The mere mention of Vera Lynn's name evokes images of London skies filled with barrage balloons, and Britons riding out the German blitz in shelters and underground stations. England's sweetheart during the trying times of World War II, Lynn was still in her twenties when she took on that role. She was born Vera Margaret Welch in London's East Ham, to Bertram and Annie Welch, one year before the close of the First World War. She began singing as a girl of seven, also studying dance as a child. She later took her maternal grandmother's maiden name as her stage name, and her natural, unaffected vocal style and charm brought Lynn early success on the radio. At age 18, she was singing with Joe Loss' orchestra, nd she'd also begun recording for the Crown label. By the end of the 1930s, after stints working for Charlie Kunz's and Bert Ambrose's bands, Lynn got her own radio series. This event coincided with the end of what was known as the "Phony War," that period in which men were being conscripted and sent overseas, rearmament rushed, and nightly blackouts imposed, but no shots fired or bombs dropped. The shooting war started in 1940, and it was around that same time that Lynn became the host of the BBC radio program Sincerely Yours; the show became incredibly popular with overseas servicemen who missed their girlfriends, and her regular songs included such hopeful/heartsick ballads as "White Cliffs of Dover," "We'll Meet Again," "Wishing," and "Yours," which were taken to heart by the British public. Her recordings -- now done for Decca Records, which had absorbed the Crown label some years before -- all sold well, and Lynn also made several films during the war years, appeared in a stage revue, and sang for troops in Asia. Her sentimental brand of pop music was regarded as a huge help to morale, and Lynn herself virtually a national treasure.