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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)

During early 1942, owing to the increasing severity of the attacks on Port Moresby, the Catalina Squadrons were withdrawn to the mainland, so that the number of forecasters required at the Port greatly decreased. So many buildings were damaged in enemy air raids on the so-called Reclamation Area that RAAF headquarters, including the Met. was moved to the police barracks.

The attack on Pearl Harbour immediately brought the hitherto remote war to the whole Pacific region and all adjacent nations. As the Germans overran Europe in the early days of World War II, so the Japanese swept everything before them as they surged southward in the South-West Pacific in early 1942, meeting little effective resistance. The nation prepared to wage war, as the Japanese were, steals a long march on those who somewhat complacently believe that war will not eventuate.

Squadron-Leader Gibbs records that 'wives and children of service personnel (including my wife and baby daughter) were flown to Townsville by RAAF Short Empire flying boat'. By this time, the Japanese had launched attacks on the northern islands, and Lae and Rabaul, in New Guinea and New Britain respectively, soon fell.

The ensuing days in Port Moresby were 'pretty tough', recalled Gibbs. Diet was very restricted; dengue fever was rife. Frequent and very accurate high level bombing attacks by the Japanese went on unopposed as the Allies had no fighter aircraft. This led to some despondency, 'a feeling that we were largely forgotten', further aggravated by news of the panic-conceived Brisbane Line strategy by the Australian Government.[47]

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
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher