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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


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Visit to Japan (continued)

Allan and I were taken to a resort at Myanoshta in mountainous country not far from Tokyo, where we were accommodated in a Japanese style resort hotel. The furnishings were typically sparse and tastefully arranged and scrupulously clean. After a delicious Japanese meal we were shown our bedroom which had straw mattresses on the floor with a number of eiderdowns, a minimum of furniture and wooden surrounds. The windows in the room were lined with translucent cream paper rather than glass, which admitted filtered light but maintained privacy. Some of the windows had sliding panels.

We had been told that the hotel had a bath-house so we decided to sample it before retiring. It was located downstairs and was tiled throughout. It contained two pools, one very large. The smaller pool contained hot water and the larger, very hot water. I found it difficult to remain in the cooler of the two because of the high temperature but Allan, after warming up, entered the extremely hot pool. We had expected other bathers but we were the only two in the bath-house. After baking in the hot pool I decided to don a bathrobe and call it a day. Allan joined me from the very hot pool and as we climbed the marble staircase, we met a troop of young Japanese women descending. Allan's raised eyebrow asked should we join them but, not knowing the Japanese protocol of mixed bathing, we decided to retire to our room.

I have a vivid memory of when I woke next morning. I became conscious of absolute stillness. There was no sound of human movement, wind, rain or any other activity. Opening a small sliding paper-glazed window revealed a remarkable sight. The Japanese garden, bare of leaves and foliage, had an exquisite arrangement which provided a fitting background for falling snow. Very large snowflakes fell steadily and slowly to the snow-covered ground in absolute silence. It was difficult to reconcile this peaceful scene with the horrors of the recent war.

Allan and I travelled by train from Tokyo to Kure by way of the city of Kyoto. The carriage in which we travelled was roomy and comfortable, in contrast to the other carriages on the train which were jam-packed with Japanese who, despite the obvious discomfort, showed no concern. We were accommodated at Kure, a Japanese naval base during the war now occupied by Allied forces. We were met by a Royal Navy officer, John Cat, who filled us in on the local scene and next day drove us by Jeep to Hiroshima. This was a city of absolute devastation, with a ruined building with its shattered dome near ground zero. The only buildings not obliterated were on the outskirts of the city and included the brewery and the meteorological office. We visited the latter, which I believe was a two or three storey brick or stone building. We were met by a member of the staff and shown over the office, the function of which was similar to our offices. I think it was in Hiroshima that we learnt that, in the absence of radar, the Japanese had used acoustic devices to detect incoming US aircraft. I doubt that we would have been informed if they had used radar during the war.

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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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