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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up
Early Australian Meteorologists
Early Days in the Bureau
Forecasters' Training Course
My Classmates
Reorganisation of the Bureau
Love and Marriage

Chapter 2: Port Moresby Before Pearl Harbour

Chapter 3: Port Moresby After Pearl Harbour

Chapter 4: Allied Air Force HQ and RAAF Command, Brisbane

Chapter 5: Japan Surrenders and We Are Demobilised



Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Milestones

Appendix 3: Papers Published in Tropical Weather Research Bulletins

Appendix 4: Radiosonde Observations 1941–46


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Chapter 1: Growing Up (continued)

I was fortunate that a wealthy Australian grazier, Sir Samuel McCaughey, a bachelor, had made some generous bequests to charitable causes, among which was a fund for the education of children of soldiers killed in action. With this support and the sacrifices of my mother I was able to attend secondary school and university. The McCaughey story is sensitively told by Patricia McCaughey (1955), the wife of one of his nephews.

From my earliest years I was fascinated by aeroplanes. At the age of 10 I built model aeroplanes which consisted of a single thin strip of balsawood which served as a fuselage, to which was attached a wing having a balsawood frame covered with tracing paper and a similarly constructed tail fin and tailplane. Motive power was a propeller carved from balsawood connected to an elastic band stretching along the fuselage to the tail. The elastic thread was twisted up by rotating the propeller. The plane was placed on the ground, the propeller released and the plane rose into the air and, with luck, flew a circuit before landing.

My childhood was a time when aviation was at its most exciting stage of development. Australia had a proud record, beginning with Hargraves and his box kites in the 1890s and continuing with John Duigan who designed and built his own aeroplane and successfully flew it at Mia Mia in Victoria on 7 October 1910. This was less than seven years after the Wright brothers flew the first successful aeroplane at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, in December 1903.

I was three years of age when Ross and Keith Smith completed the first flight from England to Australia in their World War I Vickers Vimy twin-engine biplane, arriving in Darwin in 28 days. That flight has been repeated recently by a replica. I had not long turned 11 when I was thrilled by the exploits of Bert Hinkler in flying solo from England to Australia in his tiny single-engine Avro Avian biplane.

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Gibbs, W. J. 1995 'A Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 7 March 1995, Bureau of Meteorology

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