It was June 3, 1944. In County Mayo, on the west coast of Ireland, an operator at a remote North Atlantic weather station noticed his barometer dropping rapidly, indicating that a storm would pass over the Channel. Stain in no time.
Her name was Maureen Flavin Sweeney, and her weather report, which postponed the D-Day landings by 24 hours, saving thousands of lives, recently earned her an official honor in the Congressional Record.
Maureen, now 98, was honored as part of a ceremony at the Tí Arie nursing home where she now lives at the hands of the highest-ranking veteran serving in the United States Congress, Jack Bergman.
“His skill and professionalism were crucial in ensuring the victory of the Allies, and his legacy will endure for generations to come,” he wrote, according to the Irish times.
The weather station at the Blacksod Point Post Office recorded the time hourly and sent it to Dublin and then to the Allied Expeditionary Force offices in London. Early in the morning on the day Ms. Sweeney turned 21, an agitated English woman called her office and asked, “Please check … repeat.”
However, after reading the barometer again with the help of her husband Ted, the result was the same: a storm that would cause General Eisenhower to postpone the landings for 24 hours, would pass through the English Channel on June 5. Sweeney didn’t realize the importance of his reports until a decade after the war.
The Allies needed clear skies for air support and calm seas to ensure uniform and safe landings for the troops. The losses suffered at the five landing beaches were great, but would have been much greater if their report had not come through.
Maureen’s son Vincent said he was proud of his mother’s contribution to the outcome of the war, but admitted he was happy, “that she did well.”
(LOOK the RTE video to meet Maureen below).
– RTÉ One (@RTEOne) June 6, 2019
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