The Sunday Magazine

A virtual performance by Vera Lynn to mark the 75th anniversary of VE-Day

London's Royal Albert Hall, which has been closed for the first time since the Blitz because of the COVID-19 pandemic, marked the 75th anniversary of VE-Day with a virtual concert, streamed on YouTube. One of the star performers: 103-year-old Dame Vera Lynn.

Lynn was the voice of the Second World War, the Forces' sweetheart

In this Nov. 10, 1948 photo, Vera Lynn plays the piano to her daughter Virginia at her apartment in north London. Seventy years after she first stepped into a recording studio, Dame Vera Lynn reached top of Britain's music charts with her album, We'll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn. (AP Photo)

Originally published in October 2009.

May 8, 2020 was the 75th anniversary of VE-Day — the day the Allies declared victory over Nazi Germany.

To mark the occasion, London's Royal Albert Hall — which has been closed for the first time since the Blitz because of the pandemic — held a virtual concert, streamed on YouTube. One of the star performers: 103-year-old Dame Vera Lynn, who sang a duet of We'll Meet Again with Katherine Jenkins.

If Churchill was the British face of the Second World War, Lynn was the voice — the Forces' sweetheart. 

She sang the songs of a generation at war, capturing the sentiments of Britain's servicemen and their loved ones, in songs like The White Cliffs of Dover and We'll Meet Again. It was an expression of yearning and hope behind the stiff upper lip of keeping calm and carrying on.

Dame Vera Lynn at a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, in central London on Aug. 20, 2010. The ceremony was held outside the WWII era British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's War Rooms to commemorate the anniversary. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo)

Little wonder that in April 2020, when Queen Elizabeth spoke to a Britain fighting a new and very daunting enemy in the COVID-19 pandemic, she invoked Lynn and said, "We'll meet again."

In 2009, 70 years after Britain declared war on Germany, Lynn's signature songs were re-released in an album called We'll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn.  It went straight to the top of the pop charts. 

At the same time, her autobiography, Some Sunny Day, was also a bestseller.

Dame Vera Lynn spoke with The Sunday Edition's host Michael Enright in October 2009, from her home in Ditchling, Sussex, England. At the time she was 92 years old.

Her VE-Day 75th anniversary concert performance from Royal Albert Hall is available on YouTube.

Click 'listen' above to hear the full conversation.

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