||Federation and Meteorology
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 194146
The Story of the HudsonAt this stage of my reminiscences it is appropriate to interpolate a brief summary of the history of Hudson aircraft in the RAAF and their involvement in the New Guinea area at this time (for more details see Wilson 1992). The Hudson was a military development of the US Lockheed L-14 Super Electra, similar to the Electras operated by Ansett and Guinea companies prewar as a passenger-carrying civil aircraft. It had been developed in the 1930s as an all metal monoplane when the English were still manufacturing De Havilland DH-84s and DH-86s, which were wooden framed, fabric covered biplanes widely used in Australia by Qantas and other airlines.
The Australian Government placed orders for 50 Hudsons for the RAAF in 1938. The first was delivered in packing cases to the RAAF in January 1940 and was assembled and test flown at the RAAF base at Richmond (near Sydney) in that year. It was RAAF Hudson A 16-97 which crashed on approaching its landing in Canberra that year killing all passengers and crew, the passengers including Minister for the Army Fairbairn, Vice-President of the Executive Council, Sir Henry Gullet, General Sir Brudenhall-White and Brigadier Street.
The Hudson, like the Short Empire 'C' Class and Catalina flying boats, was acquired for reconnaissance but like the Catalina, was used on many bombing missions. It was a Hudson from No 6 Squadron for which I prepared my first wartime forecast in its mission of reconnaissance of Kapingamaringi Island a few days after the war started. Other No 6 Squadron Hudsons, while making reconnaissance flights over Truk, sighted the Japanese invasion force preparing for the landing at Rabaul. It was No 24 Squadron, with its Hudsons and Wirraways, which was virtually wiped out in resisting that landing. No 36 Hudson Squadron, commanded by Flt Lt Hampshire, which was transferred to Port Moresby in February 1942 and operated from the Seven-mile airstrip, suffered such severe losses from Japanese strafing and bombing raids that it was transferred to Horn Island, near Cape York.
Our forecasting support for the Hudsons was limited by the fact that we were located near the Port Moresby harbour and had little direct contact with the courageous pilots who flew those aircraft without protection of fighter aircraft. We nevertheless maintained our observational and forecasting program, hoping that it was useful to them.
© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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