Members of the Burma Star Association saddened by the passing of Dame Vera Lynn
Posted on 19th Jun 2020 by Sarah Gray
Burma Star members fondly remember Dame Vera Lynn who was one of the first, if not the first, ENSA act to arrive in Burma during WWII. Those who were privileged to meet her ‘in theatre’ recall her courage at being in that part of the world at that time.
She made many memorable appearances in Burma including Garrison Hill, Kohima where she entertained the assembled front line troops with her enchanting voice, accompanied by only a pianist.
Dame Vera, known as the ‘forces sweetheart’ was a symbol of encouragement to the Armed Forces and, through her radio show, to the general public bringing light relief to millions of people during their darkest times, albeit for a brief period of time.
After the war Dame Vera regularly appeared at the Burma Star Reunions in the Royal Albert Hall which were packed out affairs. At the Reunion on 27th April 1985 Air Vice Marshal Sir Bernard Chacksfield KBE CB RAF, Chairman of the Burma Star Association, in the presence of Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Aileen, Viscountess Slim and her granddaughter Mary Ann, Dame Vera was presented with her Burma Star and War Medal 1939-45 to the delight of all present. She was quoted in the DEKHO! of the time as saying “She felt that at last she was really one of us.” The Editor of DEKHO! replied “As far as we are concerned Vera, you never have and never will be anything else.”
During the following years Dame Vera continued to support and take an interest in the work of the Association, especially in the Welfare work.
Only last year Dame Vera, wrote in the Case for Support for the Burma Star Memorial Fund ‘One of the most important periods in my career was spending time with the servicemen in that region (Burma) and it is a thrill to me to know that their historic contribution is being properly recognised.’
Dame Vera’s contribution in ‘that region’ has never been forgotten by the members of this Association and she will be greatly missed by our members. The condolences and best wishes of all of the members go out to her family.