Tributes have poured in for Dame Vera Lynn who has died at the age of 103.

The Forces' Sweetheart, who entertained troops with morale-boosting visits to the front line during the Second World War, died in the early hours of Thursday morning.

In a statement, her family paid tribute to "one of Britain's best-loved entertainers" writing: "The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers at the age of 103.

"Dame Vera Lynn, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, passed away earlier today, 18 June 2020, surrounded by her close family."

Dame Vera Lynn with ex-servicemen during a Garden Party held by the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 1950. Credit: PA

Dame Vera, born in East Ham, east London, rose to popularity while performing for troops during the war in countries including Egypt, India and Burma.

Her best-known songs include The White Cliffs Of Dover and There’ll Always Be An England - and, of course, We'll Meet Again.

Dame Vera had her own television show and toured the world - she remained an outspoken supporter of military veterans throughout her life.

Known as the Forces' Sweetheart, she celebrated her 103rd birthday in March - releasing a video calling for the British public to find "moments of joy" during these "hard times".

Dame Vera Lynn's daughter said her mother made a difference to the lives of many families. Virginia Lewis-Jones said she is proud of the difference her mother made with one charity in particular which had "a very special place in her heart".

The Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity, of which Ms Lewis-Jones is vice president, helps young children with cerebral palsy and other motor learning difficulties to "get the best possible start to life".

  • Residents in the town of Frodsham pay tribute to Dame Vera with socially distanced dancing in the street:

Tributes have poured in for the wartime entertainer, who stirred the hearts of so many.

Buckingham Palace has said the Queen is to send a private message of condolence to the family of Dame Vera.

The pair - who were born nine years apart - met on many occasions through the decades and shared a bond due to their wartime experiences.

While the Prince of Wales's Clarence House Twitter account posted a photographic tribute featuring an image of the singer after she was invested as a Dame Commander in, and a photo of her with Charles, and also the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Queen talks to Dame Vera Lynn at an event celebrating the monarch’s 40th anniversary on the throne. Credit: PA

The Prime Minister said: "Dame Vera Lynn's charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours."

He added: "Her voice will live on to lift the hearts of generations to come."

While House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said Dame Vera's "morale-boosting voice and her poignant messages have been the backdrop of our lives for so long - but I am sure they will continue to give comfort for many years to come."

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "Dame Vera Lynn lifted our nation and its Armed Forces in their moment of maximum peril.

"Her iconic performances were critical in the war and continued to raise spirits as recently as last month's VE Day 75."

  • Dame Vera Lynn speaking in 2011 on the importance of the Royal British Legion:

The Royal British Legion - described by Dame Vera as "a wonderful institution" - paid tribute in a statement.

The group described her as "an unforgettable British icon, symbol of hope to the Armed Forces community past and present, and much loved longstanding Legion supporter."

Teresa Greener, head of special events and celebrity liaison at the Legion, said Dame Vera's commitment to the armed forces "never waned" in her later years and she retained an "incredible spark".

Captain Tom Moore - the 100-year-old veteran who raised almost £33 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden - paid tribute too.

In a message posted on his Twitter page, he said: "She had a huge impact on me in Burma and remained important to me throughout my life. My thoughts are with Dame Vera Lynn's family at this sad time."

Singer Sir Cliff Richard described Dame Vera as "truly an icon" writing:

"She was held in such high esteem and my best, and favourite, memory was sharing a performance with her in front of Buckingham Palace for the VE Day celebrations in 1995.

"We walked to the stage through a crowd of survivors of that war, and they were reaching out to touch and get a smile from Vera.

"I heard the words … ‘God bless you’ … ‘Thank you’ … ‘We love you’ for their very own Forces’ Sweetheart! A great singer, a patriotic woman and a genuine icon."

Dame Vera Lynn with Elaine Page and Cliff Richard during the finale of the VE Day 50th Anniversary celebration at the Hyde Park in London in 1995. Credit: PA

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice described her as "one of the greatest ever British popular singers, not just because of her immaculate voice, warm, sincere, instantly recognisable and musically flawless.

"She will be remembered just as affectionately for her vital work in the Second World War and for her own Charitable Foundations in the 75 years since. A link with more certain times has been irrevocably broken."

Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins - with whom Dame Vera re-released a duet of We'll Meet Again with earlier this year - said "there will never be another Dame Vera Lynn".

"Her voice brought comfort to millions in their darkest hours, her songs filled the nation's hearts with hope, and her emotive performances, whether home or abroad, then or now, helped to get us through," Ms Jenkins wrote.

"There will never be another Dame Vera Lynn. Forces’ Sweetheart and our sweetheart. An icon. A legend. An inspiration. My mentor and my friend. I will miss you greatly and I know we’ll meet again some sunny day."

While Dame Shirley Bassey said: "Through some of our darkest times you were a beacon of light, a message of hope and captivated the true spirit of our nation. You will always be remembered. So until we meet again..."

West End star Alfie Boe said Dame Vera was "truly a national treasure".

Adding: "This is such sad news to hear, especially at this time when her iconic song and spirit touched the nation. It was a real pleasure to sing with her - an honour I will treasure forever."

Vera Lynn outside Buckingham Palace in 1975 after being invested a Dame Commander of the British Empire. Credit: PA

Theatre director Roger Redfarn, who had been friends with Dame Vera since since the early 1970s and was one of her neighbours in the village of Ditchling, said: "The world knows of her great voice that through the good and bad times has thrilled millions.

"My own father firmly believed that the Second World War was won by Sir Winston Churchill and Vera Lynn. As a friend she was the warmest and kindest of people.

"She cared particularly about our armed forces, ‘her boys’ as she called them."

Dame Vera's family have said information regarding a memorial service will be announced at a later date.