WWII-era planes mark Vera Lynn's funeral

Spitfire and Hurricane planes flew over the funeral procession of Vera Lynn.
Spitfire and Hurricane planes flew over the funeral procession of Vera Lynn.

A Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has flown past the funeral of Vera Lynn, honouring a singer who became a symbol of hope during World War II and again during the coronavirus pandemic before her death last month at 103.

Known as the Forces' Sweetheart, Lynn died surrounded by family after a lifetime in which she recorded such songs as The White Cliffs of Dover and We'll Meet Again.

Fans and members of the armed forces lined the streets of her village on the southern coast of England on Friday to show their respects as her coffin, draped in the flag of the Union, was driven slowly towards a private funeral.

A Spitfire and a Hurricane later roared over the village on a bright Friday morning, to loud applause.

The daughter of a plumber in London's East End, Lynn was singing in working men's clubs by the age of seven.

She began radio broadcasts and singing with bands in the late 1930s. But it was her wartime songs that won her fame and led to British tanks trundling into battle with Vera painted on their sides and brought her more than 1000 written offers of marriage from servicemen.

Lynn's biggest hit had a German title and came after the war. Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart, backed by a soldiers' chorus, sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and made her the first British performer to top the US hit parade.

She was back in the headlines in April this year when Queen Elizabeth used words from Lynn's song to tell the country "We will meet again" and urged people to show resolve during the coronavirus lockdown.

Australian Associated Press