For decades rumors have circulated to the effect that highly classified research into UFOs has been undertaken by elements of the UK Ministry of Defense and Royal Air Force. The problem, for the UFO research community, is that the rumors have been consistently and officially denied. That the Ministry of Defense has studied the UFO subject and, in the process, has generated thousands of pages of official, relevant documents is not in doubt. Those same documents are available for inspection at the National Archive, Kew, England. The files, however, reflect very little in the way of serious, comprehensive interest in the subject.
Indeed, studying some of the internal memos that have now been declassified, makes it very clear that the MoD wished it could wash its hands of the entire subject and was utterly tired of having to handle hundreds of reports per year – mostly mailed in or phoned in by the public. Even UFO believer Nick Pope – who investigated UFO reports for the MoD between 1991 and 1994 – told me that (A) he never left the confines of the MoD to carry out even a single investigation (it was all done by letter, by phone, and by liaising with colleagues at the MoD); and that (B) the MoD’s “UFO Budget” amounted to only around 20 percent of Pope’s own salary – and that was all. It’s hardly The X-Files and Mulder and Scully! But, is that all there is to it? No.
In the same way that, in the United States, claims have been made that the US Air Force’s UFO program, Project Blue Book, never got to see the really “good” UFO material (crashed UFOs, dead aliens, etc.), similar assertions have been made in the UK. A great deal has been written (some of it by me) on the way in which the Royal Air Force’s Provost and Security Services at RAF Rudloe Manor, Wiltshire, England played a role in the UFO subject for decades – a role that remains unclear to this day. Despite failed and clumsy attempts on the part of the MoD to lay the matter to rest – by calling Rudloe Manor merely a “coordination point” for the collection (but not investigation) of UFO reports – the controversy still continues. Google “Rudloe Manor UFO” and you’ll find a great deal of information.
There is, however, another facility that for years appears to have played a notable and secret role when it comes to who really handles (or, more likely, who once handled) the UFO secrets in the UK. Welcome to the world of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, about which there is the following: “The RAE was set up for the development of scientific methods of assessing aircraft designs, deemed necessary to counter the ‘By guess and by God’ practices employed hitherto. Initially the Royal Aircraft Factory, it was renamed the Royal Aircraft Establishment in 1918 to avoid confusion with the newly formed RAF. In WW2 it worked primarily on aircraft engine problems. In later years, RAE developed a supersonic wind tunnel and was also asked to test automotive designs to minimize wind resistance when the motor manufacturers discovered that they could use it for free. In 1988 it was renamed the Royal Aerospace Establishment.”
Located at Farnborough, Hampshire, England, the RAE has long been associated with UFOs. In 1953, for example, Flight Lieutenant Cyril Townsend-Withers – who had a significant UFO encounter in the early 1950s – was informed that the Air Ministry (the predecessor of the Ministry of Defense) had secretly and quietly established a project on UFOs. The location: Farnborough. In an interview with UK Ufologist, Jenny Randles, Townsend-Withers said: “I discovered that there was a newly formed research team at Farnborough who were handpicked to study the evidence and were assessing incoming reports. I even heard whispers that they had developed a working assumption that alien craft might be coming to earth. But it was made very clear that none of this was for public discussion and I was not to dig further into that situation.”
There is also a strange story that told of events at Farnborough in the 1965-1966 period. The account was provided to the late UFO researcher/author Arthur Shuttlewood. It came from the wife of a man who was employed at RAE Farnborough (and, yes, I know that a lack of names in this case is problematic). Shuttlewood was told (and repeated in his book, UFO Magic in Motion): “One day he met me and was unduly quiet. I asked what was the matter and he told me I must not tell anyone.”
As the woman listened, her husband revealed what was troubling him so much. Apparently, unusual radio transmissions had been monitored by staff at Farnborough, the precise origin of which could not be identified. It was clear, however, that the transmissions were some form of “signal” or “language.” Although the signals were never “decoded,” Shuttlewood was told that analysis of the signals had shown they were not human in origin. The man’s wife added to Shuttlewood: “What he told me was a lot more detailed than this. I think he keeps a lot to himself about his true feelings…but something of great importance happened that day they snatched those special signals from space, I feel sure.”