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When UFOs and Top Secret Experiments Cross the Same Paths

One of the most important revelations in the Rendlesham Forest “UFO landing” of December 1980 concerns the locations of where the monumental events happened. I’m actually not talking about Rendlesham Forest. Rather, I’m talking about the surrounding locales and their mysterious histories. And why do I consider it my duty to bring your attention to those same surroundings? I’ll tell you: it’s vital to note that for decades the entire area around those famous woods acted as a powerful magnet for classified government programs, sensitive military operations, and top secret projects. They were all of a highly important – but down to earth and domestic – nature. On January 28, 1935, the Tizard Committee, established under the directorship of Sir Henry Tizard, convened its first meeting. It ultimately led to the top secret development of a workable radar system of the type that was employed in the Second World War. In an article titled “The Tizard Mission and the Development of the Atomic Bomb,” David Zimmerman says:

“In August 1940 Sir Henry Tizard led a group of British scientists and technical experts to North America. Over the next four months, the members of the Tizard or British Technical Mission undertook one of the greatest transfers of technical and scientific information in history. In over 150 meetings with American military, technical, and scientific experts the mission provided almost all of Great Britain’s military technical secrets to the United States. The United States reciprocated in kind.” Much of that highly classified research was conducted at Bawdsey Manor on the Deben Estuary. It’s just north of the town of Felixstowe, and a mere stone’s throw from what were, for so many years, the military bases of Royal Air Force Bentwaters and Royal Air Force Woodbridge.

The alternative cover to my book on the Rendlesham Forest affair of 1980

To understand the wider scope of this part of the story, we must address one of the strangest – and one of the most enduring – stories from the Second World War. Arguably, it has become a legend; a most grim and grisly one, too. It concerns a small village in Suffolk called Shingle Street. It is located in between the aforementioned Bawdsey and Orford. As the Guardian newspaper says: “Shingle Street itself has been the subject of fevered speculation ever since it was evacuated in 1940. Conspiracies include rumors of a German landing and a shoreline littered with burning bodies, schemes to protect the coastline with an impenetrable barrage of flames and the testing of experimental chemical bombs. Four dead German airmen were certainly washed up on the beach, and weapons testing did result in the Lifeboat Inn being blown up. As for the rest, the conspiracy theories rumble on.”

The BBC, too, has addressed the matter of what did, or what didn’t, happen at Shingle Street all those decades ago: “A World War II mystery over a ‘failed Nazi invasion’ at a remote beach in Suffolk may have been manufactured by Britain’s head of propaganda, a BBC documentary suggests. The BBC East Inside Out team investigated the events of 1940 at Shingle Street. The program suggested that Sefton Delmer, a former Daily Express journalist who – during the Second World War – organized Britain’s ‘black’ propaganda unit, could have spread rumors of a failed Nazi invasion to boost morale. The rumors may have even been used to cover up the loss of lives on a British naval destroyer. Since 1940 there have been continuing rumors of a sea on fire and a failed invasion attempt at Shingle Street, near Woodbridge, Suffolk [italics mine]. Mike Paintin said that his father, a soldier during World War II, told how he was called out to pick up dead bodies from Shingle Street. ‘My father and the rest of his colleagues were called out to pull bodies from the sea,’ he said. ‘‘The common link was that they were all in German uniforms and were all badly burned.'”

(Nick Redfern)

Then, just a few years later – specifically in 1943 – much of Rendlesham Forest was cleared to allow for the construction of the highly strategic RAF Woodbridge. The forest suffered even more devastation on October 15-16, 1987. That was when a huge amount of damage was caused to the woods: they, and significant other parts of the U.K., were hit by the almost unfathomable power of a massive, destructive cyclone. I was working and living in Harlow, Essex, England at the time, as a van-driver, and got to see the terrible destruction up close. It took years for the forest to recover. We’ll now take a look at a place called Orford Ness and what went happened there in the 1950s. The U.K.’s National Trust state: “The 1950s saw the construction of specialized facilities to exploit new post-war technologies such as nuclear power. AWRE [Atomic Weapons Research Establishment] Orford Ness was one of only a few sites in the U.K., and indeed the world, where purpose-built facilities were created for testing the components of nuclear weapons. At the height of the Cold War AWRE and the Royal Aircraft Establishment used Orford Ness for developmental work on the atomic bomb.”

Moving onto the 1960s, there is the following from the Trust: “In 1968 work started on the top secret Anglo-American System 441A ‘over-the-horizon’ (OTH) backscatter radar project, finally code-named ‘Cobra Mist.’ The Anglo-American project, whose main contractor was the Radio Corporation of America, was set up to carry out several ‘missions.’ including detection and tracking of aircraft, detection of missile and satellite vehicle launchings, fulfilling intelligence requirements and providing a research and development test-bed…” All of this makes me think: if so many secret experiments were undertaken near Rendlesham Forest, then why shouldn’t the famous “UFO landing” of 1980 have been a classified project, too?

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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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