LONDON (Reuters) - Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joined a chorus of “Happy Birthday” for wartime British singer Vera Lynn, who turned 90 on Tuesday.
Lynn, nicknamed the “Forces’ sweetheart” who entertained the troops during World War Two, was honored at a small ceremony held at the Imperial War Museum in London where she joined guests in watching a short film about her life.
Katherine Jenkins, a young Welsh singer who has taken over the mantle of unofficial darling of British troops serving abroad, performed two of Lynn’s most famous songs -- “We’ll Meet Again” and “The White Cliffs of Dover.”
Jenkins flew to the southern Iraqi port of Basra to perform for soldiers at Christmas in 2005.
Through her songs, Lynn became a symbol of hope for British and Allied soldiers fighting Nazi Germany and the Axis powers, particularly with her rendition of “The White Cliffs of Dover,” as the coastal cliffs facing occupied France lay in the shadow of German bombers and the threat of invasion.
The tall and blonde Lynn was eventually given the title of Dame of the British Empire in 1975, amid disapproval that it had taken 30 years after the end of the war for the symbol of British fortitude to be honored.