Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Monday, 8 November 2010
Dame Vera Lynn sends a message to Coventry
Dame Vera Lynn
Dame Vera Lynn spoke to Marian McNamee about her wartime experiences

On the 70th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz, Dame Vera Lynn has been speaking to BBC Coventry & Warwickshire - and has a special message to share.

Reflecting on the November 1940 bombings, the Forces' Sweetheart hopes that the city's "spirit will live forever in Coventry."

Dame Vera, who came to the 50th anniversary events, also hopes that schools continue to teach about WWII.

She said: "It gives the youngsters an idea of what everybody went through."

'Lead them on the right path'

However, Dame Vera feels that no-one can ever really realise what it was like during wartime unless they were there, adding: "It's impossible to have any idea really, unless you went through it yourself... All you can do is to tell them as much as possible and lead them on the right path so that something like that can't happen again."

During wartime, entertainment, through radio, theatre or cinema, was key in boosting morale and through her songs, Dame Vera provided a familiar voice for the forces overseas and for the families back home. She also travelled to places such as a Burma and India to meet the troops in person and to make them feel that Britain wasn't so far away.

Dame Vera Lynn
Dame Vera Lynn brought hope in WWII with songs like We'll Meet Again

Recalling that theatres would have their shows in the afternoon, so that people could get back to shelters or home before the evening raids began, Dame Vera added: "People were a bit scared about going out, particularly at certain times of the evening, but of course, entertainment is always necessary, like radio, you know, it was a god send to people during that time. It was lovely to be able to go out to the theatre and live more or less a normal life, but you just had to be very careful."

'Thank you for all you did'

On Monday, 8 November, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire is holding a tea dance for all of the survivors who shared their memories for the 70 stories for 70 years, which broadcast on radio and on our website. On hearing about this event at St Mary's Guildhall in the heart of the city, Dame Vera had this message for the very special guests:

"You must be very proud of yourselves to think how you've coped with it all, and to the older people, how they coped when it was happening. It's a great idea that it should never been forgotten, what happened in Coventry, and it should be taught in the schools and to the children, so they can tell their children about it and so it goes on. It's part of history. And history is something that goes on forever, as Coventry should do."

She also added this message to the people of Coventry:

"Thank you for all you did through those terrible times, and your generation and your grandparents, and I sincerely hope that spirit will live forever in Coventry as it should do and what happened there will never be forgotten."





BEYOND THE BLITZ

Beyond The Blitz - Photo: BBC Coventry & Warwickshire/Coventry History Centre Beyond The Blitz: 1940 - 2010
BBC Coventry & Warwickshire are marking the 70th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz with their series Beyond The Blitz
FEATURES & STORIES
IN PICTURES
Coventry Cathedral Coventry remembers
A special service of remembrance is held at Coventry Cathedral on the 70th anniversary of the Coventry Blitz
Remembrance Service, Coventry Remembrance Sunday
See photos from the Remembrance service held at Coventry's War Memorial Park on the 70th anniversary of the Blitz
Dresden A journey to Dresden
BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's takes a blitz survivor to Coventry's twin city of Dresden to meet fellow WWII survivors
Charles Hobson Forgotten photos
A forgotten family photograph album has given a fresh insight into Coventry during WWII
Tea dance at the Guildhall A blitz tea dance
BBC Coventry & Warwickshire holds a tea dance at Coventry's Guildhall for the Coventry Blitz survivors
Trinity Street Pre-wartime Coventry
Take a look back at photos of Coventry from before the outbreak of war
Merged Coventry picture: BBC Coventry & Warwickshire/Coventry History Centre Coventry old and new
We have created a special gallery showing parts of Coventry from before the war while merging in the scene from 2010
Marian McNamee In our 1940s parlour
BBC Coventry & Warwickshire have created a 1940s parlour in its open centre
Coventry Blitz memorial at the London Road cemetery Cemetery memorial
Should the Coventry Blitz memorial at the London Road cemetery be maintained more than once a year?
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in rubble after Buckingham Palace was bombed - Fox Photos / Getty Images The palace bombing
On 13 September 1940, Buckingham Palace was hit during a daytime raid
View from Coventry Cathedral A cathedral's view
Coventry Cathedral stands proudly over the city and you can see for miles from the top of the tower
IN VIDEO AND AUDIO
Michael Logan A journey to Dresden

Wearing poppies on Armistice Day Poppy drop in Coventry

Mike meeting survivors in Dresden Meeting Dresden survivors

ELSEWHERE ON THE BBC

SEE ALSO
Dame Vera Lynn: "I'm staggered"
13 Sep 09 |  Entertainment
Dame Vera Lynn shoots up UK chart
07 Sep 09 |  Entertainment

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific