Monday, August 31, 2009

Dame Vera Lynn

This being the anniversary of the beginning of World War II (see the post below), I spent a while today thinking of my late parents (my mother died a few years ago, and my father in July this year).

They met in 1940, married in early 1941, and were immediately separated for three years while Dad went off to fight the war overseas. I've written about his service in Weekend Wings #9, so I won't repeat the story here. Suffice it to say that he had an interesting and sometimes dangerous war, matched by my mother on the home front, who had to stay up many nights to fight fires caused by German incendiary bombs, and work to support the troops.

The songs of Vera Lynn meant a great deal to both of them. Her music seemed to capture the mood of the British people in a very special way, and she became justly renowned for her efforts to build up morale and 'keep the home fires burning'. She was justly raised to the Order of the British Empire after the war as a reward for her efforts.

In later life, my folks kept a couple of long-playing records of Vera Lynn. They would listen to her songs now and again, and I saw both of them surreptitiously wiping away a tear or two when they thought no-one was looking.

On this anniversary of the start of World War II, and in memory of my parents, here are three of Vera Lynn's best-known songs, courtesy of YouTube.

Dame Vera is still alive and well. A BBC report and video interview with her, filmed on August 24th this year, may be found here (I can't embed it on my blog, because embedding has been disabled for it). At the age of 92, she's just entered the British Top 20 charts yet again, with the release of another compilation of her wartime hits. In doing so, she's beaten U2, Eminem and other modern hit groups and artists. Way to go, Dame Vera!



Trochilus said...


Thank you very kindly for the link to the recent BBC interview with Dame Vera. It was fascinating to learn that she felt sure the outbreak of war 70 years ago would be the end of her then-emerging entertainment career.

And just look at the affection those old troopers have for her.

What a gal!

I was also disappointed to learn that the BBC video could not be embedded. Yesterday, I posted a lengthy piece about Vera, and having found the link to the interview on your site, I updated my post, with a hat tip to you, of course!

Thanks again.

HankH said...

Thanks for another great series of posts! These are especially meaningful to me as my mother's parents were members of the Dutch resistance/underground during the war. After the war, my grandfather, Henry Van Veldhuizen (who I was named after) was commandant of a prison camp for Dutch collaborators prior to his immigration to Cananda.