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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

Chapter 6: The Met. Advancing
The Coral Sea Battle—May 1942
The Battle of Milne Bay—24 August to 8 September, 1942
The Bismarck Sea Battle—1 March 1943

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



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The Bismarck Sea Battle—1 March 1943 (continued)

When it is recalled how the tropical weather can suddenly change from good to bad or vice versa, many forecasts were indeed on a wing and a prayer.

Eventually, Bill Gibbs, Ralph Holmes and the headquarters group at Brisbane produced a central weather analysis statement for the information of meteorological sections at airforce stations throughout the South-West Pacific area. Subsequently, this group also embarked on research vital to a better understanding of tropical weather behaviour. This research is further elaborated in Chapter Nine of this work.

According to Gibbs, the meteorological section at Allied headquarters (later RAAF Command), Brisbane, achieved a threefold purpose:

  1. Provision of meteorological advice for the planning and coordination of military operations in the south west Pacific area;

  2. Daily issue of analysis statements to all meteorological offices in the South-West Pacific area as a back-up to their local forecasting efforts;

  3. Publication of 15 issues of the RAAF Tropical Weather Research Bulletin, containing ideas resulting from the practical experience of forecasters supporting operational units, which made no small contribution to the development of new ideas regarding the meteorology of tropical Australia and the South-West Pacific. Commendations were received from Australia and overseas, both for the analysis statements and the Tropical Weather Bulletin.

An interesting comment was made by Keith Hannay concerning the situation in North-Western Area (Darwin HQ) in January 1944 :

'At that time, there were more meteorological stations in the Northern Territory and surrounding areas—from Truscott to Gove, to Groote Eylandt to Alice Springs and Gorrie—than there are today.'

People in Bright Sparcs - Gibbs, William James (Bill); Hannay, Alexander Keith (Keith); Holmes, Ralph Aubrey Edward

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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
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