'Something extraordinary happened here' - Colonel Charles Halt returns to UFO site in Rendlesham
PUBLISHED: 08:16 21 May 2017 | UPDATED: 07:35 22 May 2017
"It brings back old memories," said retired US Air Force colonel Charles Halt on his return to the spot where, in December 1980, he was at the centre of a UFO mystery in Rendlesham Forest.
As deputy commander of Bentwaters and Woodbridge bases, Mr Halt wrote a memo to the Ministry of Defence describing the incident, and recorded what became known as the Halt Tape – made public the following year.
“I never intended for it to get out,” said Mr Halt, who carried out his investigation on December 28, 1980, during which he saw mysterious lights like those witnessed by three airmen on security patrol two nights earlier.
“I did all I could to keep my memo private.
“When the three individuals came back, the desk sergeant and I had a chuckle and agreed there must be a logical explanation.
“The next day, we realised all the military cops were looking to the skies. On the third night, [Lieutenant] Bruce Englund came in and said ‘it’s back’. That’s when I became involved.
“I was very much a sceptic and expected to find nothing.
“Whatever we saw was under intelligent control,” said Mr Halt, who rubbished claims he was merely chasing lighthouse beams from Orford Ness.
“The story has become muddied over the years. I still don’t know why the CIA turned up here after the first night – and what was done to the three airmen, who have never been the same.”
In 2015, one of the airmen, John Burroughs, won compensation for illnesses he blamed on exposure to radiation from the event.
Mr Halt returned to Rendlesham with John Hanson and Dawn Holloway – authors of the Haunted Skies books, currently working on a second edition of The Halt Perspective – and by local ufologist David Young and Gary Baker, radar operator at RAF Neatishead from 1978-1980.
Mr Baker, from Ipswich, had returned from leave at the end of 1980 for the aftermath of the incident. He claims to have been told “this never happened” by RAF officers, and that radar tapes and bridge logs from the evening of the incident disappeared.
“Whatever the radar picked up, it wasn’t a subject of interest for interceptor aircraft because it didn’t come from the east – this was the height of the Cold War.
“It would have been sensible to quash any evidence. If something had happened, and it wasn’t picked up, it would have showed we weren’t capable of dealing with something from ‘above’.
“Later, I read the MoD said the radar had been switched off at the time, which is a load of rubbish.
“I’m no UFO nut, but something extraordinary happened here – outside the parameters of manned aircraft.”