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Table of Contents

War History of the Australian Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: D.Met.S.—Australia's Wartime Weather Service
Establishment of D.Met.S. War Communication System
New Stations and Services
Censorship and Codes
RAAF Appointments
Organisational Conferences
Pacific Island Weather Stations
Services to the War Room
The Allied Air Meteorological Service
Training of US Personnel
Perth-Colombo Air-route
Wide Pacific Expansion
Closing Years of the War

Chapter 2: The Weather Factor in Warfare

Chapter 3: Met in the Retreat

Chapter 4: Met in the Advance

Chapter 5: Meteorology in Aviation

Chapter 6: Central Forecasting Services

Chapter 7: Met With the Army

Chapter 8: Research and Personnel Training

Chapter 9: Instrumental Development and Maintenance

Chapter 10: Scientific Developments in the RAAF Meteorological Service

Chapter 11: Divisional Bureaux and Their Work

Appendix 1: List of Reports Provided by D.Met.S. for Advances Operational Planning and Other Purposes

Appendix 2: List of Service Personnel RAAF Meteorological Service

Appendix 3: List of Civilian Personnel Who Worked Together with Service Personnel of the RAAF Meteorological Service

Appendix 4: List of Locations at which RAAF Meteorological Service Personnel Served


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Services to the War Room

Just before the close of 1941 the Directorate organised and instituted a meteorological advisory service to the central war room of the Chiefs of Staff, Melbourne, using forecasts sent twice daily to D.Met.S. headquarters from selected stations throughout the South-West Pacific region. Forecasts were already provided each day to Naval headquarters, which had called for detailed weather information and predictions for coastal areas between Cape Capricorn and Cape Catastrophe immediately after the outbreak of war. Special reports and wind analyses were also provided for mine sweeping in dangerous areas. In August 1941 naval squadrons operating in the Indian Ocean asked for short synoptic weather messages catering for their area of operation, resulting in the provision of a fleet advisory broadcasting station at Perth. Owing to difficulties in obtaining necessary wireless equipment that station did not come into operation until February 1942.

In the early months of 1942 several new stations were established, but there was a temporary setback in February when war came to the Australian mainland for the first time, with the large scale Japanese air attacks on Darwin. Weather personnel escaped injury, though the meteorological office was damaged by shrapnel and the effects of blast, necessitating removal to a dispersal position early in the following month. About the same time, also, the weather office at Broome was temporarily evacuated as a result of enemy attacks on the township, but returned to operation on the following day.

The Allied Air Meteorological Service

In early 1942 the arrival of American forces in constantly increasing numbers gave rise to fresh problems of organisation and administration. Both USAAF and USN units were accompanied to the region by elements of USAAF and USN weather services.

In Melbourne discussions had commenced early between D.Met.S., RAAF and representatives of the United States armed forces towards development of weather services for American units in the Australasian region. Generally, it was agreed to combine staffing and working of Australian and American meteorological sections as far as possible and to provide regional training to newly arrived personnel; a plan that reached full development in June 1942, when the Allied Air Meteorological Service was constituted by order of General Brett, USAAF, with Group Captain Warren as Allied Director. Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Twadell, USAAF, was appointed Deputy Director of the Allied Service for the purpose of administrative coordination between the Directorate and the American Army organisations concerned. It was decided that the respective services should control their own internal administrative processes, but that the disposition of trained personnel and equipment, and technical procedures and methods of service should be controlled by the Director of the Allied Service until maximum uniformity and coordination were secured. During the reorganisation, the supervising meteorologist in the aviation section of D.Met.S. (Sqn Ldr E. W. Timcke) was appointed to the position of Assistant Director, Administrative (RAAF), with promotion to the rank of wing commander. Wing Commander Timcke's position in the aviation section was filled by the promotion of Sqn Ldr W. A. Dwyer.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Directorate of Meteorological Services (D.Met.S)

People in Bright Sparcs - Dwyer, Walter Anthony; Timcke, Edward Waldemar; Warren, Herbert Norman

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Haldane, T. 1997 'War History of the Australian Meteorological Service in the Royal Australian Air Force April 1941 to July 1946', Metarch Papers, No. 10 October 1997, Bureau of Meteorology

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