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."


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