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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
General Douglas MacArthur
We Join Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane
Ralph Holmes
Forecasting Procedure
WAAAFs and Other Staff
Briefing MacArthur & Co
Domestic Affairs
The Yanks Are Coming
Japanese Advance Across Owen Stanley Range
General George C. Kenney
Additional Staff
Staff Arrangements
Long Range Forecast
Investigations into Tropical Meteorology
Analysis Statements
MacArthur's Remarkable Strategy
A New Direction
Tropical Weather Research Bulletin
RAAF Command, Pat Squires and Henry Phillpot

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 4: Allied Air Force HQ and RAAF Command, Brisbane

General Douglas MacArthur

To understand the role of Allied Air Headquarters, Brisbane, to which Ralph Holmes and I were posted in July 1942, it is necessary to explore the role of General Douglas MacArthur in the establishment of that Headquarters. Most of the background information in this chapter comes from Manchester (1978) and Odgers (1984), the former providing a candid picture of MacArthur's life story, with particular emphasis on his role in the war in the South-west Pacific, and the latter giving an Australian view of the situation.

MacArthur had been in charge of the defence of the Philippines when the Japanese invaded that country following massive air-raids on Manila and nearby dark Field, at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbour. The military resources available to MacArthur made it impossible for him to do more than delay the Japanese occupation of the country. By March 1942, when he had retreated with his Headquarters and supporting force to the underground stronghold on the island of Corregidor, he was ordered by President Roosevelt to leave his Headquarters and escape to Australia.

He left Corregidor on 11 March in two torpedo boats with his wife, child and some senior officers and arrived in the island of Mindanao two days later after a hair-raising voyage. From Mindanao he and his party flew in two B-17 bombers (Flying Fortresses) to Bachelor (near Darwin) and from there in two RAAF DC-3 (Dakota) aircraft to Alice Springs. At this stage his wife and son had become seriously ill so, rather than continue their journey to Melbourne by air, the party proceeded from Alice Springs by a somewhat ramshackle special train (the old Ghan) to Adelaide. This part of the journey took 70 hours. MacArthur and party then travelled by train in the relative luxury of a special carriage to Melbourne, where he arrived on the morning of 21 March 1942, amid a blaze of newspaper, radio and newsreel publicity. The journey from Corregidor to Melbourne had taken 10 days.

MacArthur, his family and his senior officers were provided with living accommodation in the Menzies Hotel and on Monday 23 March he established his Headquarters in an insurance building at 401 Collins Street. After consultation with Prime Minister John Curtin and his Cabinet, and with the approval of President Roosevelt, MacArthur was named Commander-in Chief, South-west Pacific Area (CINCSWPA) on 18 April. The Australian General Blarney was made chief of Land Forces, US General Brett given command of Allied Air Forces and US Vice Admiral Leary had the responsibility for Naval Forces. RAAF AVM Bostock was appointed Chief of Staff under General Brett and Air Commodore George Jones remained Chief of Staff of the RAAF (an arrangement which was later to cause much conflict between Bostock and Jones).

People in Bright Sparcs - Holmes, Ralph Aubrey Edward

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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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