Jan 24, 2023 I Nick Redfern

Reasons Why Aliens DIDN'T Land in Rendlesham Forest, U.K., in December 1980

One of the most important UFO-themed document of all is the "Halt Memo," created by Charles Halt of the U.S. Air Force. To understand exactly what occurred in the woods on those fateful nights, it’s important that we go back to the beginning: (a) the events themselves; and (b) a near-legendary memo on the incidents that was carefully prepared by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt. At the time, he was the Deputy Base Commander at RAF Bentwaters. On January 13, 1981, Halt prepared the following report; it was sent to the U.K. Ministry of Defense (MoD) for scrutiny. It gives a fairly brief – but certainly detailed – account of what happened: "1.  Early in the morning of 27 Dec 80 (approximately 0300L) two USAF security police patrolmen saw unusual lights outside the back gate at RAF Woodbridge. Thinking an aircraft might have crashed or been forced down, they called for permission to go outside the gate to investigate. The on-duty flight chief responded and allowed three patrolmen to proceed on foot. The individuals reported seeing a strange glowing object in the forest. The object was described as being metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, approximately two to three meters across the base and approximately two meters high. It illuminated the entire forest with a white light. The object itself had a pulsing red light on top and a bank(s) of blue lights underneath. The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen approached the object, it maneuvered through the trees and disappeared. At this time the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy. The object was briefly sighted approximately an hour later near the back gate."

(Nick Redfern) Human scientists in hazmats or aliens/time-travelers?

Document 2 continues  "The next day, three depressions 1.5 inches deep and 7 inches in diameter were found where the object had been sighted on the ground. The following night (29 Dec 80) the area was checked for radiation. Beta/gamma readings of 0.1 milliroentgens were recorded with peak readings in the three depressions and near the center of the triangle formed by the depressions. A nearby tree had moderate (0.05–0.07) readings on the side of the tree toward the depressions." And there is part 3: "Later in the night a red sun-like light was seen through the trees. It moved about and pulsed. At one point it appeared to throw off glowing particles and then broke into five separate white objects and then disappeared. Immediately thereafter, three star-like objects were noticed in the sky, two objects to the north and one to the south, all of which were about 10 degrees off the horizon. The objects moved rapidly in sharp, angular movements and displayed red, green and blue lights. The objects to the north appeared to be elliptical through an 8-12 power lens. They then turned to full circles. The objects to the north remained in the sky for an hour or more. The object to the south was visible for two or three hours and beamed down a stream of light from time to time. Numerous individuals, including the undersigned, witnessed the activities in paragraphs 2 and 3. Charles I. Halt, Lt Col, USAF, Deputy Base Commander."

(Nick Redfern) Part of the old Royal Air Force Benwaters base.

One of the most important revelations in this overall story concerns the locations of where the monumental events happened. I’m actually not talking about Rendlesham Forest. At least, right now I’m not. 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.” 

Most pertinent to this article, 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. 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. 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.’” 

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 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…”

We’re still not done with the classified, government programs in the area. From the early 1970s to the start of the 1990s, an astonishing number of scientists and technicians who were employed by a certain, powerful company died in ways that were deemed by the U.K.’s media – and some notable figures in government too – to be deeply suspicious. Some of those who lost their lives worked on U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative program – or “Star Wars,” as it was famously nicknamed. As for that company, it was the Marconi Electronic Systems, but which, today, exists as a part of BAE Systems Electronics Limited. Its work includes the development of futuristic weaponry and spy-satellite technology. Of the many who were found dead under dubious and disturbing ways, one was Jonathan Wash. At the time of his death, Wash was working for British Telecom – that had deep connections to Marconi. In 1985, Wash died after falling, or having been pushed, from a window in a hotel room in Ivory Coast, West Africa. It’s notable that Wash had suspicions leading up to his death that he was being spied on: watched and followed in a clandestine way. He shared his concerns with his family and friends, but it was all too late. Notably, the British Telecom facility that Wash worked at was a top secret research facility at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk. There is a reason why I make mention of Wash’s place of employment, as you’ll see now.

(Nick Redfern) The U.K. Ministry of Defense; a key organization in the incident.

Geographically speaking, let me put all of the above into a shocking perspective for you: the distance from Martlesham Heath to Rendlesham Forest is only 11.3 miles. The journey from Shingle Street to the forest is, at its shortest, only 7.6 miles. A trip from those woods to Bawdsey amounts to less than ten miles. How far might Orford Ness be from Rendlesham Forest? I’ll tell you: just 7.1 miles. All of this tells us something most important. Against a pleasant veneer of old villages, inviting hamlets, ancient woods, and the atmospheric Orford Castle – which was built in the 12th century and that still stands tall to this day – the entire area surrounding Rendlesham Forest has, for decades, been an absolute melting pot for top secret activity of the U.K. government. Conspiracies, classified radar-based operations, top secret weapons-development programs, claims of Nazis fried to the bone, and maybe even state-sponsored murder for multiple Marconi scientists and technicians are all parts of the story. None of it, however, had a link to UFOs. As we end this article I will leave you with a thought-provoking question: with just about the entire area having been secretly used by the government and the military for decades, then why shouldn’t that very same area have been chosen for what happened in Rendlesham Forest in December 1980? I say that this location was chosen and was used –in reckless ways. As has been demonstrated, the higher echelons of U.K. officialdom have skillfully maneuvered their secret ways around the Suffolk landscape very well - and for more than eighty years.

Many of you may not go with the scenario I present in this article; but the fact is that there are, indeed, very good reasons as to why we should look further into the "secret experiment" angle of the Rendlesham Forest affair and discard the extraterrestrial/time-travel angle.  

Nick Redfern

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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