Suffolk UFO 'crash' - new files released

SECRET Government files released for the first time have delivered a damming verdict on the famous alleged UFO sighting at a Suffolk airbase - dubbed Britain's Roswell.

Anthony Bond

SECRET Government files released for the first time have delivered a damming verdict on the famous alleged UFO sighting at a Suffolk airbase - dubbed Britain's Roswell.

The files released yesterdayfrom the National Archives show the Government's response to a UFO sighting at RAF Woodbridge at Rendlesham Forest in the early hours of Boxing Day in 1980.

Patrolmen based at the site from the United States Air Force (USAF) claimed they saw a small, triangular shaped craft moving backwards through the woods before taking off.

A report written by the deputy base commander Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said patrolmen saw an object with a “pulsing rate light on top and a bank of blue lights underneath”

A release of the report a few years after the alleged incident led to worldwide headlines such as 'UFO Lands in Suffolk'.

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The incident came at a time of Cold War tension at a site with nuclear weapons.

But the new files indicate that because Lieutenant Colonel Halt only filed his report on January 13 - two weeks after the sightings - this prompted a lack of investigation by the British Government.

In a briefing document from the time, an MoD official wrote: “Overall, we believe that the fact that Col Halt did not report these occurrences to MOD for almost two weeks after the event, together with the relatively low key manner in which he handled the matter (given resources available to him) are indicative of the degree of importance in defence terms which should be attached to the incident. He himself took all investigative action which was required.”

The briefing note added that because Lt Col Halt did not recommend any further investigation and because nothing was picked up on radar the MoD felt that “no additional action was required.”

The papers were released following a long-running campaign led by investigative journalist and lecturer Dr David Clarke. He said the briefing notes highlight a “total cock-up” by the Government into something which may have been of scientific interest. Dr Clarke said he believes that the patrolmen saw an aerial phenomenon rather than a solid metallic craft.

“What we have finally got here from the documents are the real decision which were taken at the time,” said Dr Clarke.

“It has got to be said that it was a total cock-up because if it was something serious the Government only got to know about it two weeks later.

“Why did the Americans not make a direct report of what happened to Whitehall and why did no-one from London get out from behind the desk and come to Suffolk and interview the American airmen who saw what they saw?

“It is a pity that the military made such a poor job about investigating it because it then got mixed up with all the other nonsense about flying saucers. It was the one they could have investigated at the time and done proper checks and we may now have the answers but instead they filed it away. It was a missed opportunity.”

Leiston resident Brenda Butler, who wrote the first book, Sky Crash, on the UFO sighting, said the reason Lt Col Halt took two weeks to file his report was because he wanted the advice of the British base commander who was on a two week holiday.

She added: “I do believe that the men did see something. Something must have happened because of all the secrecy and cover ups. We went to the MoD offices and they asked us to sign a paper to say that we would stop investigating the case.”

A MOD spokesman said: “UFO Reports are examined by the Ministry of Defence solely to establish whether UK airspace may have been compromised by hostile or unauthorised military activity. If required, sighting reports are examined with the assistance of the department's air defence experts. Unless there is evidence of a potential threat, it is not an appropriate use of defence resources and no further work is undertaken to identify the nature of each sighting reported.

The Ministry of Defence has no other interest or role regarding UFO matters and does not consider questions regarding the existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial life-forms."

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