Northern Area Command (RAAF) and Isaac MilnerNorthern Area Command was one of several geographically based commands raised by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during World War II. It was formed in May 1941, and covered the whole of northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. Headquartered at Townsville, Queensland, Northern Area Command was primarily responsible for air defence, aerial reconnaissance and protection of the sea lanes within its boundaries. In January 1942, following the outbreak of the Pacific War, it was divided into North-Western and North-Eastern Area Commands, to counter Japanese threats to northern Australia and Papua, respectively.Contents 1 History 1.1 World War II 1.2 Legacy 2 Notes 3 ReferencesHistory World War II Air Commodore Lukis (centre), who served as Air Officer Commanding Northern Area throughout its existence, with Group Captains Bill Garing (left) and Harry Cobby in Townsville, QueenslandBetween March 1940 and May 1941, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) divided Australia and New Guinea into four geographically based command-and-control zones: Central Area, Southern Area, Western Area, and Northern Area. The roles of these area commands were air defence, protection of adjacent sea lanes, and aerial reconnaissance. Each was led by an Air Officer Commanding (AOC) responsible for the administration and operations of all air bases and units within his boundary.Northern Area Command, headquartered in Townsville, Queensland, was formed on 8 May 1941 under the leadership of Air Commodore Frank Lukis. The command covered northern New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory, and Papua New Guinea. Lukis was thus responsible for air defence along the entire north coast of Australia. The main air base in the Northern Territory, RAAF Station Darwin, was augmented by eight satellite bases in the region. Between June and November 1941, Northern Area took the lead in tracking Japanese pearl luggers, whose increased presence off north-western Australia was regarded as "significant" by intelligence services. Central Area was disbanded in August and its responsibilities divided between Northern Area, Southern Area, and the newly formed No. 2 Training Group. No. 11 Squadron Catalina at Port Moresby, 1941By December 1941, Lukis' frontline strength in the Northern Territory consisted of No. 2 Squadron (flying Lockheed Hudsons), No. 12 Squadron (CAC Wirraways), and No. 13 Squadron (Hudsons), based at RAAF Station Darwin. As the Pacific War broke out, Nos. 2 and 13 Squadrons deployed forces to advanced operational bases at Koepang, Laha and Namlea in the Dutch East Indies. Nos. 11 and 20 Squadrons (flying PBY Catalinas) were based at Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, and No. 24 Squadron (Hudsons and Wirraways) at Rabaul in New Britain. Northern Area Command was instructed to "strike at Japanese bases or shipping wherever possible"; "obtain such warning as is possible of any attempted southward movements by the Japanese"; "keep open the shipping routes through the Coral, Arafura and Timor Seas"; and "deny enemy access to Rabaul and to the Territories of New Guinea, Papua and the Mainland of Australia". Nos. 2, 11, 13, 20 and 24 Squadrons engaged in reconnaissance, maritime patrol and sporadic bombing missions against Japanese targets in the Dutch East Indies and Torres Strait. Short of modern fighters and sufficient numbers of bombers, however, the RAAF units were, in the words of the official history of Australia in the war, "virtually powerless" to either attack or defend against Japanese forces building up in the region.On 15 January 1942, Northern Area was split into North-Western Area and North-Eastern Area, in an attempt to more effectively counter distinct Japanese threats to Ambon and Darwin in the former case, and Rabaul and Port Moresby in the latter. Lukis remained at Townsville as AOC of the new North-Eastern Area Command. LegacyFollowing the end of the war, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal George Jones, proposed reducing the five extant mainland area commands (North-Western, North-Eastern, Eastern, Southern, and Western Areas) to three. One of these would have been Northern Area, covering Queensland and the Northern Territory. The Australian Government rejected the plan and the wartime area command boundaries essentially remained in place until supplanted in 1953–54 by a functionally based command-and-control system made up of Home (operational), Training, and Maintenance Commands. Notes ^ a b c Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force, pp. 91–92 ^ "Organising for war: The RAAF air campaigns in the Pacific". Pathfinder (121). October 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2013. ^ a b Stephens, The RAAF in the Southwest Pacific, pp. 37–38 ^ Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force, p. 126 ^ Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force, pp. 133–134 ^ Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force, p. 112 ^ a b Helson, The Forgotten Air Force, pp. 57–60, 118 ^ Helson, The Forgotten Air Force, pp. 65–67 ^ Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force, pp. 237–238 ^ Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force, pp. 240–242 ^ Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force, pp. 319–322 ^ Stephens, The Royal Australian Air Force, pp. 111–112 ^ Gillison, Royal Australian Air Force, p. 311 ^ Ashworth, How Not to Run an Air Force, pp. 302–304 ^ Helson, The Private Air Marshal, pp. 321–325 ^ Stephens, Going Solo, p. 68
Isaac Milner and Northern Area Command (RAAF)Rev. Isaac Milner FRS (11 January 1750 – 1 April 1820) was a mathematician, an inventor, the President of Queens' College, Cambridge and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.He was instrumental in the 1785 religious conversion of William Wilberforce and a great supporter of the abolitionists' campaign against the slave trade, steeling Wilberforce with his assurance before the 1789 Parliamentary debate:If you carry this point in your whole life, that life will be better spent than in being prime minister of many years.He was also a natural philosopher and the Dean of Carlisle. BiographyMilner was born on 11 January 1750 in Mabgate, Leeds. He began his education at a grammar school in Leeds in 1756, but this ended in 1760 with the death of his father. He was apprenticed as a weaver, reading the classics when time permitted, until his elder brother, Joseph Milner, provided him with an opportunity. Joseph was offered the mastership at Hull's grammar school and invited Isaac to become the institution's usher.Through the patronage of his brother, Milner was subsequently freed from his duties in Hull and entered Queens' College, Cambridge, as a sizar in 1770. He graduated BA as senior wrangler in 1774, winning the Smith's first prize.Shortly after he took his bachelor's degree in 1774 he was ordained as deacon; in 1776 Queens' offered him a fellowship; in the following year he became a priest and college tutor; and in 1778 he was presented with the rectory of St Botolph. During these years his career as a natural philosopher began to take off. In 1776 Nevil Maskelyne hired him as a computer for the board of longitude, and two of his mathematical papers were presented to the Royal Society, of which he was elected fellow in 1780. In these papers Milner displayed three things: proficiency in mathematics, suspicion of French philosophy, and adherence to English Newtonian mechanics.In 1782 the Jacksonian professorship of natural philosophy was established and the syndicate selected Milner as the inaugural professor, a position he retained until 1792.Besides lecturing, Milner also developed an important process to fabricate nitrous acid, a key ingredient in the production of gunpowder. His paper describing this process was published in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions in 1789 alongside an article of Joseph Priestley's, and the two corresponded on the subject. In later years Milner transferred his elaborate collection of chemical apparatus into the president's lodge at Queens' and performed experiments with E. D. Clarke, William Whewell, and the Wollaston brothers; he also collaborated with Humphry Davy and Joseph Banks in an attempt to cure gout.Over the span of his forty-five-year career, Milner's scientific sentiments came to reflect his religious sentiments strongly. Although he never parted from the Anglican fold, he came to embrace the central evangelical doctrines of the late eighteenth century. Milner, with Charles Simeon, was largely responsible for the evangelical revival at Cambridge. Indeed, through the years of his tenure at Queens' he dramatically changed the entire complexion of the college. He was also responsible for the conversion of William Wilberforce, which occurred during their long continental tour of 1784–5. While the parliamentary act of 1807 to abolish slavery owed much to their partnership, Milner's co-authorship of the seven-volume Ecclesiastical History of the Church of Christ (1818) with his brother Joseph also earned him nationwide renown.After his death Milner was remembered for his astonishing intellect, his peculiar lifestyle, his tremendous physical bulk and his part in the rise in evangelicalism. Thomas De Quincey, in his preface to the Confessions, deemed Milner an 'eloquent and benevolent' opium user.
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