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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up

Chapter 2: Port Moresby Before Pearl Harbour

Chapter 3: Port Moresby After Pearl Harbour
Work in the Meteorological Office
Japanese Land in Rabaul
Catalina and Hudson Operations
First Sight of the Japanese
Japanese Plans for the Invasion of Port Moresby
RAAF Meteorologists Under Threat of Japanese Advance
More Air Raids on Port Moresby
The Story of the Hudson
A Blow to Morale
More Air Raids but No 75 Squadron Kittykawks Arrive
Japanese Attempt to Invade Port Moresby by Sea
Japanese Submarines Attack Sydney
Attack on MV MacDhui
Return to Australia
The Meteorologists' Contribution

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 3: Port Moresby After Pearl Harbour (continued)

I quickly became accustomed to life in the RAAF barracks and officers' mess. The walls of the bedrooms in the barracks were very thin. One of our older fellow officers was 'Pop' Fallon who, from memory, was an intelligence officer. He had the loudest snore I have ever heard. When the snoring began a call went up 'Who's going to wake Pop?'. We all feigned deep sleep. Eventually the call would come 'C'mon Grif (Griffin), we know you're awake. Wake the old bugger up.' We would then hear the sound of Grifs footsteps, hear him yell 'Wake up Pop, you're snoring' and then hear the sound of his running feet as he headed back to bed in an attempt to get to sleep before Pop began snoring again. I think 'Grif Griffin was an administrative officer, a grazier from Queensland, who bought my old Chevrolet when I had no further use for it. He and some of his mates had much enjoyment driving the old Chewy flat out along the limited mileage of the dusty roads.

I recall the equipment, intelligence, communications and administrative officers living in the barracks developed into a close-knit group, very conscious of their role of providing support for aircrew. As a recently married bloke who had been living-out with his young wife, I had not developed many close friendships with other officers of RAAF station Port Moresby but I soon became better acquainted with that jovial group. Despite the fact that the Japanese were not far away and likely to get closer, they had a devil-may-care attitude.

The food in the mess was a challenge to the cooks because it came from tins, mostly M & V (meat and vegetables). M & V tasted great for the first week or so (I was accustomed to Army food from my prewar experience in Sydney University Regiment camps). After a couple of weeks of an unvaried diet of M & V one's appetite became jaded in spite of our cooks' best efforts to disguise it. They were more successful in introducing variety in their desserts, having a supply of canned peaches and pears and flour with which to make tarts and pies. As the Japanese aerial and submarine activity applied increasing pressure on our lines of supply there was a noticeable deterioration in our meals.

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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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