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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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WAAAFs and Other Staff

As the meteorological staff in our section increased the plotting of observations was taken over by meteorological assistants. Later some of these assistants were members of the WAAAF (Women's Australian Auxiliary Air Force), young ladies who looked very smart in their blue or khaki uniforms and who were particularly careful in producing accurate, neatly plotted charts. With the arrival of the first young lady our language and story-telling became more refined and less ribald. She was a delightful, witty person whose fiance had been killed in the war. Her forceful, terse conversation was a match for Ralph's gentle teasing. When there was a pause in our routine, for the inevitable cup of tea and biscuits, she taught us to play the American game of 'Crap', played with two dice, in which scoring seven or eleven provided a bonus if my memory serves me well.

A later acquisition to our staff was Geoffrey Rheden Martin, a delightful character who enlivened the office with an immense erudition coupled with a magnificent sense of humour. Geoff was well read in classical English literature and in some of the English translations of rather ribald French authors such as Balzac and de Maupassant. He was a large muscular man of great sensitivity and gentleness. A Pilot Officer, Geoff assisted with synoptic analysis and forecasting. Before joining the RAAF he had been Secretary of the Gaine Milking Machine Company in NSW. On his discharge from the RAAF in 1945–46 he found another person occupying his position and the company unable to offer other employment.

Another treasure on the staff of our office was Herbert Whittingham. A short, thin, wiry young man, 'Herbie' (or 'Durkin' as Ralph mischievously liked to call him) was an accomplished musician and extremely well read, although his formal education had not extended beyond secondary level. He had a natural scientific outlook which gave him an insight into atmospheric processes which was superior to some who had the benefit of a university education. He was a very respectable young man, and was somewhat offended by the occasional ribaldry of the exchanges between his fellow workers. He performed some extremely useful work when we later had more time to devote to meteorological research.

People in Bright Sparcs - Whittingham, Herbert E. (Herb)

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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