Dame Vera Lynn invited to join D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth

Dame Vera Lynn at Shoreham Airport
Dame Vera Lynn at Shoreham Airport
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Portsmouth City Council has invited the forces’ sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn to sing for the city at this year’s D-Day commemorations.

Dame Vera – who buoyed the nation’s spirits during the Second World War – is best known for songs including We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the leader of the council, has written to Dame Vera with the invitation.

He said: ‘D-Day was planned and executed from Portsmouth and this year will probably be the last big anniversary year for veterans who fought on the beaches.

‘We’re concentrating on three days of commemoration of the D-Day landings.

This will include a drumhead service on Southsea Common and a beach landing by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, along with concerts and commemorations.

‘This is being funded by the council because we feel that commemorating D-Day is so important.

‘We have veterans coming from both the UK and the US, and on Saturday 7 June we’re having an early evening concert of 1940s music.

‘I’ve asked Dame Vera if she would honour us and the veterans of D-Day by becoming part of that concert, as her music was so important to the men who fought on D-Day.

‘It would be my great pleasure to welcome her to the city.’

It was announced last week that Dame Vera will release a new album as she turns 97.

The collection includes unreleased songs which have recently been rediscovered.

Dame Vera already holds the record as the first and only artist over the age of 90 to top the UK album charts, a feat she achieved in 2009.

The veteran star will issue Vera Lynn: National Treasure - The Ultimate Collection on June 2 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which occurs four days later.

The release comes as Dame Vera also celebrates 90 years in showbusiness - a feat which will be difficult to match - after her making her stage debut at the age of seven, and comes in a year of commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.