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Countdown to VE Day – 6 days to go – Sing for Victory

by Yvonne Hellin-Hobbs | Events, VE Day 75th Anniversary Celebrations, World War Two

How much do YOU know about the music that was around in WWII?


singing for victory

Singing for victory


Welcome to Day 6 of our VE-Day countdown, and today we want to share lots of wonderful wartime music with you. Had we not been in Lockdown the lovely ladies that organise the ‘Singing for Fun’ sessions at the Community Centre would have been holding a ‘Singing for Victory’ day on Wednesday next. So, as we are all celebrating from home, we want to share the tunes they would have played and the words, so you can sing along with the music that will be broadcast all over the village on the afternoon of May 8th.

Playlist to be performed between 3pm & 5pm on VE Day:

1. Wish me Luck
2. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
3. We’re Gonna Hang Out The Washing on the Siegfried Line
4. Underneath the Arches
5. Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler
6. Bless ‘Em All
7. Lambeth Walk
8. We’ll Meet Again
9. Goodnight Sweetheart
10. There’ll Always Be an England
11. The White Cliffs of Dover
12. Kiss Me Goodnight, Sergeant Major
13. Run Rabbit Run
14. Chattanooga Choo Choo
15. Whispering Grass (Don’t Tell the Trees)
16. Leaning on a lamppost
17. Don’t sit under the Apple Tree
18. Fools Rush in
19. On the Sunny Side of the street
20. You are my Sunshine

Download the song sheets to sing along

Click on the links to see the songs on YouTube

The use of music during World War II changed dramatically from previous wars. This time around, it was used as an instrument of propaganda, not just entertainment. Still, in army camps, factories and hospitals, music blaring from the radio helped lift the spirits of soldiers and workers every day. This war was the first conflict to take place in the age of electronically mass distributed music.

Music was also used to send words of encouragement, frustration and resistance to soldiers who were fighting the war. Entertainers toured the conflict zones and played to the troops to lift their morale. Many English entertainers became enormously popular during the war years; well known names like Vera Lynn, Gracie Fields, Anne Shelton, George Formby, Arthur Askey, Flanagan and Allen. And it was the age of the big band as dances were popular. Bandleaders like Jimmy Dorsey, Joe Loss, John Dankworth, Jack Parnell, and many more, kept up the spirits of the British people.

Vera Lynn, Hits of the Blitz album Cover

Vera Lynn, Hits of the Blitz album Cover

In 1942, Vera Lynn recorded “(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover.” The song was written by Walter Kent and Nat Burton before the United States entered the war. Germany had been bombing Great Britain in 1940 — the Battle of Britain — and the song looked forward to a time when peace would reign again in the skies over the Cliffs of Dover.

Read about the Battle of Britain here;

Another song that Vera Lynn made famous was ‘We’ll Meet Again’. During this period of Lockdown some amazing singers of the West End stage have combined, from their homes to perform it for her. Listen to it here;

When the United States entered the war in 1941, swing music went to war, too. Jazz music provided comfort for families at home and soldiers abroad. Many musicians were drafted into the military and took their music with them. Some of them led military jazz bands that travelled the world to boost the morale of troops. Bing Crosby and Glen Miller were hugely popular, as were Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and, of course, The Andrews Sisters.

The Andrews Sisters were an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. The group consisted of three sisters: contralto LaVerne Sophia, soprano Maxene Anglyn, and mezzo-soprano Patricia Marie “Patty”. Most people still listened to music on the radio and were captivated by this new jazz and swing influence. The very upbeat music gave them a reason to dance and and sing along and lift their mood.

In Bishopsteignton we are lucky enough to have our very own close harmony group, The Liberty Sisters, who sing many of the Andrews Sisters songs and will be letting us hear their newest album, as yet unreleased, as part of our music programme to be broadcast all over the village on VE-Day.


Liberty Sisters Poster

Liberty Sisters Poster

Watch them performing the great Glen Miller’s ‘In The Mood’ here;


Keep listening on VE-Day and sing along with the songs you know!