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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

Chapter 5: Meteorology in Aviation

Chapter 6: Central Forecasting Services
General Reorganisation for War
Security and Censorship
Code and Cipher Development
National Synoptic Broadcasts
Services to Armed Forces
Services to Private Industry

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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Code and Cipher Development

This conference developed standard forms of meteorological reports and ciphers for air and marine use, and gave to the systems the short title ANDUS. It also was agreed that a regional recoding table to be known as the Far East confidential table—short title ANDUSYN—should be used by the associated countries of the Pacific for broadcasting synoptic reports. Compilation and distribution of the ANDUSYN cipher was delegated to the Australian meteorological service. Its compilation was entrusted by D.Met.S. to Wing Commander Camm of the central forecasting section, under whose direction the compilation of approved meteorological ciphers then remained for the duration of the war. The first edition comprised 50 thirty-line pages of five figure groups, changing every two months and using a section of the British confidential meteorological vocabulary where conversion of plain language was necessary.

When the United States entered the war, however, the anticipated situation altered considerably. The American forces becoming established in the South Pacific were using their own forms of codes and ciphers, giving rise to operational difficulties among the Allies. These were partly resolved by decision reached at a conference held in Auckland in December 1942 to employ ANDUSYN in both Pacific areas. By midway through the following year operational usage had so greatly increased the traffic on the cipher—which, incidentally, had by then been made more secure by a system of dummy starting point indicators—that it became necessary to change the tables monthly, instead of every two months. On 1 October 1943 the life of the tables was reduced to 15 days and, on 1 May 1944, to ten days.

Even so, the volume of synoptic weather traffic in the Pacific area continued to increase at such a rate that it became evident that no book cipher could safely carry all the weather traffic. At an inter-theatre conference convened in Sydney in March 1944 by Group Captain Warren, it was agreed to change the whole system, substituting a stencil subtracter frame method of recoding for use in the Pacific area, with the recommendation that the British SS frame should be used in conjunction with a locally prepared recoding table, designated ANDUS, which should change every 12 hours. This recommendation was approved by GHQ, South-West Pacific, which directed that the RAAF should prepare the recoding table. Both the frame system and the ANDUS table superseded ANDUSYN on 1 November 1944.

Australian internal weather traffic by radio also required the use of ciphers. It was early realised that neither the British confidential cipher nor the Far East recoding tables (ANDUSYN) could carry the heavy internal and external traffic with security. Nor were these suitable for the purpose of obtaining daily weather reports from isolated weather stations reporting by wireless telegraphy. Many such stations were in remote undefended localities. Compromise of a general cipher by the loss of one of these localities to the enemy had to be avoided. A common form of cipher for all purposes was therefore impracticable.

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

People in Bright Sparcs - 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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