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Gordon Hensman's Weatherview

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: June 12, 2014

  • The Queen undertook a huge tour of the country in 1977, as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations

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The Black Country – Birthplace of

the Industrial Revolution

Weather in Dudley for May 2014


May this year was very warm and also very wet. The warmest weather was in mid-month when there were 5 days with maximum temperatures over 20, 68F.

From the 19th to the 29th it rained every day, with over half an inch on the 24th. Shallow low pressure areas produced the rain, and the warmest weather was the result of high pressure areas – which unfortunately, did not last long.


1. Mean maximum 17.8, 64F

2. Anomaly +2.0

3. Mean minimum 10.9, 51.5F

4. Anomaly +3.8

5. Average of max. & min. 14.3, 58F

6. Anomaly +2.9

7. Highest/date 25.1, 77F 19th

8. Lowest/date 1.6, 35F 3rd

9. Lowest grass/date -0.8, 30.5F 3rd

10. Mean 30cm soil depth 12.9, 55F

EXTREMES 1971 - 2014

A. Highest mean maximum 18.4, 65F 1992

B. Mean maximum 15.8, 60.5F

C. Lowest mean maximum 12.8, 55F 1996

D. Highest mean 13.3, 56F 2008

E. Mean 8.0, 46.5F

F. Lowest mean 8.9, 48F 1979

G. Highest mean minimum 8.9, 48F 2008

H. Mean minimum 7.1, 44.5F

I. Lowest mean minimum 4.5, 40F 1979

J. Extreme maximum 26.8, 80F 31st 2003

K. Extreme minimum -1.6, 29F 2nd 1979


11. Days with rain falling 17

12. Total fall 95.3mm

13. Wettest day 14.6mm 24th

EXTREMES 1969 - 2014

L. Wettest month 189.5mm 1969

M. Driest month 12.6mm 1991

N. Wettest day 43.5mm 25th 1969


14. Average relative humidity 9h 80%


15. Average air pressure 9h 1016mb

16. Highest/date 1026mb 31st

17. Lowest/date 1001mb 11th


18. N , NE , E ,SE , S , SW , W , NW , CALM


5th 1916 Do you remember that gripping poster from World War I, of the man with the drooping moustache, pointing a finger at you? Your Country Needs YOU! That was General Kitchener, Secretary of State for War. He was on his way to Russia on a diplomatic mission, shortly before Russia became embroiled in the Revolution – aided by the Germans facilitating the passage of Lenin through Germany, to foment whatever trouble he could.

Death of a hero

Kitchener sailed on HMS Hampshire from Scapa Flow, in the 0rkneys, bound for Archangel, when a severe storm blew up with force 9 winds from the north-east. The ship headed north in the lee of the Orkneys for shelter. The channel chosen had not been cleared of mines, and the wind suddenly shifted to the north-west, with waves so high that the two escorting destroyers couldn't keep up and turned back. In sight of the Brough of Birsay, the Hampshire struck a mine and sank in minutes with the loss of 643 crew – including Kitchener. There were only 12 survivors.

The speculation has been that Kitchener's mission might have been able to prevent the Russian Revolution, the execution of the Tzar and his family in March 1918 at Yekaterinburg, and the prevention of the communists taking control. Who knows?

6th Operation Overlord took place on the advice of Group Captain Stagg, chief meteorologist, who was later awarded the US Legion of Merit. It turned out that the rest of June had abominable weather. When the "moon and tide" window was next right in two weeks time, the worst storm for many years blew up. Eisenhower wrote to Stagg: "Thank the Gods of war we went when we did." It hardly bears thinking of, but had the invasion failed, at very least the war would have dragged on for several more years.

There is no glory in war

War is suffering, pain, grief, fear, soul-searing sights, devastation, destruction and merciless killing. Be in no doubt about the sheer horror of human beings killing other human beings. My own brief experience with a few of the weapons of modern warfare filled me with sheer horror at the possibility of using them against other men.

However, I remember learning about the Glorious 1st of June, in the 18th century, described with passion by my history teacher, when we beat the Spanish forces at sea. It was a marvellous event for Great Britain – so we were told - but there was no mention of the slaughter and suffering endured by the casualties. If you read about life on the gundeck during an engagement, the description of the deck being awash with blood, and strewn with pieces of human anatomy, is stomach-churning.

Moral High Ground

If any nation is able to claim this title in World War II, I believe it is Great Britain and its Empire –Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, West Indies.

We were the only ones to fight Nazi Germany from the beginning to the end.

The Soviet Union had signed a peace and mutual aid programme with Nazi Germany in the month before we declared war on the Nazis on 3rd September 1939 – the Nazi-Soviet Pact, to preserve Soviet neutrality (the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact) and to give them eastern Poland. The Soviet Union then took the opportunity to swallow up the Baltic States, and unsuccessfully invade Finland.

First German Defeats

We can claim the first victory over the enemy as a result of the Battle of Britain, in August and September 1940, and the first defeat of the German Army was at our hands, at El Alamein, North Africa – after we had defeated the Italians in Libya.

The RAF defeat of the Luftwaffe dealt a tremendous psychological blow to Nazi Germany - they had until this time been regarded as invincible– and it certainly gave heart and hope to the rest of the world. The Royal Air Force showed that the Nazis could be beaten.

The Germans invaded the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) in 1940, so the Soviets may have realised their mistake in having any dealings with the Nazis – although it obviously bought them time to restructure their armed forces after Stalin's purges of the 1930s.

They then clamoured for our support – hence the Arctic convoys around the North Cape to Russia. Stalin subsequently down-played our contribution to Hitler's defeat, after badgering us to open the second front to take the heat off the Russian Army. The ordinary Russians suffered dreadfully, with some 25 million dead.

The Americans confined themselves to sending aid to us, for which we paid in many ways, including the establishment of American bases on quite a few of our possessions.

They only came to their senses when the ally of Germany, Japan, treacherously bombed the Americans' Pacific Fleet, anchored in Pearl Harbour in the Hawaiian Islands. The islands were called, prior to their American annexation in the 19th century, the Sandwich Islands under the protection of the Royal Navy – they still have a Union Flag in the corner of their State Flag). That was in December 1941.

7th 1977 The Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations will be remembered by many Bugle readers. In keeping with tradition, the weather for the Queen's procession through London was suitably rainy and cold, soaking and testing the endurance of the enthusiastic loyalist crowds.

Beacons were lit from the tops of hills and mountains across the country in the blustering weather. Those ascending England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike, and other mountains in the Lake District, were able to throw snowballs from the few inches of fresh snow.

In Dudley it rained, with a maximum temperature of only 12.4, 54.5F.

9th On average, this is regarded as the date when the notorious midges get going. Culicoides impunctatus is the Highland biting midge, although there are actually thirty seven species in Scotland.

The second hatching, in mid-July and early August, produces the most vicious bloodsuckers as the pregnant females seek a meal of blood for their eggs to develop – please, no sexists remarks! It is estimated that an area of peat, just 6 feet square, contains up to half a million of these darlings!

10th 1982 Another Trooping of the Colour, distinguished this time not by blazing sunshine but by rain.It rained so much that the Household Cavalry found that their boots had filled to the brim with water!

11th 1963 Dublin suffered a day of cloudbursts. The rain gauges measured 7.2 inches, 184 mm, for the day, with more than 3.1 inches, 80mm, falling in one hour.

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