A statement said: “The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers at the age of 103.
“Dame Vera Lynn, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, passed away earlier today, 18 June 2020, surrounded by her close family.”
Earlier this year, ahead of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Dame Vera spoke of remembering “the brave boys and what they sacrificed for us”.
The Queen referenced the title of one of Dame Vera’s most beloved wartime songs when she told the country, separated from families and friends during the coronavirus lockdown: “We will meet again.”
She was also fondly remembered for singing The White Cliffs Of Dover, There’ll Always Be An England, I’ll Be Seeing You, Wishing and If Only I Had Wings, to help raise British spirits during the Blitz.
“My songs reminded the boys of what they were really fighting for,” she once said. “Precious, personal things, rather than ideologies and theories.”
Dame Vera later had her own television show and toured the world.
She remained an outspoken supporter of military veterans throughout her life.
In May, she urged the nation to “remember the brave boys and what they sacrificed for us”.
She added: “They left their families and homes to fight for our freedom and many lost their lives trying to protect us and our liberties.”
She also encouraged the British public to “rediscover that same spirit that saw us through the war” amid the coronavirus pandemic, in a special message before she turned 103 in March.
Dame Vera was born in East Ham, east London, on March 20, 1917.
She performed for troops during the war, often at great personal risk, in countries including Egypt, India and Burma.
In May this year, Dame Vera became the oldest artist to score a top 40 album in the UK.
I’d love it to be my legacy,” she said. “I’ve never considered my actions as courageous. I was just doing my job.”
Lynn released her first single Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire in 1936.
At the start of the wartime, she began singing for people sheltering in air raid shelters before recording her version of We’ll Meet Again in 1939.
After topping a poll of British servicemen to find their favourite performer, she became known as the Forces’ Sweetheart
Her songs also include Sweetheart, Dancing with Tears in My Eyes, The White Cliffs of Dover and Rose of England.
Tributes are already flooding in for the Forces’ Sweetheart following the news of her death.
Sir Tim Rice said: “Dame Vera Lynn was one of the greatest ever British popular singers, not just because of her immaculate voice, warm, sincere, instantly recognisable and musically flawless. She will be remembered just as affectionately for her vital work in the Second World War and for her own Charitable Foundations in the 75 years since. A link with more certain times has been irrevocably broken.”
Miriam Margolyes said: “Dame Vera never lost her reality. The voice like a bell was a gift, which she shared so generously and bravely.
But the magic was that her personality was genuine, open, warm. Meeting her was one of the high points of my life.
“She looked at you & SAW you. And connected. There is no one in our lives, except The Queen, who had the power to connect a nation.
For that, she will be remembered & always with love.”