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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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Staff Arrangements

When Ralph assumed the duty of OIC of the Allied Headquarters meteorological section in July 1942, he held the rank of Flight Lieutenant and my rank was Flying Officer. Ralph was promoted to Squadron Leader in August 1943. I was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 1 October 1942 and Squadron Leader on 1 July 1944. RAAF Command Headquarters had been created in July 1942 at the time of General Kenney's appointment as head of Allied Air Forces in the South-west Pacific. I assume that RAAF Command was composed of all field units of the RAAF within the Allied Air Force. RAAF Air Vice Marshal (AVM) W. (Bill) Bostock (who in April 1942 had been appointed Chief of Staff to USAF General Brett, then head of Allied Air Forces) was appointed as CO of RAAF Command, being responsible to General Kenney. Other members of Bostock's staff included Wing Cmdr W. N. 'Hoot' Gibson, whom I had known in Port Moresby. There was some confusion regarding the relative responsibilities of AVM Bill Bostock and AVM George Jones, who was chief of Air Board in Melbourne, which lead to considerable wrangling between these two senior RAAF officers.

Although we in the Allied Air Headquarters meteorological section were officially posted to RAAF Command Brisbane on 2 March 1943, our office remained in the AMP building and we continued to deal directly with General Kenney's Allied Air headquarters. We had little contact with AVM Bill Bostock or his staff officers.

Long Range Forecast

In June 1943 General Kenney came to our office and asked that other staff should leave Ralph and me alone with him. He told us he wanted a weather forecast for Nadzab in the Markham Valley in New Guinea for early September. When Ralph and I pointed out that it was impossible to make a weather forecast for more than a day or two ahead Kenney explained that the forecast was needed for an Allied parachute attack on the Japanese airfield at Nadzab and said "Give me that forecast—that's an order". He explained that the projected operation was "top secret" and should not be discussed with staff of our office or any other person. He indicated that he required the forecast to be made available within a few days. After he had left the office Ralph and I discussed our predicament and decided that the only 'forecast' which could be prepared was one based on the climate of the area.

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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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