CARDIFF, Wales, Sept. 3 (UPI) — Eileen Younghusband, a WWII veteran who served in Britain’s Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and used her math skills to stop Hitler’s V2 bombs, died Friday at age 95.
Younghusband joined the WWAF division of the Royal Air Force at 19 and worked in filter rooms, which were part of the top secret faction of Britain’s air defense, and processed information from coastal radar stations to initiate air raid warnings and enable Britain’s forces to intercept German bombers.
After D-Day, Younghusband traveled to Belgium as part of a team of women who used their mathematical aptitude to locate mobile launchers for Hitler’s V2 rockets, the world’s first guided long-range ballistic missile.
“Our job was to extrapolate the curve of the V2 from the place it landed back to the launch site, and we did that once we knew the fall of shot and we got the position of the top of curve, we then used a slide rule in geometry to find the launch site,” she told the BBC in a recent interview.
Following the end of the war, Younghusband, who was fluent in French, worked as a translator at the Breedonk concentration camp in Belgium.
She spent most of her career in the hospitality industry, working in hotels and catering. Younghusband moved to Wales in 1984 and became an advocate for health and education issues.
She earned a degree from the Open University at the age of 87 and published an autobiography, Not an Ordinary Life, the following year.
“The girls who worked on that section [WAAF], many of them now nearly 90 years of age, have never felt that the work they did has been recognized, so this is one of the reasons that made me write this book,” she said at the time of its publication.
Younghusband also authored a children’s book based on her experiences called Eileen’s War, which was published weeks before her death.
“Very sad to see that Eileen has died,” First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, tweeted. “A lovely lady and a real character. She will be sorely missed.”