Dame Vera Lynn passed away this Thursday morning at her home in Ditchling, East Sussex, surrounded by her close family.

A statement from her family said they are all deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best loved entertainers at the magnificent age of 103.

Known as ‘The Forces Sweetheart’ in 1939 Vera first recorded the song ‘We’ll meet again’ which became such a song of hope for all those troops, from all nations, who were fighting abroad during World War 2.

During the war she travelled extensively entertaining the troops in India, Egypt, Burma and elsewhere, living in the same conditions that they did, where she would rally them as they spent so much time away from home.

She was born in East London, in East Ham, in 1917, the daughter of a plumber and a dressmaker and despite serious illness in her very early years she started performing at just the age of 7.

Her first radio broadcast, with the Joe Loss Orchestra, was in 1935 with her first solo record released a year later but it was not until 1937, when she moved to the aristocrat of British dance bands, Bert Ambrose, that Lynn made her first hit recordings, “The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot” and “Red Sails in the Sunset”.

Her rendition of We’ll Meet Again became an anthem for hope during World War Two.

As well as her duties on stage Dame Vera also did an enormous amount of charity work for ex-servicemen as well as for breast cancer charities.

She was someone who became a much loved part of British culture and even had a street named in her honour, Vera Lynn Close, in Forest Gate, London.

In 1976 Lynn was made a dame and in 2000 she was named as the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th Century.

As she turned 100 in 2017, she looked back on her life. She established the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity in 2001. And she said it is her charity work – not her wartime bravery – for which she wants to be remembered.

“I’d love it to be my legacy,” she said. “I’ve never considered my actions as courageous. I was just doing my job.”

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