'At least the day was fine'
- British D-Day veteran Joe Cattini.
Probably still feeling seasick like the majority of the soldiers, thanks to choppy seas and a rectangular landing craft, he must have survived vicious metal beach obstacles (part of Rommel's Atlantic Wall) and being shot at by the enemy from the gun emplacements on the dunes and cliffs behind.
Not 'flaming June'. June 2019 began cold, windy and wet with two inches of rain falling into the compost bucket outside our back door during the last 24 hours, getting us grumbling about putting winter jumpers on and having to switch the central heating on. Then I thought of the rain and gales of June 1944 in the English Channel, and my cousin surviving the landings on D-Day.
(My cousin features in In Our Fathers' Footsteps (see books). NB: At present, Amazon are quoting a delivery delay of 1 - 3 months but you can buy either the PB from the publisher with a delay of about a week or the Kindle version through Amazon at 99p).
General Eisenhower's experts had identified June 5th, 6th and 7th as possibles based on tide times and moon phases - later than that, the enemy may have seen through the fake installations around Dover and realised that the real plans were for Normandy landings not for Pas de Calais landings. Group Captain James Skagg was receiving readings from weather stations from Great Britain to as far away as Iceland and Greenland, and D-Day was postponed from June 5th to June 6th because of the threat of bad weather.
DID EISENHOWER TRUST TO LUCK?
No, he didn't. Supporting evidence for his decision was aired on Irish TV (RTE1) at 10.15 pm on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Crucial barometric pressure and temperature readings taken at the Blacksod Weather Station, Co Mayo, by largely unsung hero, Maureen Sweeney (nee Flavin), now aged 96, were secretly passed on to Eisenhower's team on the orders of Eamon de Valera, Prime Minister of neutral Ireland.
More on Maureen Sweeney's inspiring story in my next post
It's almost two years since I published In Our Fathers' Footsteps (see under BOOKS). My latest book, One Dog and His Cop, about my cousin's police dog,was published 30 November this year (see under BOOKS).