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Table of Contents

RAAF Meteorological Service



Chapter 1: The Weather Factor in 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
Papua New Guinea and New Britain
The Netherlands East Indies and Malaya
Escape from Timor
Northern Australia—1942

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

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Appendix 4



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Papua New Guinea and New Britain (continued)

Forecasts for the flying boat Squadrons were either phoned from Kila to RAAF headquarters in the township, or, if possible, delivered by hand to pilots before take-off. Owing to this situation, personal contact between Met. and aircrew was limited. Forecasts were also made for USAAC Fortresses and Liberators flying the Wake Island—Port Moresby—Darwin route. 'On one occasion', related Gibbs, 'a Liberator flight from Wake Island to Port Moresby was abandoned because of a typhoon on the route'.[45]

During the period from the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941 to the fall of Rabaul in January 1942, forecasts were issued for strikes on Truk by Catalinas of 11 and 20 Squadrons. Met. officers were present at briefings of crews before and after these operations. 'The forecasts were satisfactory', stated Gibbs, 'except between Latitude 5 degrees north and Truk where conditions were more severe than predicted; and this was responsible for most of the aircraft failing to reach the target area'.[46] Forecasts were also given for Hudson attacks on Kapingamarangi (Greenwich) Island.

During February, 1942, the Met. moved into a new hut at headquarters in a group of buildings on a newly reclaimed area of land on the shore of the harbour of Port Moresby. The section was now adjacent to operations and signals sections, facilitating close co-operation by Met. officers in operational planning. This resulted in improvement of the Met. section's effectiveness.

Soon after the Japanese occupation of Rabaul, Catalinas of 11 and 20 Squadrons made frequent night attacks on that town. Forecasts were provided and crews briefed before and after the operations with, according to Gibbs, 'excellent results'. Gibbs recalled that a small flight of Australian RAAF Wirraways attacked the Japanese in Rabaul. From memory, none of these aircraft returned, although some of the crew managed to escape by parachute or other means and to find their way back.

People in Bright Sparcs - Gibbs, William James (Bill)

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Joyce, J. 1993 'The Story of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 5 October 1993, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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