Dr Dick Whitaker, meteorologist on “The Forecast For D-Day”. He tells the incredible story of the weather prediction behind the D Day invasion of occupied Europe on 6th June 1944.
It is a story of politics, intrigue and the production of one of the most important weather forecasts in modern history. The consequences of a forecast error were potentially catastrophic, and the science of meteorology at the time was very much in a stage of early development.
The forecasting team consisted of experts from the United States and Britain, led by the UK meteorologist James Martin Stagg. After he had recommended June 6th as being suitable weatherwise a senior US commander confided "Good luck Stagg: may all your depressions be nice little ones: but remember, we'll string you up from the nearest lamp post if you don't read the omens aright."
History records that the forecast was successful, allowing the Allied forces to establish a bridgehead in occupied France. Had the predictions been awry it is likely that the war would have been significantly prolonged, with an uncertain outcome”.
Richard (Dick) Whitaker
After graduating from Monash University in Science in 1968, Dick was conscripted and served two years in the Army, ending his military career as an infantry junior officer with 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment. He joined the Bureau of Meteorology soon after and began a public service career that would last some thirty-one years.
Dick left the Bureau in 2002, but never lost the “weather bug” and came out of retirement to begin his own meteorological consultancy business. He was Chief Meteorologist with Sky News Weather up until 2016 and appeared regularly on radio and television.
He remains very interested in history and meteorological education, particularly through television, radio, and books, and has been author, co-author and consultant editor of seventeen books about the weather, including publications for Time-Life and Reader’s Digest.