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Table of Contents

War History of the Australian Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: D.Met.S.—Australia's Wartime Weather Service

Chapter 2: The Weather Factor in Warfare

Chapter 3: Met in the Retreat

Chapter 4: Met in the Advance
Port Moresby to Milne Bay
New Pacific Stations
9 Operational Group
10 Operational Group
Northern Command
First Tactical Air Force
Labuan Island
The End in Singapore

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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Northern Command

In the same month—September—71 Wing was taken over by Northern Command and its meteorological section posted en masse with the wing. In addition, 81 Wing arrived at 10OG to function from Noemfoor. Late in November, 77 Wing, taking its weather section, moved to Morotai Island, in the Halmaheras, where Sqn Ldr H. T. Ashton followed soon afterwards. By the end of December, at Noemfoor, the permanent 47OBU weather section was operating at Kamiri airstrip, with the operational requirements of 78 and 81 Wings also being supplied. At Morotai, the weather office attached to 77 Wing was supplying forecasts for 77, 78, 80 and 81 Wings.

Extremely close cooperation with the United States Air Force was established at Morotai, where RAAF forecasters were given access to the locally produced maps that, in this time of rapid advance, were more satisfactory than those available from Australian sources. This was particularly valuable, since although RAAF operations were restricted at the time to the Halmaheras and Celebes—a very small area from the weather man's viewpoint—forecasting covered patrols by American naval units and photo reconnaissance flights to Borneo and the still unconquered parts of the South-West Philippine Islands.

To the Australian meteorologists working at Wama airstrip, Morotai, belongs the distinction of having issued the largest number of forecasts of any D.Met.S. aviation section. That was in the last month of the war—August 1945—when 2441 forecasts were issued to Australian, American and Dutch aircraft operating from Wama and Pitoe strips. The record number during the actual duration of war may also be claimed by this office, with 2124 forecasts issued during July 1945.

First Tactical Air Force

The largest contributing factor to this great activity at Morotai was the concentration of air transport support for the First Australian Corps and the 1st TAF, a task that involved cutting down our air transportation in other parts of the theatre of war to the minimum. Headquarters RAAF Command, which had been operating from Brisbane, moved an advanced headquarters to Morotai to exercise overall control for these operations, which involved pre-assault bombardment and general air support for the successive landings at Tarakan (1 May), Brunei (10 June) and Balikpapan (1 July). In all these operations 1st TAF was associated with the 13th United States Air Force which was placed under the operational control of Air Vice Marshal W. Bostock, RAAF, together with heavy bombers drawn from the North-Western Area.

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

People in Bright Sparcs - Ashton, Henry Tamblyn (Harry)

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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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