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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up
Early Australian Meteorologists
Early Days in the Bureau
Forecasters' Training Course
My Classmates
Reorganisation of the Bureau
Love and Marriage

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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Chapter 1: Growing Up

My relatives have told me that as a child I was always asking why? Always wanting to know how things worked—steam engines, motor cars, guns, aeroplanes. I also wanted to know what made thunder and lightning, hail, rainbows, fog, frost. At school I showed a special interest in geography which promised to provide the answers to some of my questions and when I was lucky enough to be able to enrol at the University of Sydney my science course included mathematics, physics and geology as well as geography. Betty Lawrence, a lecturer in geography at the University of Sydney in the 1930s, introduced me to meteorology. From that time my ambition was to work in that field.

My father was killed in action in the bloody battle of Passchendale in Belgium in October 1917, just two weeks before my first birthday. My mother and I lived first with my paternal grandparents and later with my mother's brother and sisters. My mother's eldest brother had also been killed in fighting with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in France. Both families had lived on small farms at Grenfell, in inland New South Wales, before the war and my father had been a share farmer. My father's parents moved to the city before my father sailed for Europe. For some years after the war times were hard and there was very little money. Nevertheless I had a happy childhood.

I have a clear memory of accompanying my mother and my paternal grandmother as a very small boy to an Anzac Day parade in which uniformed troops and returned soldiers marched past the cenotaph in Martin Place, Sydney. Three or four years after my father's death both my mother and grandmother were dressed in black. I recall that even at that early age I felt feelings of frustration rather than pride that my father had been killed in battle in a far-off land. Only recently, those feelings of frustration were rekindled by reading British butchers and blunders of World War One by Laffin (1989) which chronicles the senseless loss of the lives of the cream of British and Australian manhood in France and Belgium in the 1914–18 war. Many lives were lost as the result of the incompetence and ruthlessness of English generals such as Haig.

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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
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher