How to watch Dame Vera Lynn perform We’ll Meet Again on VE Day

Dame Vera Lynn was known as the Forces Sweetheart (Photo: Getty Images)Dame Vera Lynn was known as the Forces Sweetheart (Photo: Getty Images)
Dame Vera Lynn was known as the Forces Sweetheart (Photo: Getty Images)

Celebrations to commemorate VE Day may not bring the nation together in the way that was originally planned, but several events are still taking place to honour the occasion.

Friday 8 May marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War, when Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered its armed forces.

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While street parties, parades and large public gatherings have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, a series of special programmes will be broadcast throughout the day - including a live performance from Dame Vera Lynn.

Who is Dame Vera Lynn?

Dame Vera Lynn is a London-born singer who is best known for performing for the troops during the Second World War.

She performed in countries including Egypt, India and Burma, with her most famous songs including The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again.

As well as travelling across the world to sing, the 103-year-old also hosted a radio show which sent messages to British troops who were serving overseas.

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Known as the ‘Forces Sweetheart’, Dame Vera found fame after her song We’ll Meet Again became an anthem of resilience for those who were separated from their loved ones during the war.

The famous wartime song was also echoed by the Queen when she delivered a special televised address to the nation in April, acknowledging the hardship people across the country were facing during lockdown.

Does Dame Vera have any children?

Dame Vera married clarinetist and saxophonist Harry Lewis in 1941, and together they had one child in March 1946.

Her husband passed away in 1998 and she is currently living with her daughter Virginia Penelope Anne Lewis-Jones in Ditchling, East Sussex.

Her daughter is now 74 years old.

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Dame Vera was at the height of her fame when her daughter arrived, a year after the end of the Second World War, and she chose not to have any more children so she could carry on working.

How is Dame Vera involved in VE Day?

Several commemorative programmes will be held throughout the day in honour of VE Day, including a concert from behind closed doors at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins will record a 30-minute performance in the empty auditorium, which will be streamed live on the Royal Albert Hall website, and on the venue’s YouTube channel, at 6pm.

Jenkins will sing a selection of wartime favourites by Dame Vera Lynn, including The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again.

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The latter song will be performed as a virtual duet with Dame Vera, along with classic BRIT Award winning saxophonist Jess Gillam.

And later in the evening, Dame Vera will lead a national rendition of We’ll Meet Again from her home in East Sussex as part of a special BBC One broadcast.

VE Day: The People’s Celebration will air at 8pm and will feature a selection of celebrity guests, including Katherine Jenkins, actor Adrian Lester and singer Beverley Knight, who will perform a selection of songs from the 1930s and 40s.

The programme will culminate in the nationwide sing-along of Dame Vera’s wartime classic.

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What else will be broadcast on VE Day?

In honour of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the BBC will present special tribute programming across television, radio and BBC iPlayer on Friday (8 May).

The programming will include readings of diary extracts and poetry, a remembrance of the most pivotal moments, and an address from Her Majesty the Queen at 9pm, the exact time her father addressed the nation three quarters of a century ago.

The broadcast of Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech, which he made from 10 Downing Street on 8 May 1945, will air on BBC One at 2.45pm on Friday 8 May 2020.

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