“We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, But I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.” Ross Parker and Hughie Charles—as sung by Vera Lynn
The poignant truth, remembered today on ANZAC day, is that too many didn’t meet again.
This morning I joined the huge crowd who turned out at the dawn service in Cathedral Square, Christchurch to remember fallen New Zealand servicemen and women and to mark the 95th anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli.
After the ANZACs were landed on the wrong beach New Zealand lost 2,721 dead out of a total 130,784 dead on both sides at Gallipoli in what turned out to be a disastrous sideshow to the main theatres of war in Europe.
Later this morning there was an extra sombre atmosphere after the breaking news of the military helicopter crash north of Wellington, which claimed the lives of three service personnel en route to an ANZAC day parade flyover in the capital. Military service can be hazardous in war and peace.
It is just over 70 years since Dame Vera Lynn, then 22, visited the Decca studios in London and first recorded We’ll Meet Again. The nostalgic lyrics became one of the best loved sing-along morale boosters during the grim days of World War II.
Voted the original “Forces Sweetheart” she travelled thousands of miles, often at great personal risk, to entertain the Allied troops.
Last year, at 92, she made history to become the oldest living artist ever to have a number one album: We’ll Meet Again -The Very Best Of Vera Lynn.
To make this triumph even sweeter, she even trumped the much-vaunted series of remastered Beatles albums to top the official charts. The moptops might have been more popular than Jesus Christ but they couldn’t knock Vera off this top spot. (When Dame Vera first sang of some sunny day 71 years ago John Lennon had not even been born. He died thirty years ago this December).
Last November the newly annointed Forces Sweetheart at the Royal British Legion’s annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall was Christchurch-born Kiwi singer, Hayley Westenra.
Hayley has been a staunch supporter of Forces’ charities since she shot to fame in the UK as a singer seven years ago and she was also recruited by the British Legion to be the face of their annual Poppy Appeal.
Below is an early and rare video of Hayley Westenra and younger sister Sophie singing Up Where We Belong* at our SmartNet workshops in 2000 to illustrate the theme of New Zealanders learning faster and working smarter to get Godzone up the international rankings.
A decade later Hayley has formed a new personal entente cordiale with an unnamed French boyfriend. May the Forces be with her.
#Lyall Lukey 25 April 2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5uFzwzEVhQ Letter from Gallipoli
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG48Ftsr3OI&feature=related And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda
We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn With WWII photos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqsFoKMA1w0 Hayley and Sophie Westenra, SmartNet 2000