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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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Ralph Holmes

Ralph Holmes had joined the Bureau in the early 1930s after leaving high school in South Australia and had begun work in the Perth Divisional Office of the Bureau of Meteorology, where, in his spare time, he made his mark as a professional foot runner. Working for some time in Perth his alert enquiring mind enabled him to become a useful member of the staff. His potential for advancement was recognised by his senior officers and he was selected as a student on the Bureau's first formal Weather Officer training course in 1937. Most of the students were of mature age and, as was the case with Ralph, the formal education of many had not advanced beyond secondary school. Like Ralph they had acquired their knowledge of meteorology by learning on-the-job, working with older, more experienced colleagues. Ralph's training course was followed by a series of similar training courses for meteorologists, weather officers and observers. Most of the students on the forecasting course which followed Ralph's, later in 1937, were university graduates in science with majors in Mathematics and Physics, which was similar to the course I attended in 1940.

After completing his training course Ralph was posted to Darwin where he worked on the aerodrome providing meteorological services for internal air services and for the fledgling Qantas service operating, with the cooperation of British Empire Airways, the London to Sydney air service.

RAAF bases were established in 1941 at Koepang (on the island of Timor) and on Ambon (an island north of Darwin) in the Netherlands East Indies. Ralph was posted to Ambon as an officer of the RAAF Meteorological Service. The rapid advance of the Japanese down the Malayan peninsula in January 1942 was accompanied by their penetration into the eastern section of the island archipelago of the Netherlands East Indies. Ambon became a Japanese objective and Ralph's service on that island was terminated when he departed on 30 January 1942 on the last RAAF Hudson aircraft to leave Ambon. The island was occupied by the Japanese the following day.

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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