Dame Vera Lynn: The Forces' Sweetheart turns 100

Sean Morrison
Milestone: The Forces' Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn turns 100 years old (PA): AFP/Getty Images

Dame Vera Lynn, the Forces' Sweetheart whose songs lifted the morale of troops during World War Two, turns 100 today.

There won't be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover as the singer of the famous 1942 version of the tune reaches the impressive milestone, but the landmark will receive a different kind of makeover.

To celebrate the star’s 100th birthday, an image of the Newham-born singer will be projected on to the cliffs on Monday, as she officially becomes a centenarian.

The 350ft image of Dame Vera, affectionately known as The Forces' Sweetheart, will also be in celebration of the release of her new album, Vera Lynn 100.

The record comes eight years after Dame Vera became the oldest living artist to land a UK number one album and also marks the wartime singer's 93 years in the industry as she made her stage debut at the age of seven.

New re-orchestrated versions of her most beloved music alongside her original vocals will feature on the music release.

It is thought the record will make her the first singer to have released a new album as a centenarian.

Celebration: a practice run shows Dame Vera Lynn's face projected onto cliffs of Dover as star turns 100 (PA)

The album also features a previously unreleased version of Sailing - a surprise find as it was not widely known she had recorded the track.

Dame Vera said: "It is an unprecedented honour to have my birthday marked in such a beautiful way and I am truly thrilled by this wonderful gesture.

"As we look to the white cliffs on Monday, I will be thinking of all our brave boys - the cliffs were the last thing they saw before heading off to war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw upon returning home.

"I feel so blessed to have reached this milestone and I can't think of a more meaningful way to mark the occasion."

The singer, songwriter and actress became hugely popular during World War Two and was widely referred to as “the Forces’ Sweetheart”.

She began performing at the age of seven and gave up school aged 11 to start touring.

By the 1930s she was a popular radio performer and she released her first solo record in 1936.

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