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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

Chapter 5: Japan Surrenders and We Are Demobilised
Visit to Japan
The RAAF Meteorological Service Returns to 'Civvy' Street
Some Thoughts on Tropical Meteorology



Appendix 1: References

Appendix 2: Milestones

Appendix 3: Papers Published in Tropical Weather Research Bulletins

Appendix 4: Radiosonde Observations 1941–46


Contact us

Visit to Japan (continued)

The cruising speed of the DC-3 was about 100–120 knots and the distance from Darwin to Tokyo is about 2280 nautical miles, so that the flight time would be about 20 flying hours. We left Darwin early one morning and after refuelling at Moratai off the Indonesian island of Halmahera and at Tacloban on the Philippine island of Leyte, we arrived at Laoag in the northern part of the island of Luzon in the late afternoon. The town of Laoag was separated from the airstrip by a deep gorge which was spanned by a trestle bridge carrying a single railway track. The bridge had no protective rail on either side. We carefully crossed the bridge and found a cafe at which we could eat and sample some of the London dry gin made in the Philippines. After dark we recrossed the bridge to the aircraft and spent a cool night sleeping in greatcoats under the wing.

The next morning, the aircraft having been refuelled, we took off and flew via Okinawa to a landing strip on Kyushu, the southernmost of the islands of the Japanese mainland. After the aircraft was refuelled we proceeded to Tokyo. I have always enjoyed flights in a DC-3 which is a strong reliable aircraft—slow but sure. The flight to Japan was as uneventful and enjoyable as those I have had in Australia and in the Antarctic.

We reported to MacArthur's headquarters in the Dai Ichi (number one) hotel in Tokyo which was located opposite the Imperial Palace. The Australian representative gave us details of our accommodation and the program for our visit.

We visited the headquarters of the Japanese meteorological service in Tokyo and found that the procedures they followed were similar to ours. One remarkable discovery was the information from a meteorologist who had served with the Japanese Air-Force in the South-west Pacific. He told us that they had no difficulty in cracking our Cometsyn enciphered meteorological messages which were broadcast at regular intervals. It seemed that they may have finished plotting reports from Australia on their charts before we had on ours.

We saw the streets of central Tokyo and I was amazed at the destruction caused by the US incendiary air-raids. Most of the buildings in the business district had been wooden and the charred remains seemed to stretch to the horizon.

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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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