Newham Council celebrated the 100th birthday of Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn today (Monday 20 March) by erecting new signs in streets with a connection to the popular singer and actress.
They were put up as part of the council’s heritage programme commemorating people and places with historic links to the borough. Dame Vera was born in Thackeray Road, East Ham, on 20 March 1917, lived in nearby Ladysmith Avenue from 1921 to 1938 and has a Close named after her in Forest Gate.
She first took to the stage aged seven and in the 1930s made her name in the theatres of the West End. She is best known for her 1939 recording of We’ll Meet Again, the nostalgic lyrics of which were popular during World War 2. She achieved national treasure status when British servicemen named her their favourite musical performer and she became known as the Forces' Sweetheart.
Members of G Company 7 Rifles, based in West Ham, helped Newham councillors Ken Clark, Forhad Hussain, Rachel Tripp and Bryan Collier, unveil the signs in Vera Lynn Close. Councillor Clark, Deputy Mayor (Statutory) and Cabinet member for community neighbourhoods, regeneration and planning, and public affairs, heads the heritage project. He said: “Dame Vera boosted the morale of the nation and those who served during the darkest days of the Second World War. It is right that we recognise and honour that and celebrate one of our most loved former residents in this way on her 100th birthday.”
Captain Lee Flitcroft, from G Company 7 Rifles said: “When serving overseas, it is always important that we have something that connects us with home. That was what Dame Vera Lynn did during World War 2 when she lifted the spirit of millions. We wish her a very happy 100th birthday.”