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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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Additional Staff

As time passed we acquired further staff who worked in shifts from early morning to evening so the office was never unduly overcrowded. 'Brick' Bradford was an attractive blonde WAAAF who came from Kingaroy. Highly efficient as a meteorological charter she acquired a string of American admirers who vied for her attention and showered her with gifts. One of the most spectacular gifts from a USAF admirer was a silk parachute from which she made an attractive dress which she wore to one of the parties Audrey gave at our home. Audrey observed that the dress could have been improved by wearing a petticoat. Some of our male guests were not so sure.

Another interesting staff member was Warrant Officer Harry Gilbert who had returned from service in the tropical islands (I think it was New Caledonia). A draftsman by profession Harry was inclined, after he had finished plotting observations on a chart, to draw the isobaric pattern, which he accomplished satisfactorily, thus demonstrating to his own satisfaction that meteorological officers were hardly needed to do the professional work.

Harry had developed, or liked to pretend to have developed, a condition popularly known as 'troppo'. This was a psychological state frequently occurring in military personnel who had spent a long period of isolation in the humid tropics on a diet lacking in essential vitamins. The manifestation of Harry's 'troppo' was his hallucination that he was always accompanied by a pet dog. He often joined us for lunch in a cafe to which he led the imaginary dog, on an imaginary lead, taking great care in crossing busy streets and ushering the imaginary dog under the cafe table with strict instructions to the dog to be quiet and settle down. After a prolonged period of Harry's erratic behaviour the imaginary dog was adopted by other staff in the office who often inquired about the dog's welfare. The presence of the dog under the table in the cafe became believable and some customers were convinced that it was there.

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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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