Page 281
Previous/Next Page
Federation and MeteorologyBureau of Meteorology
Table of Contents

RAAF Meteorological Service



Chapter 1: The Weather Factor in Warfare

Chapter 2: Establishing and Developing the RAAF Directorate of Met. Services (D.Met.S)

Chapter 3: Recruiting and Training of Personnel

Chapter 4: Meteorology in Aviation

Chapter 5: The Met. Retreating
Papua New Guinea and New Britain
The Netherlands East Indies and Malaya
Escape from Timor
Northern Australia—1942

Chapter 6: The Met. Advancing

Chapter 7: The Met With the Army and the Navy

Chapter 8: Divisional Offices of the Bureau of Meteorology During the War

Chapter 9: Research and Instrumental Development

Chapter 10: The End, Aftermath, and Beyond

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Appendix 4



Contact us

In May 1942, Hannay was posted as OIC Met. section at Garbutt Airfield, Townsville, to replace Flight-Lieutenant J. Hutchinson. During this year, a regional weather broadcast was commenced from Townsville, the reports being obtained by RAAF signals. Many US groups and squadrons were based in the Townsville area, and until the USAAC got their own weather service organised, the whole load was carried by the Garbutt meteorological section, which was staffed by a composite RAAF and USA team under D.Met.S. direction. RAAF striking forces were also operating out of Townsville as their main base. There were also the usual civil and transit services requiring weather forecasts. At times, over one thousand forecasts a month were put out, and a 24-hour service was operating.

Not many Australians realise that there were two or three ineffective raids on Townsville during 1942. On one occasion, a Kawanishi 4-engined flying boat had its tail set on fire by an attacking US fighter right over Garbutt airfield.

Other Met. officers who served at Garbutt included Squadron-Leaders H.T. Ashton and B. Retallack, Flight-Lieutenant N. Haines and myself.

At the beginning of May 1942, New Britain, New Ireland, most of New Guinea and South-East Asia, the Netherlands East Indies and most of the islands of the south-west Pacific were in the hands of the Japanese. If they could take Port Moresby, Australia could be invaded. However, Australian, British, and Dutch forces were grimly hanging on in New Guinea, and the great American war machine was getting under way. The epics of the Coral Sea, Milne Bay and the Kokoda Trail were at hand—and the weather was to play a vital role.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Directorate of Meteorological Services (D.Met.S)

People in Bright Sparcs - Ashton, Henry Tamblyn (Harry); Hannay, Alexander Keith (Keith); Retallack, Bruce James

Previous Page Bureau of Meteorology Next Page

Joyce, J. 1993 'The Story of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 5 October 1993, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher