||Federation and Meteorology
Table of Contents
RAAF Meteorological Service
Chapter 1: The Weather Factor in Warfare
The Weather and Chemical Warfare
Chapter 2: Establishing and Developing the RAAF Directorate of Met. Services (D.Met.S)
Chapter 3: Recruiting and Training of Personnel
Chapter 4: Meteorology in Aviation
Chapter 5: The Met. Retreating
Chapter 6: The Met. Advancing
Chapter 7: The Met With the Army and the Navy
Chapter 8: Divisional Offices of the Bureau of Meteorology During the War
Chapter 9: Research and Instrumental Development
Chapter 10: The End, Aftermath, and Beyond
Chapter 1: The Weather Factor in Warfare (continued)
Taking advantage of the size of Australia, air bases were established well inland at such places as Corunna Downs, a cattle station near Marble Bar (WA). Here, and at similar places, Allied Liberators could operate long range to Java without the risk of their bases being exposed to Japanese attack, because of the long distances involved. Again the weather factor operated. Flight-Lieutenant Bob Birtwistle described how an American C47 took off and crashed into the Darling Ranges about five miles from the base. He ascribed this accident 'to a thin raised fog', adding that 'fortunately all details of this and of the winds which I had given in the forecast for the flight were spot on!'
THE CYCLONE THAT KILLED TWO GENERALS
Not all of Australia's Great Servicemen Died in Battle
The story was recounted to the newspaper by the Met. officer involvedFlying-Officer Eric Craig of Sydney. He told graphically of how, on 5 March 1945 Major-General G. A. Vasey, CB, OBS, DSO, one of Australia's greatest soldiers, perished when his aircraft crashed into the sea off Cairns. With him, as well as nine other occupants of the plane, died Major-General R. M. Downes, GMG, ED. Despite Craig's warnings about the situation, and that conditions were deteriorating, the RAAF Hudson took off from Townsville in the afternoon of the fateful day.
The cause of the crash was a cyclone which, at the time, was ravaging the Queensland coast. The area around Cairns and Hinchinbrook Island was notorious for its shocking flying conditions in bad weather. Many aircraft have come to grief there.
© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher