Forces sweetheart

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Lady Angela Forbes, a forces sweetheart during WWI

Forces Sweetheart (or Forces' Sweetheart) is an accolade in the United Kingdom given to those who have become a favourite of serving men in the British Armed Forces, though the term is also used in other countries.

The role of being a favourite among the armed forces started in World War I. During this time, novelist Lady Angela Forbes was considered a Forces Sweetheart as a catering organiser for the British army from November 1914.[1] The British Soldiers' Buffets, commonly known as Angelinas, met every train of wounded as it arrived and were often open 24 hours a day, and food never ran out.[2][3] Following her, Elsie Janis was called The Sweetheart of the American Expeditionary Forces.

Service entertainers from around the world[edit]

British Forces Sweethearts[edit]

Sweethearts during World War II included Vera Lynn, (whose singing ("(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover" and "We'll Meet Again" brought great happiness to many in Britain); Gracie Fields; and Anne Shelton.[1]

Present-day sweethearts for the British forces include Nell McAndrew, Katherine Jenkins, Kirsten Orsborn, Cheryl Cole.[1][4] In 2011 London drag queen Richard Rhodes became the first man to be awarded the title.[5]

United States[edit]

Frances Langford, an actress and singer, whose husband served as assistant secretary of the United States Air Force under president Harry Truman, was billed as the "Singing Sweetheart of the Fighting Fronts" from World War II to the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Commonwealth countries[edit]

Actress Lorrae Desmond, who was at that time best known a singer and recording artist, performed along fellow vocalists Little Patti, Normie Rowe, Dinah Lee and numerous others as the "forces's sweetheart in Australia" when troops were stationed in Vietnam. Desmond herself toured Vietnam, the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya and Somalia[6]


  • Joanna Lumley. Forces Sweethearts.
  • Eric Taylor. Forces Sweethearts: Service romances in World War II. London: Hale ISBN 0709041969
  • Chantelle Fiddy. My Life on the Front.


  1. ^ a b c "Sweetheart we love you!". Daily Express. Retrieved 30 December 2012
  2. ^ Lady Angela Selina Bianca St. Clair-Erskine Forbes. Memories and Base Details. New York: G. H. Doran Co., 1922
  3. ^ Lady Cynthia Asquith. Diaries, 1915–1918. London: Hutchinson, 1968
  4. ^ "Cole becomes Forces' sweetheart". Belfast Telegraph. 9 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Meet Cookie Monstar, forces sweetheart... and drag artist". Evening Standard. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Vale:Lorrae Desmond".

External links[edit]