‘Til we meet again: forces’ sweetheart Vera Lynn defined wartime nostalgia
Refusing to adjust to every new, transient public mood, her respectable working-class values made her a legend
Dame Vera Lynn, who has died at the age of 103, symbolised the spirit and sentiment of World War 2 with evocative songs, which she continued to sing as the UK underwent enormous changes over the next 80 years.
Carpers sometimes complained that her best-known numbers were cloying and that she embodied values that were no more. But nobody doubted that she believed her singing had reminded combatants what they were really fighting for – as she put it, for “precious, personal things rather than ideologies which gave people hope of better times”.
Her warm place in the public imagination remained until long after she had ceased to have her own television show and had given up touring and singing in public. When We’ll Meet Again: the Very Best of Vera Lynn, a new collection of her old songs, came out in 2009 it outsold U2 and Eminem, pop artists of whom she had never heard, making her the oldest person to top the UK’s Top 10 album charts...