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Porton Down: From a Secret Facility to a Crashed UFO and Dead Aliens?

Over the years, controversial claims have been made about a highly-classified facility located in Wiltshire, England:  the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). It is better known as Porton Down. Over the years, claims have been made about a connection between Porton Down and UFOs. Before we get to the matter of UFOs, let’s first take a look at Porton Down. Dr. Robert M. Wood’s book, Alien Viruses states: “Although work at Porton Down had originally begun in March 1916, it was not until 1940 that the installation became the central hub of British interest in biological warfare. Following the start of the Second World War, a highly secret and independent group – the Biology Department, Porton – was established by the War Cabinet, with a mandate to investigate the reality of biological warfare and to develop a means of retaliation in the event that biological warfare was utilized against the United Kingdom. By 1946, the name of the wartime group had become the Microbiological Research Department. A decade later, the biological warfare research of Porton Down’s staff had become solely defensive in nature; and in 1957 it was re-named the Microbiological Research Establishment.”

The BBC say: “Porton Down was set up in 1916. It was a center designed to test chemical and biological weapons. Nerve gases such as Sarin and CS gas were tested on volunteer servicemen. Servicemen were offered around £2 and three days leave as an incentive to take part in tests. Very few servicemen knew what they were volunteering for and some were even told it was research into the cure for the common cold. In 1953 it is alleged that serviceman Ronald Maddison died after taking part in a Sarin gas experiment. In 1962, one of Porton Down’s own scientists, Geoffrey Bacon died of the plague. Since the end of WWII, 20,000 people have taken part in experiments at Porton Down.”

Now, let’s get to the UFO angle of Porton Down. It was in January 2001 that the then-retired – and now late – British Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Hill-Norton, decided to get into the Rendlesham Forest controversy – without doubt the most famous “UFO” event in the U.K. Having had an interest in UFOs for decades, he used his considerable clout to try and figure out what occurred in 1980. It was hardly an easy task for Hill-Norton to achieve. Of specific interest to Hill-Norton were the claims of a Rendlesham  connection to the activities of the Porton Down staff. He wanted to know “whether personnel from Porton Down visited Rendlesham Forest or the area surrounding RAF Watton in December 1980 or January 1981; and whether they are aware of any tests carried out in either of those two areas aimed at assessing any nuclear, biological or chemical hazard.” As time progressed, more and more data surfaced and suggested that the “UFO landing” was really a sophisticated hologram-driven experiment designed to determine the extent to which the military personnel in the forest could have their minds meddled. “Mind-control, in other words.

Berwyn Mountains

Of course, most people in Ufology don’t want to hear one of their most famous cases destroyed. Too bad. Now, let’s jump back to 1974. Andy Roberts states in his book UFO Down!: “In 1958 Gavin Gibbons wrote a children’s science-fiction novel By Space Ship to the Moon,which featured a UFO landing on Moel Sych in the Berwyn Mountains of North Wales. Sixteen years later, in a surreal case of life imitating art, those very same mountains would again be the focus for a story involving a downed UFO. But this time, some said, the story was for real.” Indeed, there have been claims for years of a crashed UFO on the mountains. Not only that, in 1996 an anonymous soldier came forward, claiming to know that the remains of dead aliens were held at Porton Down. Of course, this has not been confirmed. But, we do have the fascinating story of a man named Robert Bolton.”

I first interviewed Bolton by phone, and then met him in person, in Norwich, England, in 2000. He told me: “I spent thirty years in the Royal Air Force as an aircraft engineer. I had various postings, including at Akrotiri in Cyprus, RAF Honnington, and at RAF Valley in North Wales from 1971 to 1974. My wife and her family came from Corwen. At the time that the thing on the Berwyns happened, they lived up on the side of the mountain and her mom still lives there to this day. Corwen is part of the Berwyn range. From where their house is, if you walk up the path that goes behind the houses up and onto the top of the mountains, you’re talking perhaps a mile and a quarter away from where it all occurred; so it’s not very far away at all.

“She still remembers what happened on the night of 23 January. She said to me when I spoke to her about it just recently: ‘I saw aircraft and heard aircraft shot down during the Blitz and it was like an aircraft coming down, but the sound was louder, bigger, heavier that anything you could imagine to do with an aircraft.’ They didn’t know what it was. They heard the noise first of all and ran out into the road. They weren’t the only ones: all their neighbors ran out as well. It got louder and louder and louder and they couldn’t see anything in the sky but then they felt the impact where the houses shook and she had things fall off the mantle-piece in the house.

“It was my wife’s dad, who told me the story about bodies being found on the mountain. His name was Harold Smith. But everyone called him Mick. He had a full-time job with Vauxhall at Elsmere Port; he was a local councilor and was also a part-time Sub-Fire Officer at Corwen. One day we got talking and got on to the subject of UFOs and he said to me: ‘Oh, well, you obviously don’t know about the incident up on the Berwyn Mountains.’ “I first heard the story from him around 1976. At that time he only told me that bodies had been brought down from the mountain and didn’t say anything more. Nothing about who brought them down or where they were taken. But from 1979 to 1982 I was posted to Germany and Mick and my wife’s mother came out to stay for a month and it was here that he told us a lot more.

“I remember that the information that he told us had apparently come from another person in the North Wales Fire Service whose son was in the Army. But it’s not surprising that he would have been told: Mick was a well-respected man and knew people throughout the North Wales Fire Service including at Bala and Wrexham. Mick told me that while the police weren’t involved, the Army was – heavily. I can’t give you an exact date when they visited and he told us this, but it was definitely between 1979 and 1982. He said that there were definitely [trucks] from Porton Down at the scene; that there was a lozenge-shaped object on the mountainside; and that bodies were taken off the mountain and driven to Porton. And to this day, his wife can also confirm that Mick told her the story about Porton Down and bodies too – either in the late 1970s or the early 1980s [italics mine].”

Robert signed off: “I do remember Mick saying that when he had first told me this story in 1976, he didn’t know that it was the Army who had taken the bodies off the mountain and he didn’t know at the time that they’d been taken to Porton Down. So he must have learned that between 1976 and when he came to see us in Germany.” Dead aliens at Porton Down? A Rendlesham Forest connection to Porton Down? All we have right now are rumors. Maybe, things are destined to stay like that. On the other hand, though, just perhaps something incredible might one day surface.

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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