Two World War 2 fighter planes soared over Ditchling to remember the late singer. There were shouts of “hip hip hooray” from the crowd as a cortege bearing Dame Vera’s coffin – which was draped in a Union Flag – made its way out of the village.
It was followed by a spontaneous rendition of We’ll Meet Again, one of the songs Dame Vera was well-known for.
The adored singer, who entertained troops with morale-boosting visits to the front line during World War 2, died aged 103 on June 18.
Hundreds of people gathered in Ditchling ahead of the arrival of the funeral cortege.
Dame Vera’s cortege, led by soldiers, arrived to applause from the crowd as a bell tolled.
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Dame Vera Lynn died age 103 on June 18
Representatives from the Royal British Legion lined the village streets to honour Dame Vera with flags.
Ahead of the day, a giant portrait of the Forces Sweetheart was beamed onto the White Cliffs of Dover to commemorate her life.
Virginia Lewis-Jones, Dame Vera’s daughter, said: “We want to thank everyone for their tremendous support over the past few weeks.
“My mother always appreciated receiving messages from all over the world, and Ditchling was always particularly special to her, that is why we know she would be touched that so many people want to pay their respects.”
Dame Vera Lynn funeral: Dame Vera was honoured with a Spitfire flypast
Tributes to Dame Vera Lynn in her beloved East Sussex village Ditchling
Captain Sir Tom Moore also paid tribute to Dame Vera ahead of her funeral.
Remembering her visit to troops in Burma the WW2 war hero, who recently attracted headlines for his incredible NHS fundraising effort, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “There she was, this lovely English girl, she was a great person to give us a lot more confidence and we were very, very pleased to see her.”
Sir Tom also revealed he had recently received a letter from Dame Vera in recognition of the millions he has raised for the NHS staff working on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “I was absolutely thrilled to get a letter from Dame Vera congratulating me on the amount of money that we’d raised for my birthday.
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Dame Vera’s coffin being taken into Brighton Crematorium
Dame Vera entertained World War 2 troops with morale-boosting visits
“She was always so kind, she was lovely, I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for Dame Vera. It was very sad when she died.”
Friends of Dame Vera also recalled lighthearted moments with the WW2 singer.
Jane Lantsbury, 67, and Deborah Chapman, 53, were among hundreds of mourners lining the streets in Ditchling on Friday.
Ms Lantsbury, who has lived in the village since she was born, remembered eating Sunday lunch with Dame Vera many times in the local pub.
Dame Vera Lynn was well known for singing the WW2 classic We’ll Meet Again
Dame Vera Lynn and Queen Elizabeth II in 1992
She said: “She was the first to have a big Yorkshire pudding with all the roast inside. She kind of invented that. They called it the Vera Lynn.”
Ms Chapman, who also grew up in Ditchling, recalled an amusing moment with Dame Vera in 1997.
She said: “I got married and a friend of ours had a house not far from Vera’s and offered us a room on our wedding night.
“(The next morning) I realised somebody had taken my overnight bag so I had to put my wedding dress on to go home.”
Ms Chapman added as she exited the house, she ran into Dame Vera, who started to laugh.
Ms Chapman continued: “She couldn’t stop laughing because she thought I was in fancy dress.”