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Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology


Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology 1929–1946 by Allan Cornish

History of Major Meteorological Installation in Australia from 1945 to 1981 by Reg Stout

Four Years in the RAAF Meteorological Service by Keith Swan
Enlistment in the RAAF, July 1941
Meteorological Observer Training, January-April 1942
Meteorological Observer, May-December 1942
Learning to Forecast, January-July 1943
Forecasting in Victoria, July-October 1943
Tropical Forecasting in New Guinea, October 1943-February 1945
Temperate East Coast Forecasting, February 1945-January 1946
Evaluating the Service

The Bureau of Meteorology in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s by Col Glendinning


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Temperate East Coast Forecasting, February 1945-January 1946 (continued)

While in Charleville I was also able to continue my practice of flying on reconnaissance over a route for which I regularly issued forecasts, to distinguish the possible effects of landform and topography on the weather. It chanced that shortly after I arrived at the station Flight Lieutenant Barry 'Baldy' Fuller, with whom I had been friendly while living with No 100 Squadron, walked into my office. By that time he had been seconded from the RAAF to fly with a commercial airline, and that day he was enroute to Darwin on a regular courier run in a Douglas DC3. When I suggested I might accompany him on a future flight he readily agreed, but said he could give me little warning. I was not surprised when a few days later my colleague, Flight Lieutenant Sel Everist, woke me about 0600 hours to tell me of a curious message just received by radio from the courier aircraft which had left Brisbane for Darwin at about 0300. 'Why would they be saying 'tell Swanny Baldy's coming!'?' Sel asked. Half an hour later I left Charleville for Darwin as an impromptu member of Barry Fuller's crew and had a fine time following the route with their excellent charts. After short stays at Longreach and Cloncurry, and while flying towards Batchelor and Darwin, Barry said to me that as I was not on the passenger list I had best alight from the aircraft in Darwin and saunter over to the weather office for the night. Guessing that I could face security problems at Darwin, I decided to remain at Batchelor for the night, and sought out my friends in the weather office there, only to find that the Area Meteorological Officer from Darwin, Squadron Leader Keith Hannay, was also on a tour of inspection there. It was the first and only time I met Keith Hannay, although I have heard of him often down the years, and I was relieved that he agreed that it was good practice for forecasters to familiarise themselves with the routes over which their customers flew. I made certain that I was at the airstrip the next morning when the aircraft arrived to continue the return journey to Charleville, for missing it could have caused me trouble.

Late in May 1945, having relieved Sel Everist and Flying Officer Bill Swan—not a relative of mine—I went to No 14 OBU at Lowood for several weeks. There I was the only forecaster, serving another Beaufort squadron, No 32, where I met again some crews who had served with the squadrons of No 71 Wing in 1944.

People in Bright Sparcs - Hannay, Alexander Keith (Keith); Swan, Keith

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Cornish, A., Stout, R., Swan, K and Glendinning, C. 1996 'Memories of the Bureau of Meteorology', Metarch Papers, No. 8 February 1996, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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