Monday, December 11, 2017

The full version of the Western Australian Police Department UAP file

Background

Between 1951 and 1975, the Police Department of the West Australian government kept a file titled 'Unidentified Flying Objects.' The State Record Office (SRO) of Western Australia posted some 55 pages of this file, to their website around 2015. I came across it and wrote about the contents of the available pages, in a blog post dated 3 July 2015.

It wasn't until 2017 that I noticed that there was a gap in the folio numbering of the 55 available pages. This indicated that there might be other folios of the file available to me. I therefore communicated with the SRO, and indeed the full version of the file contains 156 images. I have just recently purchased a copy of the full file.



My previous post covered folios 1-31 (1951-1954) and folios 123-148 (1970-1975). Thus this current blog will fill in the gaps.

Sightings in this section

26 August 1954. V E, R V and R M H Antonio were in a car near Monument Hill, near Northam at 2.15pm and sighted a grey, oval shaped object in the clear sky. It was stationary.

15 December 1954. At 3am, two men, travelling south by car from Carnarvon to Geraldton saw a light in the ESE sky. Seen for 20 minutes. They reported seeing 'portholes,' along the side of the machine. The object rotated every 30 seconds.

 6 March 1957. Three men were travelling west along the Great Eastern Highway at 12.30am when they sighted a very bright green light with a tail, above trees. It rose up, then arced over the trees. Duration 4-5 seconds. It lit up the whole countryside.

3 July 1957. A number of people at the Fibre Queen Asbestos mine, 126 miles SE of Port Hedland, said they saw , at 10pm, a very bright light light up the whole area. Several explosions were then heard.

28 November 1957. At 10.45 am a Mundrabilla station hand heard a loud explosion and saw a cloud of dust and smoke rise into the sky. Soon after that he saw an object , cigar shaped, 030 feet long with no wings. Also at 10.45am two persons some distance away saw the same thing for 5 minutes and thought it was a guided missile. It came in from Eucla, circled at Madura and then went eastwards over Mundrabilla. One person reported that a piece fell off it. There was a blue vapour trail. The RAAF said it was a high flying Canberra jet aircraft.

19 August 1960. At Yallalong Station, 90 miles from Mullewa at 4pm the station owner reported seeing a bright object in the sky, The manager of Curbar Station 160 miles north of Mullewa heard an explosion.

5 August 1961. At 8.20am at Mt Hale Station. The very well known story of multiple objects dropping 'angel hair.' Interviews with some of the observers. For my catalogue and analysis of this and similar 'angel hair' cases, click here.

2 August 1964. At Wittenoom, at 3am , Mr E Rossi was at the Hamersley Ranges, 7 miles south of Wittenoom. He said he saw a 200 foot long object with square windows. It was well lit from within. There were no wings, and no tail. It was travelling at an estimated 200 mph, south to north. It had a tail of flame. It was also seen by three other men. For my cold case review click here.

27 September 1965. At 3.30 am, C K Hallett and M F Holbrook were travelling by truck near the Cane River, 30 miles north of Onslow. Their headlights lit up a cylindrical object. estimated to be 10 feet high and 10 feet in diameter, which took off from the ground at high speed. The two men travelled on in the truck. 10 miles later, they met two other people attending to a broken don truck. After being at this new location for 10 minutes the object appeared again. It swooped down over the two trucks at 200-300 mph. It lit up the surrounding area with a pale green light. The object itself was iridescent green and was lit up all over. It then climbed to a high altitude and disappeared from view.

The Police interviewed Holbrook who added that the object originally travelled roughly east to west, slightly towards them. It crossed the road in front of them and landed, then immediately took off again at high speed. It rose at a 45 degree angle and had descended at a slightly less angle. There was no noise from it. It was pale iridescent green and glowing. It had touched the ground for only a few seconds before rising up again.

On the second viewing at about 4 am, they were facing sought on the bank of the Cane River. The object had been travelling east to west at a low altitude slowly descending as if going to land again. He judged that the object would have been again landing in the same area as on the first occasion. It was the same colour as the first time, but was also emitting a bright white light, sparkling. There were small sparklets falling out of the light. The object passed within an estimated 100 yards of the observers and was silent.

14-15 August 1966. P G Johnston of Kununurra, was driving a bulldozer at night. At 11.54pm on the 14th he watched bright lights come from the south-west, slow down, and stop over a hill at an estimated distance of 1 mile. Then he saw a row of red lights, which appeared to come from behind the first light. There were 6-8 of them. These were not very bright. A few seconds later the red lights went out and the white light grew brighter, in fact too bright to look at.

An area about 12 feet around him lit up like a searchlight. Duration 5 minutes. The bright light went out and four less bright red lights travelled down behind a hill over which they had been stationary. The witness then sat and eat a meal. Then lights appeared from behind the hill and approached to within a 1/4 mile. These hovered 20 foot in the air. A bright white light came on and he could see this clearly. After 3-4 minutes this light went out and he then saw red lights over Kun Air strip.

By starlight he observed a 'flying saucer' type machine. It tilted as it rose so he could see its top. It was silver in colour, 10 feet high, 180 feet long and 80-100 feet wide. Red lights appeared to be portholes on the long side. As it rose, what seemed to be 3-4 points of vapour trailed from the underside. This wandered about the valley for 1 1/2 hours before seeming to land on hills. The lights were there till the first light of dawn on 15 August.

14 February 1967. At around the same time as there was a search for the American Biosatellite believed to have come down over Western Australia, there was a sighting between 7 and 7.30pm of an orange light seen from Bunbury.

30 October 1967. The classic encounter case, near Boyup Brook, between a car and an object, where the driver states that the car instantly decelerated from high speed without any effects, and then accelerated back to high speed in an instant, again with no effect on the driver. For my cold case review click here. 

5 May 1968. At 11am there was a report of what appeared to be a flare off Bremer Bay.

25 May 1969. At 2.43pm at Derby, there was a report of a large 'jet' seen NW to WNW.

11 March 1970. AT Christmas Creek Station, 60 miles east of Fitzroy, a cruising object left a vapour tail, as it travelled NW at high speed. The trail was not constant but broken. Smoke followed it to the ground.

Friday, December 8, 2017

2017 UK UAP files release - the 1990 Tornado incident

Background

This is the fifth in a series of posts, drawn from material to be found in the 2017 release of UAP files by the United Kingdom government. As previously mentioned, I am not intending to provide a comprehensive catalogue of the contents of the files, I will leave UK researchers to do that. There are particular aspects of the files, namely certain documents, which have caught my attention, and this is what I am writing about. This post concerns a sighting by the pilot of a RAF Tornado aircraft on 5 November 1990, which at first glance, appears highly intriguing.

The report

Image courtesy of Google Maps

An 'unclassified' telex/teletype dated 6 November 1990 is to be found on file DEFE 24/3127/1 page 182. It is from RAF West Drayton to MODUK AIR, subject 'Aerial Phenomena.' It reads:

'A. 5 Nov 1990
B. One large aeroplane (shape). 5 to 6 white steady lights. 1 blue steady light. Contrails from blue area.
C. In the air. M.C. 6 area. Fl270 YPENBURG
D. Naked eye
E. Heading 100 degrees same alt Fl270
F. Into our 12 o'clock
G. One quarter mile ahead
H. Steady
J. N/k
K. N/k
L. Working Dutch Mill radar
M. [Redacted} 2 AC SQN
N. Nil
O. 2 others from Laarbruch
P. Other info. Aircraft was under Dutch mil control. UFO appeared in our right hand side same level. We were travelling at Mach point 8. It went into our 12 o'clock and accelerated away. Another 2 Tornadoes seen it and possible identified it as a stealth aircraft.'

More detail

On pages 171-174 of the same file, there is an expanded, more easy to understand summary of the sighting. This is included as part of a 'Loose Minute' dated 30 October 2000 to DAS4a1(Sec), responding to D/Sec(AS) 64/3/5 dated 25 Sep 00, titled 'Information on Air Defence matters.'

'3. A Tornado aircraft, probably one of a formation of 3GR1s, (1) was conducting a routine eastbound transit from an airfield in UK to Laarbruch in Germany during the evening of Monday 5 Nov. 19. The aircraft was following a standard TACAN route to join TACAN BLUE  6 at the Flight Information Region  (FIR) boundary at a military reporting point known as MC6. Shortly before reaching MC6 control of the aircraft was  transferred by the London Military air traffic controller at RAF West Drayton to his counterpart at Dutch Mil Radar in the Netherlands in accordance with standard procedure.

At 1800z, the time the aerial phenomena was observed, the aircraft was leaving UK airspace in the MC6 area at Flight Level 270 (FL270), heading 100 degrees at speed Mach 0.8.

The aircraft was overtaken on the right by an aircraft shaped object, displaying 5/6 steady white and one blue light, at the same altitude which then proceeded to its 12 o'clock position at a range of 440 yards. The probable route of the Tornado is shown on the map at Annex A. It is assumed that the aircraft was still in contact with West Drayton on this second radio and chose to report the incident to UK authorities rather than the Dutch.

4. The incident is unusual in that the aircraft chose to report the incident as an aerial phenomena rather than as  an Air Proximity Report (AirProx) to highlight the loss of standard separation between aircraft (at this altitude separation  should be 1,000 ft or 5 nautical miles). There is no record of an AirProx report being made on this date in the UK. It is not known, however, whether AirProx of Aerial Phenomena reports were filed with Dutch authorities.

At 1800z on 5 Nov it is dark both on the ground and at FL270. This explains the reference to lights and to  'one large aeroplane (shape)' rather than a more specific description which would be expected of a professional military observer. In these low light conditions, it is generally difficult to judge range and relative motion and it may well be that the aircraft captain had subsequently revised his appreciation of the incident and  decided not to take the major step of reporting an air proximity hazard. (2)  Significantly, had controllers at West Drayton or Dutch Mil witnessed a loss of standard separation on radar, they would have raised Air Prox Reports in their own right, this was certainly not done at West Drayton.

5. Finally, since the incident clearly involved one or more aircraft departing UK airspace, it is highly improbable that the situation generated any UK Air Defence interest....

8. The 3 Tornados on 5 Nov 00, were not air defence aircraft and were not on an operational mission. There is no evidence that the UK Air Defence radar network either did or did not detect the 'unknown.''

There were two notes which I have labelled as (1) and (2) above:

1. Air Defence Tornado F3s are unlikely to have been flying to Laarbruch.

2. GR's do not carry cameras. 'In addition, the GR1 radar at that time, designed for terrain following, had a very limited air to air capability...'

File DEFE 24/3128/1 page 18 contains a fully unredacted copy of the 6 November 1990 telex/teletype which shows that the reporting pilot was 'SQNLDR Garwood 2 AC SQN.'

An exceptional report?

From all of the above material, one could conclude that something rather unusual had been flying past the Tornados that night, over the North Sea. However, a number of the details rang alarm bells for me and I went off to search for additional information.

In 2009, and then again in 2011, the story hit the media, which conveyed additional details. This reported that there was no radar detection by the Dutch military, nor by the Tornado crew of two.
However, it was on the blog written by UK researcher, Dr David Clarke, that I found an answer.

In a 2009 blog post about the third release of UK UAP files, Clarke wrote that there were documents on files DEFE 31/180:180-182 about this sighting. Later, he wrote:

'It later emerged that the RAF Tornado pilots had actually seen burning debris from a Soviet rocket body, used to launch a satellite into orbit, that fell back to earth, re-entering the atmosphere in a spectacular light show over Central Europe. A re-investigation into the incident during 2005 by Dutch researchers - plus a recording of the discussion between the pilots and Dutch ground controllers - can be found here.' (KB - unfortunately the link provided, is now broken.)

Additional sources of information

I then went to a website run by Ted Molczan which contains a record of visually observed satellite re-entries and there it was. At 1800z on 5 November 1990, object 1990-094c, a Russian Gorizont 21 rocket, had been observed re-entering the earth's atmosphere over Belgium, France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland and Italy. Notably, there were no observations from the UK.



The data base of the French government research group, GEIPAN also contained sightings of the re-eentry. 

http://www.cnes-geipan.fr/index.php?id=202&L=1&cas=1990-11-01225

Further sources and discussion

I wish to thank Wim Van Utrecht, a researcher from Belgium, for providing me with links to other sources of both information, discussion and analysis of this event. For anyone interested in reading more, here are those links.






A lesson to be learned

This incident is a perfect reminder that at night, it is extremely difficult for even trained professionals, such as aircraft pilots, to gauge the distance of objects seen in the sky. Secondly, that if someone simply came across the data on this incident in the UK files, and published only this, then the observation would seem to have been of some 'unknown' object. Thirdly, the UK files present only one observation. Once we have access to multiple others, spread across several countries, then the total picture of a re-entering object emerges. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

2017 UK UAP files release - Defence Intelligence interests

Background

This is the fourth in my series of posts based on material from the 2017 United Kingdom UAP files release. The UK National Archives advised that they would not be uploaded these files to their website, unlike previous releases. In addition, as the Archives require payment for the use of images of these documents, if they are placed on a website; I have chosen not to provide such images in my series of posts.

Introduction to this post

Various UK defence intelligence units within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) were on the distribution lists for incoming UAP reports. However, published analyses of the raw data, are few and far between.

An exception

One notable exception is to be found on file DEFE 24/3126/1 titled "Space Debris Impacts in Scotland/NE England on 23 September 1997.' It is a Scientific and Technical Memorandum - No. D/D150/97/17, and originally marked 'UK Restricted.'

The report, 12 pages in length, is an in-depth analysis of reported sightings over a wide area of the northern UK on 23 September 1997.

Between 0700 and 1000 zulu (UTC - the old GMT) on the morning of 23 September 1997, there were at least 15 sightings reported to ARCC Kinross. Individual reports cited the possibility of an aircraft crash; flares; a flash in the sky; and an explosion.

Reports came from people on the ground and from crews of aircraft in flight. Included in these observations were reports of a 'number of possible impacts.'

After initial suggestions of a crashed aircraft were eliminated; the Royal Observatory Scotland, suggested that a high altitude bolide (bright meteor) might account for the observations. Shock waves were detected by the British Geological Survey, before 0930z, near the Moray Firth.

The report, noted that a bolide 'does not account for all the observations reported to the police...' In addition, two of the observations from aircrews were one hour apart. The report then examined the possibility of more than one bolide being seen. However, it finally discounts the bolide hypothesis.

The final suggestion was that the entire group of sightings was due to the re-entry into the atmosphere of  fragments of the Russian satellite Cosmos 2343, which had been launched into a low earth orbit on 15 May 1997. Destruction in orbit on 16 September 1997 had left 50 smaller pieces. The report concludes that fragments of Cosmos 2343 were the most likely cause of the 23 September 1997 sightings.

My comments

1. As I mentioned, it is rare to see such an analysis from a defence intelligence area of the UK MOD. The distribution list for this report (90 copies) makes for interesting reading and includes D151; D152 and D157.

2. I examined the suggested cause, and found relevant data in the publication titled 'History of on-orbit satellite fragmentations' 13th edition, NASA, 2004.  Based on the raw data provided at the beginning of the UK MOD report, I agree with the report's assessment.



3. My former co-blogger, Pauline Wilson, wrote two fascinating blog posts about the interest of the United Kingdom; Australia; and New Zealand's defence intelligence agencies, and UAPs. These may be read here and here.

4. What is interesting, is that the focus of each of the UK, NZ and Australian defence intelligence areas, was said to be the national security interests of their respective countries. Each stated that, they had no scientific interest in UAP reports. Not withstanding these statements, the UK UAP files do contain some reports which seemed deserving of a follow up and analysis. I will simply give a couple of examples:

a. DEFE 24/2821/1, titled 'Air Traffic Control Low flying UFOs' has this report.

On Saturday 24 October 1992, at 2015hrs local time, a motor bike rider, was travelling on the A352 near Owermoigne, Dorset. The witness reported that in a clear sky, an object came down from above and travelled alongside the motorbike for 100 yards, then shot off into the sky. It was described as a yellow/orange 'bright blob.' The duration of the sighting was about 30 seconds. The witness was sufficiently intrigues as to report the incident to local police.

b. DEFE 24/2822/1 titled 'Air Traffic Control Low flying UFOs' has the following.

On 24 January 1995 at 1715hrs local time, two aircraft, travelling north west of Mintlaw, 'were shadowed' by a constant, faint white light at the apparent same altitude and speed as the aircraft. The light reportedly climbed and descended around the lead aircraft, then made a sharp climb and dive. It returned to the same altitude as the aircraft, then disappeared into cloud.

Even though these are not 'classic' UFO cases, they still seem to have been worthy of further attention, even if they ultimately were found to be caused by a rare atmospheric phenomenon.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

2017 UK UAP files release - USAF spyflight intrigue

Background

This post continues a look at aspects of the contents of the release, of the latest batch of United Kingdom UAP files. This time, some documents which appear on DEFE24/3129/1 titled 'Admin + General UFOs.'

On a file which contains numerous low level interest sightings, and general correspondence, there are three documents which refer to an intriguing 1982 observation.

First document

The first document is a telex, dated 20 October 1982, from 280 SU to MODUK AIR, Info AHQ Cyprus. It reports an incident which occurred at 1605z on 19 October 1982, which lasted approximately 90 minutes.

The incident concerned the observation of 'A big object, larger than RC 135, with a multitude of flashing lights 20 at a time.' No shape was recorded.

It was a 'Visual siting and radar contact by crew of United States aircraft type RC 135, callsign Beano 73. Nothing seen by Olympus radar.'

http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/boeing-rc135/
The object was first seen to the south from flight level 350, and was initially estimated to be 'about two miles from wing of RC 135, moved position around aircraft and closed.'

The object's movement was described as 'Object tailed Beano 73 for 90 mins on its northeast/southwest race track between positions QJED2020 and QJDC4000.'

The weather was described as 'clear night conditions.'

The incident was reported 'while occurring to duty controllers at 280SU, RAF Troodos/Olympus radar.'

Other information recorded on the telex was 'Reported by crew of Beano 73. Reliable. Witnessed by whole crew, three fighters intercepted Beano 73 and report an object departing to the south but nothing seen visually.'

My notes

1. An RC 135 was a USAF reconnaissance aircraft.

2. 280SU was the 280 Signals Unit of the RAF.

3. Olympus radar was apparently at RAF Troodos, Cyprus.

The second document


Image courtesy of Google maps

This is a 'Loose Minute' dated 29 October 1982 from Ops (R)2a (RAF) with a file reference of AF/4/193/I/OND, addressed to Ops (GE) 2 (RAF) and reads:

'UFO Incident 19 Oct 82

1. We spoke reference to the UFO incident which occurred on 19 Oct 82, when a USAF aircraft flying in the Eastern Mediterranean to the south of Cyprus reported an unidentified aircraft flying alongside. The incident was monitored by 280SU and we have now received film of the 280SU radar picture and the tape on which radio transmissions were recorded.

2. We have very little to add to the information which is on the film and tape. However, you will wish to know that the two USN F14 aircraft were launched from a carrier and an RAF Phantom, which was on a night flying exercise, were sent to assist. None of these three aircraft reported seeing the 'UFO,' nor was it seen on any ground or seaborne radar, including at 280SU. We have a strong suspicion that the 'UFO' was a mirage effect from lights on the coast of Israel or Lebanon.

3. We are arranging for a transcript to be made of the tape recording and will let you have both the transcript and the tape as soon as possible. We attach the film taken at 280SU.

4. The US authorities wish to have copies of any reports which might result from your studies. We will arrange for them to received a copy of the voice transcript.'

My comments:

1. If 280SU didn't pick up the object on radar, then why do the RAF say  'we have now received film of the 280SU radar picture?'

2. Also, the RAF says 'nor was it seen on any ground or seaborne radar, including at 280SU.' Yet, they also say in the original telex 'three fighters intercepted Beano 73 and report an object departing to the south but nothing seen visually.' How can the fighters report the object departing to the south, if they did not see it and didn't pick it up on their radar?

Something is not quite right here. Does it mean that the RC135 radar showed it going south and they told the fighters this? We do not know.

On the bottom of the second document, there is a hand written note which reads:

'NOA
Film passed to CS(REPS) 1 Nov 82. receipt E100. Work completed by 12 Nov 82. 2 10X10 prints of each usable frame will be printed. Paper is glazed - to have unglazed prints would take even longer. CS (REPS) will call 7276 when work completed. 1 Nov 82.'

Third document

The third document appears to be the acknowledgement of the job request for prints from the film. It shows Ops (GE)2A(RAF). Room 4258 MOD main building. It refers to 'your request dated 1.11.82.' Allocated job number 3110/82.

My comments:

1. This certainly appears to be an intriguing case. However, we are lacking a copy of the transcript of the voice recording, and copies of prints made from the 'film of the 280SU radar picture.'

2. No one that I am aware of, has even previously heard of this sighting prior to the release for this file; nor does there appear to be any available US documentation about it.

3. UK researcher Dr David Clarke wrote a piece about the sighting, shortly after the release of the files. He provided the following additional information:

* RAF Troodos was a remote base on the island of Cyprus
* The incident happened shortly after 4pm local time
*Olympus referes to 280 Signals Unit base, RAF Troodos, Mt Olympus, Cyprus
* Copies of the documents were circulated to:
 - Assistant Chief Scientist (RAF)
 - D Ops (GE) RAF
 - DI55
 - DSTI.

4. David Clarke states that the incident commenced "shortly after 4 pm local time.' However, the DEFE file telex gives the commencement time as 1605z i.e. 4.05pm zulu. As local time is 2 hours ahead of zulu time, that makes the commencement of the incident, as 6.05pm local time. This 2 hour difference, means that the event commenced and finished in darkness. It also explains why the RAF Phantom aircraft sent to investigate is said to have been on a 'night training exercise.'

I consulted two different astronomical programs and found the following, based on latitude 35.13N; 33.43E ( i.e. Cyprus; not the location of the aircraft at the time, which is not actually known from the file's documents.)

At 6.05pm local time the Sun was below the horizon, at azimuth 258 degrees, sunset having taken place around 5pm local time that night. The moon (13% illuminated) was at altitude 13 degrees; azimuth 232 degrees (SW), and set at 7.28pm local time at azimuth 245 degrees. The planet Venus was below the horizon. The planet Mars was at altitude 18 degrees; azimuth 220 degrees. The planet Jupiter was below the horizon.

5. Can we locate any weather data which may or may not throw some light on the 'We have a strong suspicion that the 'UFO' was a mirage effect from lights on the coast of Israel or Lebanon,' comment from the RAF?

The University of Wyoming maintains a data base of upper atmospheric soundings  I checked these for any available data from Nicosia, Cyprus for 19 October 1982. Unfortunately no data is available.
However, I did find data from station 40179, at Bet Dagan, Israel, for both 1200z 19 October 1982


and 0000z 20 October 1982. Recall that the event commenced at 1605z 19 October 1982. At the time of the incident the aircraft was reported to be south of Cyprus, and apparently to the north of Bet Dagan.


I will leave it to those with meteorological expertise to tell me if the data assists with a meteorological explanation for the RC135 incident.

My final comments

No doubt, several UK UAP researchers are attempting to locate individuals who served with 280SU in 1982, in an effort to find someone with first hand knowledge of the event. In addition, hopefully someone is also on the track of the officials whose names are redacted in the official documentation.

Friday, December 1, 2017

2017 UK UAP files release - the Italian Ministry of Defence

Introduction

On page 152 of the recently released United Kingdom UAP file, DEFE 24/3129/1, titled 'Admin + general UFOs,' I found an interesting letter. it is dated 7th June 1982 and is on the letterhead of the Italian Embassy, London.

The letter is written by the Assistant Air Attaché, of the Office of the Defence and Air Attaché, their file reference DAM/AL/1/1 h 19/40.6, and is addressed to the MOD London [actual addressee redacted.] It reads:

'MOD/Italy has recently updated the Department responsible for the research and compilation of data (data analysis, aerial photographs and general safety measures) relating to UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects.)

Following a successful and fruitful meeting last year, by two Italian officers, with the French authorities, it would be of immense assistance if such a meeting could be arranged with the British counterparts, military and/or civilian to discuss salient organizational points in the UFO sector.

[Redacted] the officers concerned, would be able to attend a meeting, of approximately five day's duration, in the period 1-15 October 1982.

I take this opportunity of thanking you for your assistance in this matter and look forward to receiving a favourable reply for onward transmission to my authorities in Rome.'

Page 151 of the file is a 'Loose Minute' reference D/DS8/75/2 to DI55 Ops (GE) 2 (RAF) with a hand written notation 'Ops GE2b. Speak.' The minute was copied to FLS (Air.), and was dated 10 Jun 1982.

'UFOs - ITALIAN REQUEST

1. Attached is a letter recently recently received from the Italian Embassy. It is largely/explanatory, though it make one wonder what our allies are up to.

2. Obviously a 5-day visit would be vastly excessive - one day should be enough (unless you intend to reveal any dark secrets which you have kept hidden from DS8). This obviously raises the question of whether the visit would be worthwhile but that is for the Italians to judge.

3. Please let me know whether there are any reasons why we should not meet our Italian 'counterparts' and whether you wish to be involved in the discussion.

4. Incidentally, I have assumed that the Italians propose to come here. We could, however, offer to go there (Rome in early October would not be too unpleasant.) If fact if we are keen to keep pace with developments in this clearly fast moving field we really ought to arrange to visit our colleagues in Paris - and indeed the other NATO capitals. An international conference or symposium would also be useful - Venice perhaps would be a suitable location.' [Redacted signature.]

In handwriting, someone had added 'Why not indeed?' with an arrow pointing to the sentence about Venice. Plus 'Ask for help from F U! (Heaven.) [No doubt the Italians are looking to come here for the same reason!]

The file is silent on whether the visit actually occurred, and if so what outcomes were achieved.

Official Italian government UAP research


Front page of the Italian Air Force UAP reporting form

Intrigued by this reference to official Italian government UAP research, I conducted a brief literature search. I found:

1. In 1963, the English 'Flying Saucer Review' (FSR), volume 9 numbers 1-4, carried a series of articles, translation by Gordon Creighton, titled 'The Italian Scene - parts 1-4.' Whilst describing a number of Italian cases, the articles did not mention the position of the Italian government. 

2. In 1964, Jacques Vallee, ( Forbidden Science Journals 1957-1969. North Atlantic Books, Berkerley, California, pp 120-121) recorded a diary entry which read:

Image courtesy of Amazon Books
'I have received a very interesting letter from an Italian military officer I will call Luciano:

"I am a Captain in the Italian Air Force and am employed at the Ministry of Aeronautics in Rome...My interest in the UFO problem began many years ago when I had occasion to speak for the first time with direct witnesses whose sincerity I had no doubt. Previous to that I was very skeptical on the matter."

He described his sources of documentation, his research, and his files of over 6,000 index cards containing the details of sightings since 1947, about 800 of them from Italy itself. He went on:

"When I saw Aimé Michel in Paris last November I was sincerely surprised that he did not know that after the French "flap" of September-October 1954 a corresponding flap took place in Italy. It was of the same magnitude, with a lot of landings, and, much falling of angel hair."

I am answering him right away. Aimé Michel assures me that Luciano is in close touch with military intelligence in his country.'

Further entries in Vallee's diary, mention 'Lucinao.' One dated 10 January 1965 has Luciano advising that 'I have been appointed a UFO consultant to the Italian Air Force. In some cases I participated in the investigations carried out by our authorities. Naturally I have been given full access to the Air Force files.' Another, dated 13 April 1965 conveys details from Luciano of a near landing dated 20 August 1963, which was investigated by himself and a secret service team as it involved a chauffeur to the Italian President. Vallee states that the report was sent to Washington, DC, USA.

3. In Jaques Vallee's 1965 book, 'Anatomy of a Phenomena' on page 136 we read:

Image from my personal collection
'The Italian Air Force once issued a vague statement concerning its files, which contained, in their own words, only very limited information on objects seen flying on the eastern coast of their country in 1954.' Vallee's source for this was 'Statement by the Italian Air Ministry. Le Monde and La Croix. October 26, 1954. Le Figaro October 25, 1954.

4. 1977. An article appeared in the FSR Volume 24 number 1 (1978) pp 26-27, written by Gordon Creighton and titled 'A problem for the Italian Minister of Defence?' It was based on an article which appeared in the Milan illustrated journal, Gente of 19 November 1977, submitted to FSR by Dr Roberto Pinotti, vice president of the group C.U.N. 

Two helicopter crews saw a luminous orange 'circle' at apparent close range at 1735hrs on 27 Oct 1977 at Cagliari Elmas, a military base. There were also multiple ground observers. There was a similar sighting on 2 Nov 1977 at the same base, but this event was not known about until an 'official leak.' Details of the first event were confirmed by the base commandant, Colonel Mario D'Angelo. It was reported in the media that a report had been sent to the Italian Minister of Defence.

5. 1979. FSR Volume 24, number 6, pp 14-15 & 18 has an article by Roberto Pinotti, titled 'The Italian Ministry of Defence and UFOs.' Extracts read:



'Finally on January 5, 1978, the Italian Defence Department put out an ad hoc press release in an attempt "...to answer the citizens who have been writing to the press." The release stated that the 27 Oct 1977 incident, was caused by an aircraft.

The C.U.N. group wrote a letter to the Ministry of Defence. On 31 Mar 1978 C.U.N. received a file containing details of six unclassified UFO sightings by Italian military personnel in 1977.

On 27 May 1978, the Air Force issued a statement about  a 9 Mar 1978 UAP sighting, but without assigning any cause.

Pinotti noted that the six released cases were on a previously unrevealed standard Italian Air Ministry UFO report form.

6. 1988. FSR Volume  33 number 1, pp 1-3 has an article 'An Italian pilot's sighting : and another Italian government cover up?' by Antonio Chiumiento. This concerns the visual observation by an Italian pilot of an object near Rovigo on 18 Jun 1979. The pilot took a series of 80 photographs of an 8m by 3m black cigar shaped object. It was also intermittently observed by radar, and seen by multiple ground observers. Chiumiento's group interviewed the pilot and obtained a copy of one of the series of photos. However, it wasn't until 1984 that the group was able to release details,

FSR v. 33 n. 1
On 2 Nov 1983 the Italian Ministry of Defence stated that the object seen and photographed was actually a balloon composed of black plastic bags. The MOD released three photographs of the object. However, these three pictures showed something different to the one sighted by Chiumiento's group.

Finally, when the 'Summary of UFO sightings March 1979 to April 1985' was released by the General Staff of the Italian Air Force, it was noted that the 18 Jun 1979 incident was listed there as 'Unidentified.'

7. 1996. In his work 'Beyond Top Secret' English researcher and author Timothy Good provided details of just who, in the Italian government, investigated UAP. In part Good's piece read:

'In Italy, sightings of UFOs (oggetti volanti non identificati - OVNI) are dealt with officially by the Ministry of Defence, specifically the Air Force General Staff (2nd department,) which is entrusted by the Defence General Staff with the task of collecting, within the scope of defence, all data concerning such reports, with the collaboration of the Army, Navy and Carabinieri General staffs. The Air Force General Staff shares its interest in the phenomenon with the Inspectorate of the Board of Telecommunications and Flight Assistance (Telecommunicazione ed Assitenza al Volo) and with all regional operating centres, and periodically sends an updated summary of sightings to the Ministry of Defence.

In its statistical summary of sightings from 1979 to 1990, the Air Force General Staff noted that 111 reports were received, with a peak of thirty-two in 1980. A slight majority of sightings occurred in the central region of Italy, particularly along the coasts of the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas (a statistic disputed by Italy's foremost research group...According to the Air Force summary the most reliable reports include the following...'

8. 1999. In "The Proceedings of the Sign Historical Group UFO History Workshop'  appears (pages 115-117) a 'Summary of official UFO research in Italy' written by Edoardo Russo. I have extracted the following dot points of information:

* The first statement released by the Italian Air Force was in 1950

* Details of Vallee's Italian Air Force contact - 'Luciano'

* Mid 1960's - it was found that the Italian Air Force was using the same format report form as the USAF

* Late 1960's - the Carabinieri were collecting some UFO data

* Early 1970's - Ufologist Renzo Cabassi exchanged data with an Air Force intelligence officer

* 1977 - Carabinieri units were ordered to all collect UFO data

* 1978 - UFO groups were given a file of six unclassified military reports from 1978

* 1978 - the MOD ordered centralisation of all their UFO data

* UFO evaluation commission formed

* 1980 - MOD asked the National Research Council if a scientific study of UFOs was feasible. The response was negative

* 1986 - The Air Force released catalogue of 256 cases from between 1979-1985

* 1995 - Ufologists Fiorino and Cabassi meet Air Staff and exchanged data.


1978 - six AF reports send to three UFO groups
1986 - summary of 70 Air Force reports released to two groups
1988-2001 - yearly Air Force UFO summaries released to two UFO groups
1993 - Air Force statistical study of 111 UFO reports published
1996-2001 - full Air Force files released to CISU - 372 reports ~ 3000 pages
2001-to date - UFO sightings summaries online.

10. 2014. 

Two Italian investigative journalists, Lao Petrilli and Vincenzo Sinapi, wrote a book titled 'UFO, I Dossier Italiani!' In writing the book, the authors consulted the Italian Air Force's official UAP files. The authors intent was to provide Italian citizens with all the available details about UAP sightings in that country, without adding their personal views on the subject.



As at 2014, the specific area of the Italian Air Force which held the responsibility for collection and examination of Italian UAP reports,m was the 'General Security Department.' The Air Force's investigations was solely focused on whether or not the UAP was a national security threat to the country. For a detailed interview with one of the authors, click here.

Acknowledgement

I wish to thank Italian researcher Edoardo Russo, for providing me with links to some of the information I have used in this article.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

2017 UK UAP files release - Leslie Kean was right

Introduction

Earlier this year, the UK government's National Archives, released a further batch of fifteen UAP files. I recently had the opportunity to examine the contents of these files. In the files, we find a large number of low-level interest sightings, made by members of the public, police officers, pilots etc., relayed to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) via RAF bases, local police, the Civil Aviation Authority and other agencies. We also find details on a number of cases which cried out for, but did not receive, investigation and analysis. There are also copies of MOD internal memos on a range of topics, including sightings, and policy. There is much correspondence from members of the public asking all sorts of questions. Included in this area, are also, questions from sugch officials as Lord Hill-Norton; MPs, and UAP researchers such as David Clarke.

It is not my intent to conduct an exhaustive analysis of this large set of documents; no doubt others elsewhere, will do this. My intent is to simply sample things which interest me, and will therefore possibly interest readers of this blog.



On 3 February 2011, my former co-blogger, Pauline Wilson, published a blog post titled 'Secret UFO Studies in the USA?'

Pauline noted an intriguing paragraph in a then new book by US author Leslie Kean titled 'UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials go on Record.' [Harmony Books; New York; 2010.]

Image from my personal book collection
On page 238 of the book, Kean, speaking of an official UK government document wrote:

'...comes close to verifying the existence of such a secret group in America - the only legitimate, confirmed government document to do that, to my knowledge.'

What was the document?

Kean refers to it as written in 1993 as part of the precursor to the UK's Project Condign.

'The document mentioned by the Defence Intelligence staff...is written by his counterpart in the DIS, it was addressed to Pope's supervisor "SEC(AS)2," the Air Staff deputy director, and classified "secret UK eyes A." (p.238.)

Kean presents the text of paragraph 2:

'2. I am aware from intelligence sources, that xxxxxx believes that such phenomenon exist and has a small team studying them. I am also aware that an informal group exists in the xxxxxxxxxxxx community and it is possible that this reflects a more formal organisation.' (p.239.)

Kean's analysis in the book concluded that the first redaction was 'Russia' and the second was 'US Intelligence.'

Redactions uncovered

The newly released UK UAP papers now reveals the truth behind the redactions.

File DEFE 24/3152 page 176 is a formerly 'Secret UK eyes A' memo dated 2 December 1993, file reference D/DI55/108/15. It is addressed to DI(ST) and titled 'Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Study - Proposed amendment to NNR2/113. Paragraph 2 of this memo reads:

'I am aware from intelligence sources, that Russia believes that such phenomena exist and has a small team studying them. I am also aware that an informal group exists in the US intelligence community and it is possible that this reflects a more formal assessment activity.'

This appears to be Kean's 1993 document's paragraph 2. It does reveal that Kean's interpretation of the redactions as, redaction one 'Russia' and redaction two as 'US intelligence, is indeed correct.

However, there is additional information available on DEFE 24/3152 pages 219-220. These are on a DI55 paper titled 'Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), dated 19 June 1995.

'THE US DIMENSION

24. During discussions with [redacted] I have been told that they do not study UAPs but I have been told that an 'unofficial' grouping exists between the agencies. This group has contacts with [redacted] personnel...'

'THE RUSSIAN DIMENSION

26. [Redacted] have confirmed that at least until the early 90's a small team studied UAPs at Ramenskoye.'

It is a pity that we have had to wait almost a quarter of a century to learn the above.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Committee members of the VFSRS/VUFORS : 1959 - 1972

Introduction

Between 1959 and 1972, there were over thirty individuals who served on the committee of the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society/ Victorian UFO Research Society. In this post I identify these individuals and the committee positions which they held, and provide information about a number of them which will be new to most blog readers. 

Some individuals such as Peter Norris; Paul Norman and Judith Magee, played a major role in the development of the society during these years. Others came and went. Sadly, I am aware of a number of such people as Judith Magee, William (Bill) Stapleton, and Paul Norman who are deceased.

Judith Mary Magee



Committee, Dec 1959 – Nov 1962; Vice President  & Programs Officer, May 1964 – Dec 1965; Secretary, Dec 1966 – Dec 1967; Vice President, Oct 1968 – Dec 1972.

‘Vice President: Mrs Judith Magee has been a member of the V.F.S.R.S. since 1958 and a committee member since 1959. She completed a secretarial course at Brighton Technical School and worked in a Melbourne radio station and bank prior to joining the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service in March 1944. After demobilisation in 1946 she joined Australian National Airways as an air hostess and in 1947 became the only woman finalist in the Sun flying scholarship. Since her marriage in 1948 she has worked as a diathermy operator, mannequin and saleswoman.

Mrs Magee believes that flying saucer research should take a ‘middle-of-the-road’ attitude and be accurately presented to the public in a factual manner.’

[Source: Australian Flying Saucer Review No 4, Dec 1965.]

Magee wrote a number of articles for magazines, including:

‘”Nests” and “Landing pads.” AFSR No 2, Jul 1970, pp 12-15.

‘Are the UFOnauts gradually revealing their presence?’ AFSR Vol 1, Mar 1970, pp 8,9 & 14.

‘UFO activity along the NE coast of Australia.’ Flying Saucer Review (FSR) Vol 11 No 5 p14.

‘Queensland again.’ FSR. 1966. Vol 12 No 2, p26.

‘UFO over the Mooraduc Road.” FSR 1972. Vol 18 No 6 p6.

Paul Norman

Investigations & Sightings Officer, May 1964; Public Relations Officer, May 1965- Dec 1970; Public Relations Officer & Sightings Investigations Officer, Feb 1972. Public Relations Officer, Dec 1972.

‘Public Relations Officer, Mr Paul Norman was born and educated in the United States. With the exception of six years in the U.S. Navy and a short period as a Publisher’s Representative, he served in various positions up to Hydro-Electric Power Project Superintendent with the U.S. Corps of Engineers and is Charge Engineer in Thermal-Electric Stations.

He has been interested in the U.F.O. phenomenon since 1953, after observing one of the mystery objects hover over a power station in Middle Tennessee. His interest was intensified when Major Keyhoe was cut off the C.B.S. Coast to Coast Television network, while trying to tell American people about U.F.O. investigations and a few moments later an Air Force spokesman stood before millions of TV viewers and said “You Air Force would not withhold the facts.” At that time, Mr Norman joined the fight to end the policy of public deception.’

[Source: Australian Flying Saucer Review No 7, Dec 1967.]



Paul Norman had interactions in the USA. According to Ann Druffel's book 'Firestorm' (2002) about the late professor James E McDonald, ‘Paul Norman corresponded with McDonald shortly after McDonald's public entry into the field, and the two exchanged UFO reports and other material. In early May 1967 Paul Norman came to the states to visit relatives and made arrangements to visit McDonald in Tucson. Norman first visited Allen Hynek and Vallee in Chicago, principally to discuss a couple of UFOs which had been taken by reliable witnesses in Australia, then went on to Boulder, Colorado where he met with some of the staff of the Condon committee…for Condon’s staff had staff also had interest in cases worldwide.

Norman brought key Australian cases with him, discussed them in an eight hour meeting, and let the staff photocopy them. The next day, a Saturday, he discussed the cases for another ten hours with Dr David Saunders, a psychologist on Condon’s staff, then he went on to Tucson.’

Norman instigated the visit to Australia, in 1967, of Professor James E McDonald. Norman and other VFSRS committee members arranged for McDonald to interview a number of witnesses to Australian sightings. For summaries of these Australian McDonald interviews, click here. 

Norman wrote a number of magazine articles during the period 1959-1972. Included amongst these were the following:

‘The Condon Report in Bits and Pieces.’ AFSRS Vol 1, Mar 1970 (Vic) pp 2, 3 & 19.

‘A fierce new look at Unidentified Flying Objects.’ AFSRS Vol 2, Oct 1964 pp 15-18.

‘The electro-magnetic effect of the UFO.’ AFSRS Vol 4, Dec 1965, pp 3-5.

‘UFOs and the mystery signals from outer space.’ AFSR No 8, Oct 1968, pp 2-3.

‘Gravity powered objects.’ FSR 1965, Vol 11, No 2, p20.

Norman investigated a number of Australian cases, including: Burkes Flat (1966); Frankston (1972); Eaton Ridge (1965); Zanthus (1968,) including numerous Victorian sightings. He forwarded Australian sightings onto NICAP in the USA, some of which appeared in the NICAP ‘UFO Investigator.’

Peter E Norris

President 1959 - 1972.

'Mr Peter E Norris, LL.B has headed this society since its foundation in 1957. He was born in 1932, educated at Wesley College and graduated Bachelor of Law from Melbourne University in 1958.

He is an elected councillor of the City of Chelsea and a member of at least six other civic bodies in that City.

The V.F.S.R.S. has much for which to thank Mr Norris whose skills in manoeuvring the society through the difficulties inherent in such groups has shown intelligent leadership which has done much to gain the respect of the people and made the subject of Flying Saucers respectable.’

[Source: Australian Flying Saucer review No 3, May 1965.]

Norris was an APRO representative, and numerous articles appeared in the APRO Bulletin, which were based on material submitted by Norris.

Peter Norris, Geoff Rumpf and Ray Mountford conducted a field investigation of the 10 March 1961, Albury, NSW sighting. [AFSR No 5, Jul 1961, pp 1-2.] 

Geoffrey S Rumpf



Librarian, Dec 1959; Investigations & Sightings Officer, May 1964; Sightings Investigations Officer, May 1965 – Jul 1966; Vice President & Sightings Investigations Officer, Dec 1966.

‘Vice president and Sightings Investigations Mr Rumpf has been a member of V.F.S.R.S. since the inaugural meeting in February 1957. He was the society’s first librarian and is the society’s first sightings investigations officer. He was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne and has worked at the University of Melbourne as a research assistant and has been employed in many fields of selling.
He is currently employed as a Publisher’s Representative. During the last six years he has travelled extensively overseas. Mr Rumpf is active in the sport of pistol shooting and is president of the Mountain District Pistol Club.’

[Source: Australian Flying Saucer Review No 6, Dec 1966.]

Rumpf investigated a number of Victorian sightings including Hallam (1967.)

Sylvia Suttton



Secretary, 1961 – Dec 1965.

‘Secretary: Mrs Sylvia Sutton joined the V.F.S.R.S. in 1959 and became secretary in 1961. In 1965 she was appointed secretary of the federation Commonwealth Aerial Phenomena Investigation Organisation (C.A.P.I.O.)

Mrs Sutton was educated at University High School and a city business college. Later, she worked in a city insurance company, on ledgers, statistical records and dissection of same, until her marriage in 1941. She is the wife of a bank manager and has a son and a daughter. Other interests have been musical studies and a short course in free-lance journalism.’

[Source: AFSR No 5 Jul 1966.]

Neville Thornhill



Sightings Investigations Officer, Dec 1967 – Oct 1968.

‘Sightings Investigations Officer: Mr Neville Thornhill was born in South Africa and migrated to Australia at the age of fourteen where he continued his education at Brighton Grammar School. He later studied engineering at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Swinburne Technical College.

His sporting activities have been many and varied and he is currently an active member of the Mountain District Pistol Club. He is married and has two small children.

His interest in U.F.O’s was aroused by his engineering mind and an earnest desire to assist in solving the problem.

[Source: Australian Flying Saucer Review No 8, Oct 1968.]

Thornhill wrote at least one VFSRS article. ‘UFO Investigation’ AFSR No 1, Mar 1970, pp 5,6 & 12.

Other committee members
Aitchison, Harry

Technical Advisor, May 1964- Dec 1965.Committee, Dec 1966; Tape Librarian Dec 1967 – Oct 1968.

Anderson, Albert

Treasurer, Oct 1968.

Anderson, Morris

Treasurer, Dec 1967.

Bezzi, Claude

Committee, Dec 1959 – Nov 1962.

Bristol, Les

Librarian, Oct 1968 – Jul 1970; Committee, Feb 1972 – Dec 1972.

Browning, David

Public Relations Officer, May 1964; Assistant Sightings Investigations Officer, Oct 1968.

Carstairs, Delma

A/g Secretary, Jul 1970.

Coutts, Rodney

Committee, Dec 1959.

Farmer, Dorothy.

Treasurer, Dec 1965 – Dec 1966.

Frances-Williams, Kit

Committee, Dec 1966. Assistant Secretary, Dec 1967 – Oct 1968; Minutes Secretary, Mar 1970 – Dec 1970; Committee, Feb 1972.

Gillman, Dorothy

Secretary, Dec 1959 – Jan 1962; Treasurer, May 1964.

Godden, Ian

Committee, Dec 1959; Librarian & Magazine Editor, May 1964; Librarian, Apr 1960 – Nov 1962.

Hall, Norman

Assistant Librarian, Dec 1959; Committee, Apr 1960 – Jun 1962.

Harrison, June

Secretary, Oct 1968; Assistant Secretary, Mar 1970; Publications Officer, Jul 1970 – Feb 1972.

Leschen, Richard

Sightings Investigations Officer, Dec 1972.

Marrow, Rodney

Librarian, Feb 1972 – Dec 1972.

Mountford, Ray

Committee, Nov 1962.

Neville, Prue

Membership Secretary, Dec 1967.

Shackelford, Jim

Committee, Nov 1962.

Spencer, Ben

Vice President, Dec 1959 – Apr 1960; Vice-President  & Treasurer, Sep 1960- Nov 1962.

Stapleton, William

Sightings Investigation Officer, Mar 1970- Dec 1970; Committee, Feb 1972.

Stapleton wrote at least one piece: ‘The Dartmoor Phenomenon.’ AFSRS No 2, Jul 1970, pp 17-18, and was involved in an extensive investigation into the 1972 Maureen Puddy, Frankston CE3, and possible abduction.

 [Source: Australian Flying Saucer review No 5, Jul 1966.]

Sutton, Wendy

Librarian, May 1965 – Dec 1966.

Tarplee, William

Secretary, Feb 1972 – Dec 1972.

Traverston, Pat

Assistant Secretary, Dec 1972.

Valente, Cathy

Librarian, Dec 1967.

Wilkinson, Albert

Treasurer, Jul 1970; Committee, Feb 1972.

Yates, Clive

A/g Treasurer, Feb 1972 – Dec 1972.

The full version of the Western Australian Police Department UAP file

Background Between 1951 and 1975, the Police Department of the West Australian government kept a file titled 'Unidentified Flying Obj...