'Sickly', 'sentimental', and still powerful: the story behind Vera Lynn's We'll Meet Again

Forces Sweetheart: Dame Vera Lynn
Forces Sweetheart: Dame Vera Lynn Credit: Getty

“Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?” sang Roger Waters, on Pink Floyd’s The Wall. “Remember how she said that we would meet again?”

We do indeed. As the forces’ sweetheart celebrates her 100th birthday, that promise of a reunion remains as powerful as ever. Written at the outset of the Second World War by popular composer Ross Parker and songwriter cum musical theatre impresario Hughie Charles, the lyrics aimed to comfort all those who feared they may never see their loved ones again.

Lynn was the first singer to record it. She had been singing since the age of seven, and had already released a couple of albums, but in 1939 We'll Meet Again brought her worldwide fame: that year, members of the military named her their favourite singer in a Daily Express poll.

It wasn’t only through her music that Lynn shared a message of hope. In late 1941, more than 20% of the British public tuned in to...


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