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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

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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These reminiscences have been given the title A glimpse of the RAAF Meteorological Service because they do not pretend to provide more than the impressions of one member of the RAAF Meteorological Service of some events in the period 1939 to 1946. Each member of the Service will have a different story to tell and I hope that many of those surviving will find time to record their reminiscences.

I have mentioned the post-war camaraderie which developed between members of the Service in spite of the fact that those members mainly worked in small groups, largely isolated from the others. One notable feature of the Bureau in 1940 was the influence of those members of the staff who had served in World War I on their younger colleagues. They had a certain clannish attitude which at first was intimidating but later became attractive to a newcomer. The clannishness which caused the initial intimidation became attractive when the younger staff members became accepted as members of the clan. The formation of the Frosterley Club in the 1970s emerged from a similar feeling of those who had been members of the RAAF Meteorological Service. John Lillywhite's Metarch Papers No 4 describes the circumstances of the formation of the Frosterley Club and how the Club got its name. The Club still meets at monthly intervals in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. A similar Club meets regularly in Adelaide.

The AMFA section in Melbourne provided a nucleus for significant postwar developments in Australian meteorology both in synoptic meteorology and in investigations of other fundamental problems relating to the meteorological profession. There was considerable emphasis on the investigation of conditions in the upper air which was facilitated by the technological developments which significantly improved the remote sensing of upper temperature, humidity, wind, cloud and rain. The establishment of observing stations at Heard and Macquarie Islands and on the Antarctic continent also led to improvement of our knowledge of the atmosphere over higher latitudes in the southern hemisphere.

Many of those who made significant contributions to the post-war development of Australian meteorology were meteorologists who had served in the RAAF Meteorological Service. During the war years the absence of observations, particularly in the upper air, delayed progress in increasing our knowledge of the atmosphere in our region, but the meteorologists of that period were becoming aware of the problems and eager to seek answers. Post-war developments in technology provided the opportunity to achieve solutions to many of those problems.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Air Mass and Frontal Analysis Section (AMFA); Frosterley Club

People in Bright Sparcs - Lillywhite, John Wilson

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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