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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



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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This account of my time in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Meteorological Service is based on memories of the period 1939 to 1946. Some of these memories are remarkably clear; others are less distinct. I did not keep a diary during the war. Military security suggested that the keeping of diaries in combat areas was unwise. This consideration became more relevant in Port Moresby in 1942 when the prospect of capture by the Japanese became a distinct possibility.

The delay of over fifty years in writing these reminiscences has some advantages. My memory of important events is still clear. The passage of time has given me a broader perspective of the events in which I was directly involved. The 50 year delay has also given the opportunity to obtain a wider and more balanced evaluation of the political and military background of the war in the South-west Pacific. The more recent publication of numerous books and newspaper and magazine articles marking the 50th anniversary of events between 1939 and 1945 has contributed to a more dispassionate appraisal of what happened in those years.

A bibliography of the many books and newspaper and magazine articles consulted appears in Appendix 1. Those interested in a more detailed study of the period will find the sources listed in this Appendix richly informative.

It might be said that like beauty, history lies in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps, when applied to the writer of history, it might be better said that her/his view of history is coloured by the interests and prejudices of the writer which would be influenced in some degree by propaganda and general community values at the time of writing. My views of Emperor Hirohito, Generals MacArthur, Kenney and Blarney, Air Vice Marshals (AVM) Bostock and Jones and the Prime Ministers and War Cabinets of the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia have been influenced by the more recent accounts I have read, particularly the books of Bergamini and Manchester quoted in the bibliography in Appendix 1.

People in Bright Sparcs - Gibbs, William James (Bill)

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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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