Burma Star Recipient Accepts Linda Christas Award - Dame Vera Lynn
by Margaret Childs, Class of 2015
Dame Vera Lynn, one of Britain's most honored citizens, has accepted the Linda Christas historical celebrity award for 2014.
A chair to be known as the Vera Lynn Chair of Music has been established at the school. See Honorary Chairpersons
During World War II, Ms. Lynn appeared often to British troops in enemy controlled territories.
For her performance in 1944 at Shamsheernugger airfield before the Battle of Konhima in Burma, and for countless other instances in which Ms. Lynn's personal safety was anything but guaranteed, she received the Burma Star, one of the highest awards presented by Britain for service during World War II.
Vera Lynn is best known for her recording of We'll Meet Again (listen here) which she recorded in 1939. This song more than any other typified the heartfelt human element of World War II when millions of families parted for the duration of the War, as members ventured forth in the cause of freedom.
Lynn was voted by British servicemen as their favorite World War II entertainer in a service-wide poll.
In 1941, during the darkest days of the War, Vera Lynn created a radio program entitled Sincerely Yours during which she sent messages from loved ones to troops serving abroad. She and her quartet performed songs most requested by the soldiers. Lynn also visited many hospitals, especially interviewing new mothers, taking personal messages to be sent via the airways to their husbands overseas.
In 1943, Ms. Lynn appeared in the film We'll Meet Again.
Now in her 90's, Dame Vera Lynn is one of the last surviving members of a very elite group of World War II entertainers without whom the War would have been much more difficult to pursue in the way it was.
It is said that Vera Lynn revived the hearts and minds of soldiers everywhere, reminding them in the best possible way of the reasons for which they fought.
Vera Lynn was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1969 and promoted to Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the 1975 Queen's Birthday honors "for charitable services." She was made an Officer of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in 1998, and in 2000, Dame Vera received a special "Spirit of the 20th Century Award."
A street named in her honor, Vera Lynn Close, is located in Forest Gate, London.
Lynn's last known public performance took place outside Buckingham Palace in 1995 in a ceremony that marked the golden Jubilee of VE Day.
It is said of Dame Vera Lynn that a grateful world will never forget her generous and courageous heart.