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Table of Contents

War History of the Australian Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: D.Met.S.—Australia's Wartime Weather Service

Chapter 2: The Weather Factor in Warfare

Chapter 3: Met in the Retreat

Chapter 4: Met in the Advance
Port Moresby to Milne Bay
New Pacific Stations
9 Operational Group
10 Operational Group
Northern Command
First Tactical Air Force
Labuan Island
The End in Singapore

Chapter 5: Meteorology in Aviation

Chapter 6: Central Forecasting Services

Chapter 7: Met With the Army

Chapter 8: Research and Personnel Training

Chapter 9: Instrumental Development and Maintenance

Chapter 10: Scientific Developments in the RAAF Meteorological Service

Chapter 11: Divisional Bureaux and Their Work

Appendix 1: List of Reports Provided by D.Met.S. for Advances Operational Planning and Other Purposes

Appendix 2: List of Service Personnel RAAF Meteorological Service

Appendix 3: List of Civilian Personnel Who Worked Together with Service Personnel of the RAAF Meteorological Service

Appendix 4: List of Locations at which RAAF Meteorological Service Personnel Served


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New Pacific Stations (continued)

Contact with the United States Navy was a daily occurrence at Kiriwina, since American PT boats made nightly patrols to New Britain. This involved advice on likely weather conditions each morning, for an average sea in excess of six feet reduced their operational effectiveness considerably. Bad weather over the search area restricted chances of contacting the Japanese barges ferrying troops along the coast under cover of darkness. These advices were provided by the RAAF meteorological section. In return, the Americans reported daily the actual conditions of weather experienced on the previous night and made provision for Australian weather men to accompany the patrols. Cooperation was the keynote of proceedings.

For the first RAAF met man to make this trip the initial and most attractive feature was when, soon after casting off, he was led below to a small dining alcove and fed on pork chops, apple pie and coffee—a welcome change from the more or less standard Australian rations. He was then taken up topside to stand beside the captain of this compact arsenal of .5 machine guns, 40 mm cannon and four torpedo tubes as it surged northward through the gathering dusk at 35–40 knots.

'Action stations' sounded about 2100 hours and eyes strained to pick up the aircraft which had been detected by the radar. A shadowy shape loomed through the darkness, the noise of its approach lost in the roar of the small craft's powerful motors, and all guns were at the ready. A sudden bank and away into the night sped a RAAF Catalina—friendly patrols by sea and air had made brief unfriendly contact in the centre of the Solomon Sea.

The target for tonight was Jacquinot Bay and approaching the entrance motors were throttled back so that the boat had little more then steerage way. Then, for two hours, the small grey craft crept slowly along the shore in an attempt to intercept the troop laden barges. This was an occasion of fruitless search, although more than 300 miles were covered in the thirteen and a half hours of the patrol. Meteorologically there was nothing to report beyond a few heavy showers, but the weather man gained a fuller appreciation of the job for which the forecasts were made.

At the close of 1943, weather stations were being operated by the RAAF at Port Moresby, Goodenough and Kiriwina Islands and, early in April 1944, another unit was added by the establishment of a meteorological office at Los Negros Island, just south of the Equator in the Admiralty group. Fl Lt Kerr moved from Kiriwina to become officer in charge of the new station which, however, operated for a short time only.

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Haldane, T. 1997 'War History of the Australian Meteorological Service in the Royal Australian Air Force April 1941 to July 1946', Metarch Papers, No. 10 October 1997, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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