STORIES of war are always retold from one generation to the next.

Whether it be the miracle of Dunkirk or the decisive victory of the Battle of Britain, everyone has heard about these moments of triumph in their own nation’s history when the outcomes could have been so very different.

In a special celebration to those war time memories, the BBC Big Band along with vocalist Annie Gill will be heading to the Anvil to capture the spirit of the 1940s.

Our Finest Hour will grace the Basingstoke theatre on Saturday, 22 September and will be presented by actor Kevin Whately.

The show is aiming to celebrate the time period of the Second World War, with many families being able to relate as having members who served during this time.

The Auf Wiedersehen, Pet actor will preside over proceedings which includes tributes to an array of wartime era artists from Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields to the Andrews Sisters and Glenn Miller.

“I’m introducing the music, doing narration between the performance pieces and reading things,” explained Whately.

“Like a letter from an unnamed serviceman who left it for his mum and didn’t return from a bombing raid, which sums up certainly how the people in the RAF felt about their war effort and how important it was.”

The main theme of the show will centre around Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain and how vital they were to the Allies winning the Second World War.

Whately added: “They were both such massive turning points in the war.

“Dunkirk was probably the worst time of the conflict but because we got through it didn’t mean we were exactly on the home run but from then on things started going better and the Battle of Britain was won against all odds really.

“It’s important that kids know about the war and what exactly it entailed as well as them seeing the social side of it, which they will do through the music and songs.”

Many audience members may have stories that their relatives have recounted to them about their time in the war, and it is hoped that this celebration of the 1940s, war, music and everything else, will help keep those stories alive.

“My dad was in the Navy, his brother was in the Army and my grandmother on my dad’s side lost, I think, four brothers in the First World War,” continued Whately.

“My wife’s dad was in the Merchant Navy and his ship was sunk three times – they were torpedoed three times but he survived.

“My dad was in the Atlantic down in Africa during the Second World War but he wasn’t at Dunkirk and he was one of those people who never talked about it.

“I think he once spoke about being in Gibraltar but he wasn’t one for recounting war stories.”

When asked if had ever considered signing up for the Armed Forces Whately added: “No, I didn’t.

“My brother did. He was going to join the Navy but I think his eyesight wasn’t good enough.

“But it never crossed my mind.”

Our Finest Hour comes to the Anvil on September 22, starting at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £30 to £32.50, while over 65s, under 16s and students get £2 off.

For more information about the show and tickets go to