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Thread: Met Office Intelligence Presence at RAF Uxbridge - or not?

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    Default Met Office Intelligence Presence at RAF Uxbridge - or not?

    Hello All,

    At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Uxbridge it is stated (inter alia):-

    In 1941, a division of the Meteorological Office was established at RAF Uxbridge as part of the
    Intelligence Branch.

    The Met Team are perplexed. We do not know of this! Bletchley (and the specifically ‘Met’ offshoot located within the Central Forecast Office (CFO) Dunstable) were already working.

    Q! Who, why, when, and for what purpose? Does anybody know – or knows who does know?

    TIA

    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 9th April 2015 at 13:23.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hello Peter

    Apart from requiring good Met for the usual Fighter Command flying ops, Bomber Command had been complaining during late 1940 about their crews and aircraft lost to barrage cables flying in the cloud and in late 1940 Fighter Command assured Bomber Command that certain balloon barrages would begin to be close hauled in bad weather. Also Fighter Command were responsible for I.D. of returning RAF bombers in 1940, returning sometimes in bad visibility.

    Another point in A.P. 1116? published 1952 by the A.H.B., Signals Volume V Fighter Control and Interception, says on page 170 regarding A.I. towards the end of the war, mentions "the considerable amount of cloud echo obtained at times, strong enough to make interceptions very difficult." I'm not sure if this was Met type cloud, or electronic 'cloud' echo and whether they knew of this in 1941?

    Fighter Command were linked to the Chain Stations, M.F. D/F Stations, the A.A., the Observer Corps (ROC), Balloons and Fighter Command's own Interception Wireless Experts who were intercepting German Intelligence in advance of GAF Ops and Blucke's Team, which became 80 Wing late 1940. I should imagine that after 18 months of war, Fighter Command realised that their own Met advisors (who received Met info from Central Forecasting) needed beefing up somewhat, c/w a dedicated Intelligence and Signalling section. Some Fighter losses were also attributed to the weather too.

    Just a few thoughts for debate? Unfortunately, I have only looked partly at Bomber Command and their Met, but of the opinion that B.C., wanted more knowledge of not only Uk Met, but also Met from occupied Europe too, from Intelligence intercepts.

    Fighter Command also likely wanted the same European Met from wireless intercepts and their own Intelligence were getting this Met, for their Fighter Command in-house Met.

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Hood; 9th April 2015 at 15:33.

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    Mark, Hi,

    Thanks that. The problem with the Wiki statement is that it says “a Division . . . was established at Uxbridge”. A Division in the Met Office of the day was a large number of bodies!! Some of the Branches of the Met Office were dispersed from Kingsway on the outbreak of WW2. The Central Forecast Office (CFO) moved about a bit but ended up at Dunstable (I was there in its WW2 Seco huts for the last few weeks before it moved to Bracknell). The Met Stores lot went to Harrow. The Comms lot ended up at Edlesborough, Stanbridge, etc (all nicely close to Bletchley and Hanslope Park (the Foreign Office comms centre?!!)).

    No. Not a Division. All that you say is true. Various Commands needed/wanted different ‘Met’ things – but they all came from the same organisation. During my time in the Met Off you would find that the occasional bloke(s) ‘disappeared’ off the ‘postings radar’ for 3, or 5, years. It was only later (when I was also involved in this same area) that one discovered that these blokes had been at RAF Spooksville (or similar). The occasional individual was posted to do highly classified meteorological work – but not a whole Division!! In WW2 most – but not all – of these people would have been in RAFVR Met Branch uniform (at least after 1 Apr 43). But those medically unfit for Commissioning (or Enlistment) might also have done such a job. We could find who these people might have been, but it would mean the expenditure of an awful lot of 30’s at Cranwell!!!!

    HTH

    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Oh dear, here we go again.

    Like Peter I am perplexed at the reference he has found, especially as the reference itself is unreferenced - simply a bald statement with no indication as to its origin.

    For what it is worth the German weather code was broken very early in the war, and from April 1940 observations from Germany and occupied countries were appearing on Met Office charts. The code was broken at Bletchley, but in April 1940 the coded messages were sent directly to the IDA Unit attached to the Central Forecast Office at Dunstable for decryption (IDA has no specific meaning, but its story may be found at http://www.rmets.org/sites/default/f...df/hist02a.pdf ). 'Intelligence intercepts' sounds impressive but what does it mean? In the event all the relevant information was copied to all major Commands, including Fighter Command.

    Certain clouds, for example cumulonimbus and active frontal cloud associated with severe icing, or containing snow or hail, certainly adversely affect radar returns.

    I'm not sure what is meant by 'beefing up', but forecasters can only work the information to hand, and observations from the North Atlantic were crucial since UK and continental weather mostly came from the west. And therein lies the major problem; the Met Office was forever pushing for regular reconnaissance sorties by Coastal Command and observations from the Royal Navy (NA file BJ 5/72), but the answer was always the same - there were insufficient aircraft capable of long maritime flights, and no ships (to say nothing of the fact that radio silence was the order of the day). An ill-fated attempt was made to establish a weather station in mid-Atlantic (http://www.rmets.org/sites/rmets.org...2014-booth.pdf) and Figure 17 demonstrates only too vividly how little information was available. And that's just the surface chart - no regular upper air observations became available from the Atlantic until ten days before D-day.

    What is meant by the final sentence Fighter Command also likely wanted the same European Met from wireless intercepts and their own Intelligence were getting this Met, for their Fighter Command in-house Met.

    Brian

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    Hello Peter et al,
    Trying to tie together some possibly useful notes, but I am pretty ignorant of the structure of Met during the war: are 'M.0.4 establishments' the operational name for field offices at stations?

    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    RESEARCH AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES & OTHER UK INSTITUTIONS

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    This may have been related to met reports gathered from a number of underground organisations across Europe. I presume those reports could not leave services, so must have been worked out at place.

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    Nothing so sinister I'm afraid, Franek. At the start of the war MO 4 was the Army and Instruments Division, which meant it was responsible (a) for ensuring the Army's meteorological needs were met in terms of staff and offices, for example the Royal Artillery at Larkhill and, (b) for the supply and maintenance of instruments to all sections of the Met Office. It had nothing to do with observations. The Office itself was not equipped to maintain direct contact with underground organisations; one can find references about clandestine weather reports being sent to 'the RAF', but in reality the destination of the signals was almost certainly Bletchley Park for decryption.

    If I recall correctly the role of MO 4 changed later in the war, as new Divisions were formed - unfortunately I can't lay my hands on the appropriate document at the moment - far too much rubbish (sorry, papers) covering my desk! However, it never had anything to do with observations in the way you suggest.

    Brian

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    Looing at the Wikipedia entry, it seems to suggest that this information might have come from RAF Uxbridge 90th Anniversary 1917–2007 by Hazel Crozier. Have you looked at this reference to see what it says?

    Alternatively, if you click on the View History tab at the top of the page, it lists who entered what information. It might just note who entered the Met Office sentence. If it does, you could then contact the person and ask them the source of their information.

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    In the first published Met Office Annual Report after WW2 from Aug 1945 to 31 Mar 47 the Assistant Director (Research) had under his control:-
    M.O.1 - Marine Meteorology Branch
    M.O.3 - British and World Climatology Branch
    M.O.4 - Instruments Branch
    M.O.15 - Research and Observatories Branch.
    (Note that the shortened title of Met Office branches was still "M.O.x". It was changed to "Met.O.x" only after some confusions with the 'Military Operations Branches'. Mistakes in Signals addressees, however, still persisted up until comparatively recent times!!)
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 10th April 2015 at 11:23. Reason: Clarification
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
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    Peter, but what is the connection between MO4 and Uxbridge?

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