Page 280
Previous/Next Page
Federation and MeteorologyBureau of Meteorology
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



Contact us
Darwin (continued)

Flight-Lieutenant Bob Birtwistle was a Met. officer at No. 4 Elementary Flying Training School at Geraldton (WA) from 1942 to August 1943. He described the CO, a permanent RAAF officer, as being suspicious of these odd Met. people. 'We don't know much about you fellows', he said, 'but you keep those things (pointing to the weather forecasts) up-to-date, and we'll get along'.

Birtwistle recalled how the Met. boys livened up a masthead parade one Sunday:

'When the wind was in the right direction during a church parade, we found an excuse to send up a meteorological balloon. We weighted the balloon to give it a very slow rate of ascent. It drifted almost at ground level, rising slowly above the parade ground and its assembled congregation. We believe the CO was aware that this was not a normal balloon flight, but he too, obviously welcomed the diversion. The Geraldton clergy took these services as honorary padres. Though somewhat distracted at first by the silent manifestation of the balloon, they subsequently saw the humour of the situation.'[60]


Keith Hannay was appointed as Met. officer to the advanced operations base at Broome on his return from the invaded Far East. At the time, Broome was in a state of desolation after a heavy attack on 2 March 1942, when 17 moored flying boats were destroyed. Nearly all the civilian population was evacuated. The meteorological office with most of its equipment intact continued to function in its normal location about one quarter of a mile from the aerodrome. Except for the MacRobertson Miller Aviation Company, which was continuing its run from Perth to Darwin, there were few other aircraft using the aerodrome. The meteorological network was collected through RAAF signals and the local Post Office. Civil Aeradio was working across the road. There was another raid on 20 March, the Japs using medium bombers', Hannay recalled. 'These cratered the aerodrome. Several Zeros also strafed the area and set on fire the only aircraft on the aerodrome at the time.' There were one or two minor alarms.[61] On March 20, RAAF Headquarters moved the meteorological office temporarily to Port Hedland under the control of Flight-Lieutenant J. Hall, Hannay having been posted to Melbourne.

People in Bright Sparcs - Hannay, Alexander Keith (Keith)

Previous Page Bureau of Meteorology Next Page

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