Everyone in Suffolk has heard of the Rendlesham Forest Incident – but no one is truly certain what happened all those years ago. 

However, one author believes he may have cracked the code, as detailed in his latest book, ‘The Rendlesham Forest UFO Mystery and Project Honey Badger’. 

Author George Wingfield has penned a number of books pertaining to prehistory, ancient sites, astronomy, and UFOs - but it is his most recent release that focuses on ‘Britain’s Roswell’, and all may not be as it once seemed.  

Because George believes it wasn’t an alien UFO that the USAF eyewitnesses saw in the forest that night but rather a test version of the Apollo Lunar Mission Command Module which had been specially adapted for use by US Special Ops Forces. 

“I’ve been interested in the UFO subject and the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life for over 35 years,” he says. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Rendlesham ForestRendlesham Forest (Image: Getty Images)

“During that time, I’ve read many books on the subject and attended various UFO conferences in the UK and America. However, I have always been an agnostic as regards to the main question of whether extraterrestrials were actually visiting this planet, and I have become increasingly skeptical that this could be the case.  

“There are of course many ‘UFOs’ which are seen by a wide variety of people, but the vast majority of these have a perfectly simple explanation —usually misidentifications, natural atmospheric phenomena, balloons, aircraft or satellites. But there are also some cases which have no obvious explanation and remain a complete mystery. One such was the Rendlesham Forest UFO which many saw as the most significant UFO case ever where some physical craft had actually touched down in the forest.” 

And it was a 2014 book on the incident by close friend and fellow UFO enthusiast Nick Pope, ‘Encounter in Rendlesham Forest’, that led George to having a crack at uncovering the mystery himself.  

“Many books have been written about the incident, and the best-known book was Nick Pope’s which he co-authored with the two primary USAF witnesses, Jim Penniston and John Burroughs. I know Nick and thought he had done a very thorough investigation but it seemed to me that the real explanation had eluded him,” says George. 

“Although he had examined the UFO event at Rendlesham from every angle, the mystery remained unsolved, and there also remained the strong implication that this visitation was some of non-human or extraterrestrial origin.” 

For George, he believes the explanation of what happened that night was far more human, and goes by the name of Project Honey Badger.  

“You have to go back to 1979 and 1980, when 52 US hostages were being held hostage in Tehran, and the American government had to get them back somehow,” explains George. 

East Anglian Daily Times: George with a UFO replica in Rendlesham ForestGeorge with a UFO replica in Rendlesham Forest (Image: George Wingfield)

Initially, the United States offered the hostage takers money – but that wasn’t enough. So the Americans decided a rescue operation was needed, and Operation Eagle Claw was attempted on April 20, 1980.  

“However, it went disastrously wrong and led to the death of eight servicemen when a helicopter and transport plane collided in the desert as the result of a sandstorm.” 

That, coupled with equipment failures, led to the president at the time, Jimmy Carter, calling off the whole operation. 

President Carter and the US government handed authority back to military commanders, who came up with a new solution – Operation Honey Badger. 

“In order to bring back the hostages with as few causalities as possible, it involved a ‘Trojan Horse Weapon’ (THW), which is my expression for what sort of weapon this was. It was non-lethal, and a directed energy weapon.” 

In his book, George further expands on this and says: “Such devices could well have been deployed at night near the buildings(s) where the hostages were being held and their purpose would be to distract and deceive the Revolutionary Guards who would almost certainly come out to investigate. It is likely that a THW intended to distract and confuse the guards who approached it would also be able to neutralise them in some way. Then, a planned aerial assault by Special Forces units in helicopters would be met with much less resistance and might result in far fewer hostage casualties.” 

And a series of test operations for this rescue mission is what George thinks happened in Rendlesham Forest that night.  

“It seems most likely that the object which was landed in Rendlesham Forest during the night of December 25-26, 1980 was just one variety of THW that was being tested for Operation Honey Badger, and that the USAF security guards on duty at the twin bases who responded that night unwittingly became the human guinea pigs for such a test.” 

Another possible variety of the THW being tested at the same time may have inadvertently led to another infamous UFO sighting across the pond in Texas, which took place on the evening of December 29, 1980.  

East Anglian Daily Times: Rendlesham ForestRendlesham Forest (Image: Getty Images)

“However, in the end the US government never had to use these methods, because less than a month later Ronald Reagan came into office and the hostages were released into US custody that day. And because they were released, none of the secret equipment or methods that had been developed were put to use. It was all forgotten about and hushed up, and they weren’t ever going to reveal what they were doing in December 1980 in case they were to use it later in a similar situation.” 

In his book, George explores this possible theory – and backs it up with a variety of evidence. 

When writing his book, he spent two years collating evidence and research together – and spent a significant amount of time in Suffolk visiting the site where the famous incident occurred.  

“It was like doing a big jigsaw puzzle, and putting the pieces together. It took a lot of enquiry and investigation, talking to certain people who hadn’t necessarily been mentioned in Nick’s book. Some people I spoke to gave me a pretty brisk response, but that’s all part of the job.” 

One man however proved to be a big help to George – and he’s based right here in Suffolk.  

“Graham Haynes, who is the director of the Bentwaters Cold War Museum, was one of the absolutely vital keys in cracking the problem. I spoke to him during one of my trips to Suffolk, where we discussed all sorts of ideas, and he supplied me with a lot of evidence. He was crucial in coming to the right answer.” 

Graham discovered that two independent witnesses had seen a USAF helicopter flying out of RAF Woodbridge a few hours before the Rendlesham incident with a large conical load slung below it. There could be little doubt that this conical object was an Apollo Command Module and that must have been what had appeared in the forest just one mile away. 

And it was this hypothesis that helped George further his own research, allowing him to put two and two together, connecting the Tehran hostage crisis with the Twin Bases here in Suffolk in 1980 following years of in-depth research and analysis. 

George himself admits he isn’t a complete sceptic when it comes to the existence of other life forms – but he certainly doesn’t think they crashed landed in Suffolk over 40 years ago.  

“I hope when people read the book, they’ll begin to realise it wasn’t a case of aliens. My book doesn’t debate the question whether extraterrestrial life exists – what I’m getting at is this particular case. I’m merely trying to bring out the truth of what went on that night,” he says.  

To find out more about George and his book, visit woodenbooks.com