Dame Vera Lynn dies aged 103

Forces' Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn has died aged 103.

The singer entertained troops with morale-boosting visits to the front line during the Second World War.

Her family said in a statement they were "deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain's best-loved entertainers at the age of 103".

They added: "Dame Vera Lynn, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, passed away earlier today, 18 June 2020, surrounded by her close family.

"Further information regarding a memorial service will be announced at a later date."

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(Original Caption) British singer and "The forces' sweetheart" during WW2, Vera Lynn. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Popular British singer Dame Vera Lynn, in action for the BBC. Original Publication: People Disc - HF0435 (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Dame Vera Lynn
Dame Vera Lynn Dies, Aged 103
British singer Dame Vera Lynn, who was very popular during WWII, has died at the age of 103
Dame Vera Lynn has died at the age of 103. The singer's sentimental songs became something of a soundtrack to the effort in the Second World War, earning her a damehood and OBE.
Dame Vera Lynn, who has died at the age of 103, found fame as the singing morale-booster for British troops – and those waiting at home for their return – during the Second World War.
In Pictures: The life of Dame Vera Lynn
In pictures: Dame Vera Lynn's life and career
UNSPECIFIED - circa 1970: (AUSTRALIA OUT) Photo of Vera LYNN (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)
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In Pictures: The life of Dame Vera Lynn
In Pictures: The life of Dame Vera Lynn
In Pictures: The life of Dame Vera Lynn
In Pictures: The life of Dame Vera Lynn
In Pictures: The life of Dame Vera Lynn
In Pictures: The life of Dame Vera Lynn
VE Day: How to join the Dame Vera Lynn singalong and what are the lyrics?
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1950: English singer Dame Vera Lynn poses for a portrait circa 1950 in New York city, New York. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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Vera Lynn (left) of forces Sweetheart fame, partners celebrated American songstress Dinah Shore in an impromtu rendering of sophisticated Lady at the London Palladium on August 31st 1948 (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 10: Vera Lynn and nine-year-old Hester Goldstein at a Christmas party for men, women and child victims of infantile paralysis. The party was held on 11 December 1949 in Seymour Hall, Marylebone, London. The attendees came from all over the UK and were driven to London in Red Cross ambulances. Vera Lynn, originally Vera Margaret Lewis (1917-), began singing in working men�s clubs at the age of seven. In 1935 she made her first radio broadcast. She went on to become the most popular female vocalist in Britain and earned a reputation as the �Forces� Sweetheart� with British Forces overseas during World War II. Created a Dame of the British Empire in 1975, she is particularly remembered for singing the wartime classic 'We'll Meet Again'�. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
British singer Vera Lynn, nicknamed the 'Forces' sweetheart'. Original Publication: Picture Post - 1992 - Girls Of The Victory Broadcast - pub. 1945 (Photo by Kurt Hutton/Getty Images)
19th May 1945: Forces sweetheart Vera Lynn singing with an orchestra for a broadcast. Original Publication: Picture Post - 1992 - Girls of the Victory Broadcast - pub. 1945 (Photo by Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Vera Lynn with her baby. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
You Can't Do Without Love, US lobbycard, Vera Lynn, (right), 1944. (Photo by LMPC via Getty Images)
Housewife Vera Lynn at home with her daughter Virginia, 17th March 1957. (Photo by Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Singer Vera Lynn and comedian Harry Secombe, right, sign autographs at the tea tables during the 'Not Forgotten' Association annual Christmas party, at the Royal Riding School, Buckingham Palace. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
(L-R) Unknown, Dion, Vera Lynn, Del Shannon - posed, 1958. (Photo by Harry Hammond/V&A Images/Getty Images)
Vera Lynn, who manages to find time for her hobby, painting, between her duties as mother, housewife and her singing engagements, finishes a portrait of her ten year old daughter, Virginia, at their home in Finchley. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
English singer Vera Lynn with her daughter Virginia at the piano, September 1956. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
English singer, songwriter and actress, Vera Lynn, London, 1955. (Photo by Baron/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
THE BIG SHOW -- Air Date 01/27/1952 -- Pictured: Singer Vera Lynn -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank
'Forces Sweetheat' singer Vera Lynn in London. (Photo by PA/PA Images via Getty Images)
English singer, songwriter and actress Vera Lynn with Prince Philip at her surprise party to celebrate her DBE (Dame Commander) award, UK, 11th February 1969. (Photo by Len Trievnor/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 22: Vera Lynn December 1964. Portrait of Vera Lynn, 1964. (Photo by Manchester Daily Express/SSPL/Getty Images)
Investitures at Buckingham Palace. Vera Lynn leaves carrying her O.B.E, 11th February 1969. (Photo by Young/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
31st December 1965: British singer Vera Lynn rehearsing her new radio show. (Photo by McCabe/Express/Getty Images)
Mother and daughter singing in the rain.Celebrated wartime singer Vera Lynn (Right) how Vera Lewis, reached Sydney by BOAC airliner from London with her daughter, Virginia Lewis, 20 years.They play to stay in Sydney for a few days before leaving for a five weeks tour of New Zealand. January 1, 1966. (Photo by Trevor James Robert Dallen/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
CANADA - SEPTEMBER 01: Vera Lynn: Reader says the recent Vera Lynn concert was tremendous; especially in light of the fact that only two policemen were needed to keep the crowd in line. (Photo by Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Dame Vera Lynn relaxes at her press conference at the La Causerie Restaurant at the Showground today. February 9, 1978. (Photo by John Patrick O'Gready/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
English singer, songwriter and actress Vera Lynn, UK, 9th March 1976. (Photo by Milton Wordley/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Singer and actress Vera Lynn, 'The Forces' Sweetheart', posing with the score for 'We'll Meet Again', 1972. (Photo by Tony Evans/Timelapse Library Ltd./Getty Images)
Singer Vera Lynn in the all star television gala performance in aid of the British Commonwealth Games teams. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
English singer Vera Lynn performs on a television show in London circa 1970. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
Comedian Harry Secombe and singer Vera Lynn in London when they had a preview of a film to be used in a television appeal on behalf of the Stars Organistaion for Spastics on BBC One. Both are Vice Presidents of the fundraising organisation. (Photo by PA/PA Images via Getty Images)
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Earlier this year, ahead of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Dame Vera spoke of remembering "the brave boys and what they sacrificed for us".

The Queen referenced the title of one of Dame Vera's most beloved wartime songs when she told the country, separated from families and friends during the coronavirus lockdown: "We will meet again."

She was also fondly remembered for singing The White Cliffs Of Dover, There'll Always Be An England, I'll Be Seeing You, Wishing and If Only I Had Wings, to help raise British spirits during the Blitz.

"My songs reminded the boys of what they were really fighting for," she once said. "Precious, personal things, rather than ideologies and theories."

Dame Vera later had her own television show and toured the world.

Dame Vera Lynn
Outside Buckingham Palace after being made a dame in 1975 (PA)

She remained an outspoken supporter of military veterans throughout her life.

In May, she urged the nation to "remember the brave boys and what they sacrificed for us".

She added: "They left their families and homes to fight for our freedom and many lost their lives trying to protect us and our liberties."

She also encouraged the British public to "rediscover that same spirit that saw us through the war" amid the coronavirus pandemic, in a special message before she turned 103 in March.

Dame Vera Lynn during a photocall to promote her autobiography
Dame Vera Lynn during a photocall to promote her autobiography (Ian West/PA)

Dame Vera was born in East Ham, east London, on March 20, 1917.

She performed for troops during the war, often at great personal risk, in countries including Egypt, India and Burma.

In May this year, Dame Vera became the oldest artist to score a top 40 album in the UK.

The 103-year-old saw her greatest hits album 100 re-enter the chart at number 30, boosted by commemorations for the 75th anniversary of VE day on May 8.

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