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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

Chapter 6: The Met. Advancing
The Coral Sea Battle—May 1942
The Battle of Milne Bay—24 August to 8 September, 1942
The Bismarck Sea Battle—1 March 1943

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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The Bismarck Sea Battle—1 March 1943 (continued)

Many RAAF bases and their accompanying meteorological sections were established in areas of extraordinary natural beauty. Places like Samarai, (despite its proximity to Milne Bay!), Kiriwina and Goodenough Island are tropical island gems—although they were plagued by the usual pestilences of the tropics, notably mosquitoes and malaria. Kiriwina, the site of two airstrips, was used by Allied fighter aircraft supporting Beaufort bombers from Goodenough. These fighters, including Kittyhawks, Spitfires and Beaufighters, patrolled the northern shores of New Britain regularly. Meteorological Assistant Cyril Coombs described the typical 'two-season' weather—the monsoon, followed by the southeast trade winds—and the regular thunderstorms that occurred between 1100 and 1300 hours almost daily. The annual temperature range was only one or two degrees Fahrenheit, with a daily range from about 72 to 90 degrees, with the maximum about midday.

Coombs recounted the story of an American pilot who landed and taxied his Liberator under the duty pilot's tower, then yelled, Where do I get the crabs?' He had flown from Lae to Kiriwina to get crabs for his officers' mess, using 1,600 gallons of petrol to fly for four hours. He got the crabs, which were supplied through ANGAU (Australian New Guinea Army Administration Unit). Our American friends were truly men of enterprise. I can recall fresh turkeys and loganberry sauce being flown from the USA to Gamadodo for Thanksgiving dinner.

Cyril Coombs described the Trobriand Island natives as 'a small but robust race, light in colour, with a strong matriarchal social system'. Their sing-songs were memorable—'very colourful with the girls in the briefest mini-skirts—far outdoing Hollywood'.[67]

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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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