(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover

I suppose there should be no surprise that today’s selection came to mind today, with Russia’s War in Ukraine raging on, and World War I vividly recalled in movies like All Quiet on the Western Front (2022), the third film based on the 1928 book by German-born author Erich Paul Remark (1898-1970), and the 2022 version winning at the Academy Awards in the USA this past weekend.

“The White Cliffs of Dover” was a famous World War II song that symbolized Britain’s yearning for peace in a war that had affected the whole country through an air war, the widespread bombing of industrial centres, and shortages of essential goods due to enemy blockades and the need to supply the war machine. In the Battle of Britain (1940), the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm defended the country from air attacks by Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe that were meant to hobble the nation into surrender, as most of Europe had already fallen. The bombing of Britain continued into 1941. Through many sacrifices, Britain pushed back Nazi invasion and occupation, though the country braced for a long war that lasted until 1945. 

Two Americans, composer Walter Kent (1911-1994) and lyricist Nat Burton (1901-1945), wrote the song in 1941. It became famous after the 1942 recording by English singer Vera Lynn (1917-2020, whose career as an entertainer continued until she died at age 103!) and remained one of the most popular songs of the war.

“There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Tomorrow, just you wait and see

There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
Tomorrow, when the world is free

The shepherd will tend his sheep.
The valley will bloom again
And Jimmy will go to sleep
In his own little room again

There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover,
Tomorrow, just you wait and see”

“(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover,” by Walter Kent and Nat Burton.
Lyrics retrieved from AZLyrics.com.

I tell more about my family’s connection to the war and this song in a post on another Vera Lynn wartime tune, “We’ll Meet Again,” and I hope you’ll check that out while you’re here on the site. In that post I briefly mention a day trip that Sweety, her oldest son and I took, walking for 27 kilometres (17 miles) along the chalk cliffs from Dover to Deal, a six-hour journey that included a pub lunch of fish and chips in the village of St. Margaret’s-at-Cliffe. (What I don’t mention in that post is that I was a little apprehensive about doing the whole journey on foot, but I was so glad we did it. It was a marvellous day.)

The walking path near the start of our 27-kilometre hike from Dover to Deal, England, July 2011.

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here. Please enjoy the audio from the Vera Lynn YouTube channel:



9 thoughts on “(There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover

  1. Beautiful
    Lots of memories
    A different time…and now we have similar challenges
    It is so hard for humans…to catch up to our technology
    Thank Steve

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Bill. Yes, similar challenges and it makes me respect our parents’ generation for all they endured in the war and the lifelong scars I didn’t see or understand as a young person.


  2. I joined my local Navy League Cadet corps when I was 10 years old, it was sponsored by our local Legion branch and many of our officers, and all of our sponsor representatives, were veterans, WW I, WW II, and Korea. I met a lot of these veterans, and attended many legion functions, veteran’s parades, and the like, and heard this song many times. I don’t believe there was a Legion social event where this wasn’t played, or somebody didn’t sing it.

    When I became too old for cadets I stayed as a cadet officer, and continued my relationship with the Legion, joining when I was old enough. Many of these veterans became my friends. I learned a great deal from these men, and women, including how to play 120s (Growl), which I spent many an afternoon and Saturday at the Legion playing. Eventually, through my own military service, I became an Ordinary member.

    Over the years the veterans (many of them my friends) began to die off. It seem that the Legion events I was most attending were funerals. Eventually, the card games stopped, as did the Saturday night dances, those veterans who had not passed away had become too old or sick to continue. Due to this, and work and family obligations, I drifted away from the Legion.

    Listening to this song this morning (which I found very difficult to get through as it was so emotionally overwhelming) so many of the names and faces of these amazing people, to whom we owe so much, came back to me, many of whom, I am sad to say, I had forgotten. I could see them sitting around the card table, bullshitting at the bar, dancing it up on a Saturday night, on parade, legion jackets festooned with medals, the ones who took the time to support us as kids in cadets, and all the friends I had lost.

    Thank you so much for this Steve, though I may be the rest the day getting over it.

    Lest We Forget

    Postscript: I just added the 27 Kilometre hike from Dover to Deal to my bucket list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stephen, thank you for such a wonderful and very moving share. You paint such a vivid picture of your memories; I can see them as If I were there in those places and times.

      I especially savoured the memory you had this morning of reuniting with your legion and Veteran friends, surveying their decorated legion jackets. Yes, indeed, we owe so much to these people who sacrificed much in service.

      Wishing you peace in your heart and soul today as you ponder these dear friends now gone. Take care, Stephen and thank you again for this beautiful message.

      PS: you will love the walk! Some nice-looking pubs in Deal for a well-deserved reward, though we elected to buy some cans at an “offie” and sat on the beach enjoying them before getting a train back to London.


    1. Yes, I agree it’s beautiful. And yeah, some sadness for all the difficulties and losses in that time, and hopeful for a peaceful future. Luckily, most of us don’t have to endure such hardship.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Totally possible, just takes the political will. And less male toxicity. I hope for that too; instead we see movies and video games romanticizing war and feeding that. Ugh.

          Liked by 1 person

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