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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

Chapter 7: The Met With the Army and the Navy
With the Army
With 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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With the Army (continued)

The MMF accompanied the Army to New Guinea and islands to the north; also to the Solomon Islands and the Netherlands East Indies. In the last phases of the war the flights were deployed as follows:
  1. No. 1 MMF—at Morotai with 1 Aust. Corps.,

  2. No.2 MMF—in Borneo with the 9th Division AIF,

  3. No.3 MMF—at Wewak with the 6th Division AIF,

  4. No.4 MMF—in Borneo with 7th Division AIF,

  5. No.5 MMF—in Bougainville with 2 Aust. Corps,

  6. No.6 MMF—in New Guinea, New Britain and Emirau Island with the First Australian Army.

The MMF probably came into closer contact with the enemy on the ground than did any other section of D.Met.S.. Flight-Lieutenant Ralph Barnes' most vivid recollection of his tenure in the MMF was:

'At daylight after the seaward pounding of Victoria Town (during the Allied landing at Labuan, Borneo), a squadron of RAAF Liberators came over at low level to bomb the town. The Japs were entrenched in the hills behind the town. Unfortunately, most of the bombs fell in the sea along the coastline, and we staggered off the L.S.T.'s right behind the assault troops in the Crocodiles. We mingled with joyous AIF troops with a Bren or Owen gun in one hand, and a great fish in the other. The bombing had killed a number of fish in the shallow waters, and the troops hadn't had fresh tucker for months.'

About the same landing, Ralph also recalled:

'Slightly unexpected (what am I saying! It was terrifying!) a change in plans when I was caught with my MM detachment several miles inland under a low wet bank by the roadside for several hours. The AIF 9th Division tanks were bogged down at the side of the road, and this allowed the Japs to hurl mortars right along the road over which we had travelled, inflicting some casualties. No-one could advance to help us, and we expected to be blasted by a mortar at any moment. Towards dusk, we sneaked back to camp near the coast many miles away from the originally planned first-night camp.'
'The main problem associated with the MMF detachments living with the Army Field Regiments and providing ballistics for the big guns and the AA regiments was that the wind data were required every three hours. That meant night pilot balloon flights in forward areas. The troops were most unhappy about the meteorological flight releasing balloons with lighted lanterns so close to enemy territory, and couldn't understand why we couldn't provide the information without haying night lights in the sky. Occasionally the firing commenced on both sides when the lights appeared. However, one could well appreciate that the troops had something to be restive about, and that they would deliberately shoot at the balloons.' [84]

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

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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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