Dame Vera Lynn’s Still Got It

Dame Vera LynnWe were tickled pink recently to learn that the recent greatest-hits release from Dame Vera Lynn has sold more copies than any other album released by a female artist in the U.K. this year.

Not bad for a 100-year-old songbird!

Lynn, known during World War II as “the Forces’ Sweetheart” for the inspiring wartime songs she sang and her dedicated efforts to entertain the troops, celebrated her centenary birthday in March of this year, and though she’s no longer recording, her reissues and greatest-hits packages have always done very well.

But the top-selling female artist in the U.K. more than 65 years after her heyday? That speaks to the deep affection and high esteem in which Dame Vera is held.

Longtime Cladrite Radio listeners and readers know very well how we feel about Dame Vera; her music has been a big part of our playlist since we went “on the air” years ago. So you can imagine how excited we were to receive in the mail last week this lovely autographed picture, direct from Dame Vera herself.

In the brief note that accompanied the picture, Dame Vera wrote, “My P.A. [personal assistant] Susan has told me about your radio station, and I commend you for keeping alive the memory of that bygone era.”

It’s our great pleasure, Dame Vera, and we’re grateful you’re still here with us. You’re an inspiration to us all.

If you’d like to show your appreciation to Dame Vera for the joy she’s brought us all over the years, consider supporting Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity, which is dedicated to supporting families with children under 5 years old with cerebral palsy and motor-learning difficulties. Dame Vera thanks you, and so do we.

Remembering Ernie Pyle

Journalist Ernie PyleErnie Pyle, a hero of ours, was born 117 years ago today on a farm near Dana, Indiana, on August 3, 1900. He’s best remembered today as a war correspondent during World War II. Pyle repeatedly put himself in harm’s way, positioning himself with the troops at the front lines so that he could tell the stories of the common soldiers, sailors and airmen who were fighting the war. His courageous approach to reportage made him beloved by folks back home who were eager to have some sense of what their loved ones were experiencing overseas.

But even before he devoted himself to covering the war, Pyle was a groundbreaking journalist. In the early thirties, he was the most respected writer in the country who covered the aviation beat, and from the mid-’30s through the United States’ entrance into World War II, he traveled the country’s back roads and byways, writing a syndicated column for Scripps-Howard about the people he met while traveling and the things he saw.

Here’s a story we wrote for the Guideposts magazine website about Pyle’s life and career.

Happy birthday, Ernie, wherever you may be…

Ernie Pyle (with goggles) converses with a tank crew from the 191st Tank Battalion, US Army at the Anzio Beachhead in 1944