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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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Briefing MacArthur & Co

The main responsibility of our meteorological office was to provide General MacArthur and officers of his staff a daily briefing on the existing weather over the area of military operations in the South-west Pacific and likely developments in the immediate future. Each morning about 10am Ralph or I proceeded to a war room, on the floor of which was a very large map of the south-west Pacific area. This was viewed by MacArthur and his senior staff officers seated on a raised platform. Ralph or I were 'first cab off the rank' in the briefing operation to which operations and intelligence officers also contributed. MacArthur was present on most occasions but in my memory never spoke during our performance. Other senior officers asked the questions when there were questions to be asked. Our briefing concentrated on weather conditions affecting military operations, cloud cover, heavy rain, strong winds, etc. We departed immediately after our briefing was finished on the principle that the fewer people with access to military plans the better.

From time to time, in addition to our briefing duties, we were asked to provide forecasts for flights made by US military people on the headquarters staff or associated with it. We also met and discussed tropical meteorology with a group of US Navy meteorologists who were located at the Bureau's Divisional office to serve the requirements of US Navy units in the South-west Pacific. Associated with the US Navy was John Day, a former Pan American Airways meteorologist, who became a firm family friend.

Domestic Affairs

My wife, Audrey, was anxious to move from the rather cramped quarters in the boarding house, and we were able to rent a weatherboard home about one kilometre from the tram terminus in Camp Hill about 6km south-east of the city. Moving to a domestic location was a novelty. The house was somewhat basic and required a certain amount of effort on my part and a great deal of work by Audrey.

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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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