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Table of Contents

Glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: Growing Up

Chapter 2: Port Moresby Before Pearl Harbour
Sydney to Port Moresby by DH-86
First Impressions of Port Moresby
Meteorological Office Routine
Flight to Kokoda
Tropical Meteorology
John (Doc) Hogan
Setting up House
We Join the RAAF
A Contrast in Attitudes
Some RAAF History
RAAF No 10 Squadron
RAAF No 11 Squadron
The Catalina Story
Construction of the Seven-mile Airstrip and Reclamation Area
Meteorological Service for the RAAF
Unexpected Vistitors
Our State of Readiness
Our Domestic Situation
A Japanese Surprise Packet
What Had We Meteorologists Achieved?

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


Contact us

A Japanese Surprise Packet (continued)

In Townsville, Audrey and Jennifer stayed for a few days with a friend of her family, Mrs Orr. RAAF HQ Townsville made arrangements for Audrey and Jennifer to travel by train to Sydney, luckily with sleeping accommodation. The train journey to Sydney took about three days, which must have been a trying time for a young mother of 23 with a two-month old baby.

We, like most of the population of Port Moresby, both military and civilian, had suffered a traumatic transition from what had been a rather carefree existence in a mid-Victorian colonial outpost to the harsh reality of a twentieth century wartime environment in which the old British Empire environment was to disappear for ever. Audrey and I were not to see each other again for seven strenuous and stressful months.

What Had We Meteorologists Achieved?

Under the guidance of Keith Hannay, I and other meteorological staff in Port Moresby had maintained our program of surface and upper air observations, synoptic analysis of mean sea-level charts and preparation of forecasts for civil and RAAF aircraft. Forecasts for the RAAF flying boats and the few itinerant Hudson aircraft (operating from the Seven-mile airstrip) were mostly passed by telephone. Although our network of surface observations from cooperative observers improved and we maintained our program of pilot balloon observations of upper winds, without radar winds and radiosondes the data on which we prepared our forecasts was woefully inadequate.

As was the case with the other meteorologists in the South-west Pacific area, we did the best we could.

People in Bright Sparcs - Hannay, Alexander Keith (Keith)

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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