D-Day ‘hero’ Maureen Sweeney, 100, of Ireland dies, known for storm prediction that saved Allies from disaster

Maureen (Flavin) Sweeney, a lighthouse worker in Ireland whose critical weather reports helped ensure the success of the epic D-Day invasion of Normandy in World War II, died on Sunday at 100 years old, according to multiple reports on Monday in Irish media. 

Her death was received with reverence on Capitol Hill.

“Maureen Sweeney is a hero and saved countless lives of Allies,” Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Michigan, told Fox News Digital. 

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“The information she provided to Gen. Eisenhower and his command team made the difference in the success of the Allied operation on D-Day.” 

Sweeney’s accurate prediction of a dangerous storm bearing down on Europe from across the Atlantic Ocean convinced Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and his staff to delay a planned June 4, 1944, invasion. 

Maureen Sweeney of Ireland, then 98, was honored by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2021 for her role in ensuring the success of the D-Day invasion in 1944. Sweeney’s storm prediction saved commanders from launching the invasion too early. She died on Dec. 17, 2023, at 100 years old.  (Tom Reilly)

The successful invasion of June 6, amid a break in the stormy weather, hastened victory for the U.S. and Allies in World War II. 

“Maureen, who was 21 in June 1944, worked at Blacksod Lighthouse, a remote lighthouse and weather station on the Mayo coast that supplied weather reports to the Allied forces during the Second World War,” IrishCentral reports.

“Maureen Sweeney is a hero and saved countless lives of Allies” – Rep. Jack Bergman

“On the night of June 3, 1944, Maureen became the first person to report a severe incoming storm from the Atlantic, prompting the Allied command to postpone the Normandy landings until June 6.”

If Sweeney had issued an inaccurate report, the storm might have caused a disaster for the largest invasion armada in history, as it was poised to invade France by sea and air across the English Channel. 

Blacksod Lighthouse

A general view of Blacksod lighthouse in County Mayo, 2022.  (Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images)

Thousands of American GIs might have been killed in a botched invasion amid unforeseen weather.

The storm, at the very least, would have created a massive logistical nightmare and delayed the invasion a month or more.

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Eisenhower said the idea of delaying the D-Day invasion into July “was too bitter to contemplate,” according to author Cornelius Ryan in his classic history of the event, “The Longest Day.”

Just two years ago, Sweeney was honored by the U.S. House of Representatives for her role in the D-Day invasion. 

Eisenhower before D-Day

General Eisenhower talking with American paratroopers on the evening of June 5, 1944, as they prepared for the Invasion of Normandy. Photo includes Sgt. Russell Wilmarth, behind Eisenhower’s chin, Lt. Wallace C. Strobel with a “23” tag, Ralph “Bud” Thomas, to the left of Strobel, and probably Cpl. Donald E. Kruger, front row, far right, wearing musette bag on his chest.  (Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

“Her skill and professionalism were crucial in ensuring Allied victory, and her legacy will live on for generations to come,” read a congressional dedication to Sweeney on June 6, 2021.

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The World War II hero discussed her contribution to the greatest endeavor in military history with the Irish Sun in 2016. 

“We took the weather in the ordinary way and passed it on,” Sweeney told the outlet, which added that she worked with her husband Ted at the lighthouse. 

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“We got a message back again saying, ‘Please check and repeat.’ So I went back, but I was right, the barometer had dropped.”

Honor for Maureen Sweeney

Maureen Sweeney of Ireland, whose weather reports before D-Day in June 1944 helped ensure the success of the World War II invasion, was honored by the House of Representatives in 2021.  (Courtesy Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Michigan)

The drop in atmospheric pressure was an indication that a surprisingly strong Atlantic Ocean storm was moving in over Europe. 

Sweeney, a native of County Kerry, died at Sonas Ti Aire nursing home in County Mayo; her death was announced by family members, according to reports. 

“We got a message back again saying, ‘Please check and repeat.’ So I went back, but I was right, the barometer had dropped.” — Maureen Sweeney

She is survived by four children, Ted, Gerry, Vincent and Emer, along with many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, Irish media sources report.

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Rep. Bergman, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general, added that he and his wife Cindy “will continue to keep Sweeney’s famiiy in our prayers as we remember and reflect on her incredible dedication and service.” 

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