Crowds line the streets as Dame Vera Lynn is honoured with flypast

Julia Hunt
·Contributor
·3-min read
Spitfire planes perform a fly-past above Ditchling, south of London, on July 10, 2020, during the funeral of WWII performer Vera Lynn. - People gathered on the streets of to bid a final farewell Friday, to World War II "forces' sweetheart"  Vera Lynn, who died last month. A performer from the age of seven, Lynn also starred in films, enjoyed a number of post-war hits and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1976. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Spitfire planes perform a fly-past above Ditchling on July 10, 2020, during the funeral of WWII performer Vera Lynn (BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Two World War Two fighter planes flew over Dame Vera Lynn’s funeral procession as fans gathered to say goodbye to the Forces’ Sweetheart.

The singer died aged 103 in June and a private funeral service was being held in Sussex today (July 10).

Fans lined the streets in the village of Ditchling, where Dame Vera lived, as a cortege bearing her body left the family home and travelled to Woodvale Crematorium in Brighton.

Read more: Dame Vera Lynn dies aged 103

British singer Vera Lynn, who 70 years ago recorded an evocative reminder of home for British soldiers fighting far away, attends the 2009 Women of the Year Awards lunch, in central London, Monday Oct. 12, 2009. The singer, 92, who in September became the oldest living artist to have a No. 1 record in Britain, received the Women of the Year's Lifetime Achievement Award. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Dame Vera Lynn attends the 2009 Women of the Year Awards lunch (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The crowd applauded as the ceremonial Battle of Britain Memorial Flight consisting of a Spitfire and a Hurricane flew overhead.

The Telegraph reported that the crowd also burst into a rendition of the late star’s famous song, We’ll Meet Again.

Dame Vera’s funeral ceremony will be for a small number of family only, while a full memorial service is being planned for a later date.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic the number of people who may attend funerals is still limited to allow for social distancing.

British singer and World War II icon Vera Lynn's funeral cortege is led through the village of Ditchling, southern England Friday, July 10, 2020. The cortege bearing Dame Vera will pause at the crossroads in the centre of Ditchling to acknowledge her long and happy 50 year association with the village and to allow residents to pay their respects. A flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, consisting of a Spitfire and a Hurricane will take place during the pause at twelve noon, overhead the center of the village.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Dame Vera Lynn's funeral cortege is led through the village of Ditchling (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Ahead of the funeral, the singer was remembered by Captain Tom Moore as he appeared on Good Morning Britain.

Calling Dame Vera “lovely”, Captain Tom recalled a time when she visited troops in Burma.

“There she was, this lovely English girl,” said the 100-year-old.

“She was a great person to give us a lot more confidence and we were very, very pleased to see her.”

He said he had always had a soft spot in his heart for the star.

Singer Elaine Paige said on Twitter that Dame Vera would always be “Great Britain's Sweetheart”.

The funeral cortege of Forces Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn is escorted by representatives of the three armed forces as it makes its way through the village of Ditchling, England, watched by crowds Friday July 10, 2020. The adored singer, who entertained troops with morale-boosting visits to the front line during the Second World War, died aged 103 on June 18.  (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)
The funeral cortege of Forces' Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)

Piers Morgan, who lives in Sussex, saw the planes flying past.

He tweeted: “Just saw two Spitfires flying over my house down in East Sussex, making a tremendous roar.

“Couldn’t work out what the hell was going on, then I remembered it’s Dame Vera Lynn’s funeral today. She lived a few miles down the road. Very moving moment.

“RIP Vera.”

Read more: Dame Vera Lynn’s life in pictures

Actress Vicki Michelle tweeted: “What a huge part she played in the lives of the British people. Will always be remembered in our hearts. Brilliant she’s being honoured with a fly past.”

Earlier this week, Dame Vera’s image was projected onto the cliffs of Dover, in a nod to her song The White Cliffs Of Dover.

Her daughter Virginia Lewis-Jones said in a message on Facebook: “I feel very honoured to have my mother's image on the white cliffs of Dover, which is so closely associated with her, and I know that she would definitely feel the same.”

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

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