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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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More Air Raids but No 75 Squadron Kittykawks Arrive (continued)

The Japanese were not attacking Port Moresby with the same confidence as they had before the arrival of the Kittyhawks of RAAF No 75 Squadron. The first AIF reinforcements arrived in Port Moresby by the troopship Taroona on Wednesday 25 March 1942, the day on which Port Moresby experienced its 19th air-raid by three bombers and four protecting Zeros. It was to be some time before the AIF became as accustomed to jungle warfare as were the raw militia troops who had first arrived early in January. By Friday 27 March, Port Moresby had had 20 raids by Japanese aircraft, some on the Seven-mile airstrip, others on shipping in the harbour and on the single wharf. Darwin had had eight raids at that time. The Japanese were obviously intent on taking Port Moresby before Darwin.

By Sunday 5 April, when RAAF No 75 fighter Squadron was joined by USAF Airacobra fighters, the air war between the Allies and Japan was hotting up over Port Moresby. USAF bomber aircraft based in Australia were refuelling at Port Moresby for attacks on Lae and Rabaul and the Japanese were intent on rendering the Seven-mile airstrip unserviceable. In retrospect it would have been sensible to establish our RAAF meteorological unit at the aerodrome but we had our observing station, office and equipment at Konedobu and we were part of RAAF station HQ and its signals unit located there. Without a signals unit it was impossible to receive meteorological reports necessary for the preparation of forecasts.

On 10 April 1942, when seven bombers and six Zeros were conducting the 25th raid on Port Moresby, John Jackson was conducting a reconnaissance over Lae, Salamaua and Nadzab when he was surprised by three Zeros which disabled his aircraft and forced him to belly land in the sea. After twelve days he was able to make his way over the Owen Stanley Range back to Port Moresby in a much dishevelled condition. On 28 April John Jackson was shot down when leading a flight of five Kittyhawks. John's brother Les took over command of the Squadron which was withdrawn from Port Moresby on 5 May, when only 3 Kittyhawks were left serviceable. To honour John Jackson, the Seven-mile airstrip was renamed Jackson's.

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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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