Dame Vera Lynn likes her detective books, but she's not into love stories, she tells me.

This from the wartime icon - loved and adored by so many, a pin-up with the soaring voice who made soldiers far from home swoon when they met her or saw her onstage.

Reading is one of the ways the now 100-year-old likes to pass her time.

I met her at her home. As we sat and chatted the doorbell kept ringing, her daughter Virginia running to let in the visitors, receiving the many bouquet of flowers.

The mantelpiece was crowded with cards. Fans keep sending her cards and letters because of their families' experiences in the war, Dame Vera says as we look at all the many she has received.

I have been lucky to meet Dame Vera on a few occasions, and she is genuinely a lovely, kind lady, very gracious with her time and still very beautiful.

Her face lights up when we talk about her time visiting the troops in Burma.

She personally asked if she could go, she says, so that she could play her role in the wartime effort.

Dame Vera would talk to the soldiers about what was happening at home, in particular the challenges of rationing, she laughs.

I couldn't be a nurse or anything similar, she tells me. Singing was her way to help.

I'm lucky, she says, that I was able to sing my way through the war.

Dame Vera celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday Credit: ITV News

"We'll Meet Again" is a song Dame Vera loved singing - it's so optimistic, she tells me, hoping that we'll meet again some sunny day.

That came true for some, she adds sadly, but others did not return. But for a time she was able to take a bit of home to the troops.

Dame Vera has plenty of cake to eat today. She has her family around her, and she intends to try what she calls a "soupcon of champagne", adding that she hopes they don't water it down too much.

She may be spending her big day quietly, but the nation is loudly wishing her happy birthday.

Her image, emblazoned on the White Cliffs of Dover, a true national treasure, a woman who brought some light into the darkest days of war. Happy 100th Dame Vera!

Vera Lynn's name emblazoned into the White Cliffs of Dover Credit: ITV News