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Dame Vera Lynn receives Queen's honour for eight decades of service in ceremony at her home 

 

 

104255479 Vera Lynn Peter Field, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, celebrating with Dame Vera Lynn at 	her home in Ditchling, East Sussex
Peter Field, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, celebrating with Dame Vera Lynn at her home in Ditchling, East Sussex
Credit: Lucy Carnaghan Photography/PA
 

 

 

 

 

28 July 2016 • 10:19am

 

Dame Vera Lynn, the Forces' sweetheart, has received her latest honour from the Queen in an investiture ceremony held at her village home.

The 99-year-old, whose songs brought hope during the darkest days of the Second World War, was made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

She could not make it to Buckingham Palace and received the accolade - for nearly eight decades of service to entertainment and charity - at an investiture ceremony at her home in Ditchling, near Brighton, on Wednesday.

Dame Vera Lynn with medal of the Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour
Dame Vera Lynn with her medal of the Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour
Credit:  Lucy Carnaghan Photography/PA
 
 

Dame Vera, who turns 100 next March, said she was "truly delighted" to be made a Companion of Honour.

She said: "In accepting this award, I do so in remembrance of all our wonderful brave boys who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and also in honour of all the children affected by cerebral palsy."

Dame Vera Lynn's investiture ceremony was performed at her home
Dame Vera Lynn's investiture ceremony was performed at her home
Credit: Lucy Carnaghan Photography/PA
 

Led by Peter Field, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, family friend Carola Godman Irvine, who is the county's deputy lord lieutenant, read the citation which saluted Dame Vera for being "the voice of hope" during the Second World War.

 

Dame Vera Lynn received the accolade for nearly eight decades of service to entertainment and charity
Dame Vera Lynn received the accolade for nearly eight decades of service to entertainment and charity
Credit: Lucy Carnaghan Photography/PA
 
 

In her 20s, Dame Vera played a huge role in keeping up the spirits of a British civilian population suffering under the Blitz. She travelled thousands of miles, often at great personal risk, to entertain troops.

Her hits included We'll Meet Again, I'll Be Seeing You, Wishing and If Only I Had Wings. In 1941, she was handed her own regular radio programme, Sincerely Yours, giving her a peak-time evening audience.

Dame Vera Lynn: 'We must support our boys and girls'
Dame Vera Lynn: 'We must support our boys and girls'

 

When the war was over she retired from the stage and microphone to bring up her daughter, Virginia, at their home in Sussex, but she remained in demand.

She toured throughout the world, visiting the US, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Dame Vera Lynn, pictured in 2009, brought hope during the darkest days of the Second World War
Dame Vera Lynn, pictured in 2009, brought hope during the darkest days of the Second World War
Credit: Zak Hussein/PA
 
 

Dame Vera once said: "I have never been terribly ambitious. I never wanted to be a Judy Garland or anything, and I wouldn't change the way I used to sing.

"If work came along I liked, I would do it. If it interfered with home life for too long or took me away, I wouldn't."

Vera Lynn presents Sincerely Yours
Vera Lynn presents Sincerely Yours

 

In 2002, she founded cerebral palsy charity the Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity, based in Billingshurst, West Sussex, which provides support and education for affected families.

She is involved with many other charities throughout the UK and beyond. She has received accolades throughout her life, including an OBE in 1969, a DBE in 1975, and in 1978 she was given the Freedom of the City of London.

August 26, 2016 6:40 pm JST
Courtesy of Nikkei Asian Review

Helping Myanmar's forgotten WWII soldiers

DENIS D. GRAY, Contributing writer

Peter Mitchell, son of a British officer who fought in Myanmar, salutes a group of aging Karen veterans in Yangon during a visit in 2013. (Courtesy of Help 4 Forgotten Allies)

 

YANGON -- Perhaps for the last time, the old Karen warriors gathered around the grave of a World War II British officer they called ''Grandfather Longlegs,'' and in poignant harmony sang a Christian hymn to fulfill his last request made decades earlier before Japanese soldiers took him away to an execution ground.


An undated photo showing Hugh Seagrim at a wedding in England before the war (Courtesy of the Seagrim family)

Seven decades after the conflict's end, in the remote hills and frontier refugee camps of eastern Myanmar, Major Hugh Paul Seagrim remains a legend and inspiration among the Karen, one of the country's downtrodden ethnic minorities.

But Seagrim, an eccentric mystic and brilliant guerrilla leader who gave his life to save his comrades, is almost unknown in his homeland, as are the Karen who fought alongside the British only to be abandoned after the war.

"We have never stopped praying for him because he loved our people,'' said Saw Berny, who fought with Seagrim deep behind Japanese lines. Wheelchair-bound but still spry of spirit, the 92-year-old veteran looked down on Seagrim's grave during a ceremony last year to mark the 70th anniversary of the war's end.

Around him at Yangon's beautifully manicured Commonwealth War Cemetery were gathered 20 of his former comrades-in-arms, along with Sally McLean, a soft-spoken, unassuming British woman who has made it her mission to aid the mostly impoverished Karen veterans and bring the life and heroic death of Seagrim before the general public.

 

 Read full article

h4fa help 4 forgotten allies

Remembering the forgotten ones

RJ Vogt, Myanmar Times 04 August 2015

When Sally McLean first met a Kayin World War II veteran on the Thai-Myanmar border, she could never have guessed the journey it would take her on.

It was 1998 – nearly five decades after the end of his service with the British military – but the 87-year old Saw Yoshoo easily rattled off his former rank, number and the name of his commanding officer, someone he had not seen or heard from in 50 years. Despite living in severe poverty, he requested only one thing of McLean: that she return to Great Britain and “inform his officers” of his whereabouts.

 Read full article

geographical article aug 2011Burma's forgotten veterans.

Denis Gray, Geographical magazine, August 2011.

During the Second World War, Burma’s Karen people fought alongside the British to defeat the forces of Imperial Japan. But after Burmese independence and amid British indifference, they began a fight against the ruling military junta that has gone on to become the world’s longest-running insurgency. Today, thousands of Karen – including many war veterans – who have fled the violence eke out a life in refugee camps along the Thailand–Myanmar border, writes Denis Gray

Read full article

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