Charles and Parker M

We’ll meet again: Remembering the songwriters behind ‘Forces’ sweetheart’ Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime classics

M remembers the songwriters behind two of the most poignant songs that brought us together at a time of war.

Paul Nichols
  • By Paul Nichols
  • 22 Jun 2020
  • min read

As the nation mourns the death of British singer, songwriter and entertainer Dame Vera Lynn, who passed away on 18 June 2020 at the age of 103, we also remember the songwriters behind two of the most poignant songs that brought us together at a time of war.

Hughie Charles (24 July 1907 – 6 October 1995) and Ross Parker (16 August 1914 – 1 August 1974), both PRS members, composed and wrote We’ll Meet Again and There'll Always Be An England in 1939. Dame Vera Lynn’s performances of these songs resonated deeply with British soldiers and audiences of the time, following the outbreak of the second world war.

As a duo, Charles and Parker were among the leading British songwriters of the ‘Tin Pan Alley’ era, a name that refers to the music publishers and songwriters who inhabited London’s Denmark Street from the early 1900s.

The lyrics of We’ll Meet Again were recently referenced by the Queen during a broadcast to the British people regarding the coronavirus pandemic, and the song itself entered the UK Official Singles Chart for the first time ever in May this year.

Andrea C. Martin, CEO, PRS for Music, said: ‘We are all saddened to hear of Dame Vera Lynn’s recent passing. Her performances of these timeless songs have been bringing British people together since World War II and they are no less poignant today. As songwriters, Hughie Charles and Ross Parker captured the strong emotions of the time succinctly with their enduring music and lyrics, that were impeccably brought to life through Lynn’s iconic renditions.’