was a much-loved guest on The Mike Walsh Show here in Australia. This is a clip of Vera being interviewed by Mike Walsh in 1979: