7th June 2009

I always liked Vera Lynn, even though her songs were before my time. It was back when singers were famous for the quality of their voice rather than their dancing ability!
I was thinking of her yesterday whilst watching the news items in Bayeux on the 65th anniversary of the first D-Day liberation there. Sarkozy not only forgot to send the Queen an invitation, but also Dame Vera - both, in my view, instrumental in the allies' success, Vera winning over hearts and minds with her optimistic songs.
Surprisingly, Vera never came to France during the war to entertain the troops, although she gained her famous title 'The Forces' Sweetheart' from the British Expeditionary Forces in France. That was the result of a ballot run by the Daily Express for their favourite singer. Her programmes were heard all over Europe, people listening in cellars, haystacks, anywhere they were hiding.
She corrected her absence by buying a home in Golfe Juan in the Alpes-Maritimes, where for the past 30 years she and her husband Harry spend much of their time. At 92 she still has glowing skin and sparkling blue eyes - healthy like her French neighbours. She always felt that she would have been successful in France during the war years as "they sang my sort of song" - with a story to tell.
But We'll Meet Again is more than just a melody - it's the story of hope and courage of a whole generation, never to be forgotten.

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