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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

Chapter 4: Allied Air Force HQ and RAAF Command, Brisbane
General Douglas MacArthur
We Join Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane
Ralph Holmes
Forecasting Procedure
WAAAFs and Other Staff
Briefing MacArthur & Co
Domestic Affairs
The Yanks Are Coming
Japanese Advance Across Owen Stanley Range
General George C. Kenney
Additional Staff
Staff Arrangements
Long Range Forecast
Investigations into Tropical Meteorology
Analysis Statements
MacArthur's Remarkable Strategy
A New Direction
Tropical Weather Research Bulletin
RAAF Command, Pat Squires and Henry Phillpot

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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General Douglas MacArthur (continued)

Before MacArthur's arrival Prime Minister Curtin had great difficulty in persuading Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt to allocate adequate military resources to the Pacific. Odgers (1957) states that Churchill and Roosevelt supported the idea that the main war effort should be devoted to the defeat of Germany, after which attention could be given to the defeat of Japan. The Australian War Cabinet and military chiefs then decided that, with the resources available at that time, the defence of northern Australia would be extremely difficult. They therefore agreed that any Japanese threat to the north should be resisted by forces already located in that area and that other forces should be retained south of a line from Brisbane to Adelaide.

This view of history has been discounted by many authors, members of the War Cabinet and military leaders but the evidence in support of the existence of a 'Brisbane line' strategy is overwhelming. This strategy, adopted by the War Cabinet and Australian military chiefs, seems quite reasonable when viewed from the perspective of the present day, but civilians and members of the armed forces located north of the 'Brisbane line' at that time did not view the strategy with enthusiasm. There was, of course, no official public announcement of this decision but the 'bush telegraph' and the absence of any substantial reinforcement of forces in February 1942 would lead any intelligent individual to realise what was going on.

MacArthur immediately registered his opposition to this strategy and insisted that the emphasis should rest on resistance to the Japanese in the New Guinea area which was where their main thrust was imminent. He embarked on a program aimed at obtaining more US resources for the war in the South-west Pacific. There is no doubt that MacArthur's arrival gave new hope to the citizens of Australia as most realised we would need the help of our Allies to defeat the Japanese.

After the battle of the Coral Sea in May, which slowed the Japanese advance, MacArthur made plans to move closer to the battle-front and on 20 July 1942 moved his headquarters to the AMP Insurance building on the corner of Queen and Edward Streets in the centre of the city of Brisbane. MacArthur, his family and selected senior officers of his staff were given living accommodation in Lennons Hotel, the most modern in Brisbane.

People in Bright Sparcs - Holmes, Ralph Aubrey Edward

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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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