Feb 15, 2023 I Nick Redfern

Anomalous Small "Objects" in the Sky Are Nothing New: Here's More Than a Few From the U.K.

With all the unknown small objects flying around, I thought I woud share some cases with you. So, let's get started. Here's the first case. April 13, 1964. At around 8:40 p.m. on the night in question, bus-driver Bob Fall was driving alongside the River Lea in the town of Walthamstow, England when his attention was drawn to a fast-moving aerial object that barely missed his bus as it plunged into the depths of the river. He said: “I just glanced into the sky and saw something coming towards me very, very fast. It flew straight across the road and, had I been a few yards further forward, it would have hit the top deck of the bus. At first I thought the back windows of the bus had come in and, as I turned around, I saw all the passengers looking out towards the river. There was a big splash in the water. I stopped as soon as I could to report it. The thing was at least nine feet long, cigar-shaped and silver,” he insisted. “If it had been a bird or birds I [would] have seen the wings. Besides, it was going too fast.” As a result of the media publicity afforded this event, a British UFO investigator, Ronald Caswell of Harlow, Essex, looked into the case and uncovered a wealth of data that had been almost completely overlooked by his contemporaries. His notes state:            

“I have a piece of one of the telephone wires broken by the object. A newspaper shows great coils of it on the towpath. The police spokesman’s suggestion that a duck, or even four ducks, could have broken those wires is ridiculous. Neither could a swan. The length of the wire across the river would have moved away at the pressure of a plummeting bird, and the bird would certainly have been badly injured, if not killed.” Notably, Caswell also said that he learned “…when it was late enough for the general public to have cleared off, heavy lifting equipment was brought in and a find was made in the early hours of the morning.” What that “find” was, has never been disclosed. Now, to another case of the "object" type. 

(Nick Redfern) The U.K. National Archives, where the UFO files are kept.

January 4, 1965: “We have drawn a blank”: In the early part of 1996, the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) declassified under the terms of the Government’s “Thirty Year Ruling” (legislation designed to ensure that all documents, regardless of classification, were withheld from public scrutiny for a minimum of 30 years) a file that detailed a variety of UFO reports that the MoD received during 1965. Contained within the file was an 11-page report concerning an unidentified object that was seen to come down in the vicinity of March, Cambridgeshire, England on January 5, 1965. A man named Max Beran, one of those who witnessed the descent of the object, quickly wrote to the Meteorological Office Unit (MOU) at Huntington Road, Cambridge. Beran stated: “Whilst in the sunlight it remained visible, giving the appearance of a curved object. Perhaps a parachute, but I would have thought too fast for that. Before falling too low to be visible in the low sun it appeared to be falling to a point perhaps a mile or two Southeast of the town center from where I was watching. What could the falling object have been?”

The Senior Meteorological Officer at Cambridge immediately contacted his headquarters at Braknell, Berkshire, regarding Beran’s letter. Recognizing that this was a matter for the Ministry of Defense, Braknell prepared a one-page memorandum for the MoD outlining the facts. The MoD quickly swung into action. According to a one-page handwritten note contained within the file, the police at March had been directed by the MoD to look into the matter. “[The police] sent a car out to look for the object in the vicinity of the ‘Sixteen Root Drain’ but without success,” stated the note. The MoD also put numerous questions to a host of other official departments as it sought to locate and identify the UFO, including the Royal Navy, the Ministry of Aviation, and various civil aviation bodies. Whatever the object was, the MoD claimed, it was not a piece of military hardware. “Things which may on occasion fall from aircraft include external fuel tanks, drag-chutes, cockpit canopies, access panels on doors, and sometimes accumulations of ice,” the MoD informed Max Beran. “We have looked carefully into all these possibilities so far as our own aircraft are concerned, but have drawn a blank.”

Number 3: January 6, 1995: Collision course!“A close encounter between a British Airways jet with 60 passengers on board and an illuminated, triangular-shaped, unidentified flying object at 13,000 feet above the Pennines is under formal investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority,” stated the Times newspaper on February 2, 1995.The incident had actually taken place on January 6, 1995, as Captain Roger Wills and co-pilot Mark Stuart began their descent towards Manchester Airport, England, in a Boeing 737 twin jet. Seventeen minutes before touchdown, all was normal until a mysterious object flashed past the right-hand side of the aircraft at a distance described as being “very close.” So close, that the crew actually “ducked down” in their seats as the object sped past them. An immediate check with air traffic control at Ringway revealed that nothing had been picked up on radar, save for the 737 itself.

Anticipating ridicule, the crew of flight BA 5601 did not report the incident to their colleagues; however, British Airways management was ultimately advised of what had occurred. In line with set procedures, a full report, complete with sketches of the UFO, was sent to the Joint Air Miss Working Group, a part of the Civil Aviation Authority. A CAA spokesperson said that any suggestion that the object had been a UFO was “purely speculative,” adding that the investigation could last up to six months. The spokesperson told the press: “A very small proportion of near-miss situations involving untraced aircraft remain unresolved.” This was one of those “unresolved” ones.

February 5, 1986: An unexplained encounter in the skies: A brief UK Ministry of Defense document reveals the salient data on a UFO encounter involving a highly respectable source, an airline pilot who sighted a UFO in the airspace of Ireland. The report states: “5 Feb 86 5427N 0530W – Bright light passed upwards in front of A/C. A/C was crossing east coast of Ireland on descent. Light travelled towards A/C from a 2.30 position range approx. 11/2 miles and passed 1000 feet above travelling right to left 1 mile ahead. Burst of green light observed at peak of its ballistic flight. A/C ht [height] 1450 ft. CAA closure – possibly flare fired at about time of OCC by Aldergrove. Pilot considered this unlikely but no other explanation has emerged.”

(Nick Redfern) Who knows the truth of the objects?

June 12, 1982: A 500-foot-long UFO: A public service corporation, the Civil Aviation Authority was established by the British Parliament in 1972 as a specialist aviation regulator and provider of air traffic services. Following its separation from the National Air Traffic Services in 2001, the CAA became the U.K.’s independent aviation regulator, with all civil aviation functions (such as economic regulations; airspace policy; safety regulations; and consumer protection) integrated within a single, unified body. The CAA has declassified into the public domain a number of documents that tell of extraordinary encounters with UFOs, as the following, startling extract demonstrates: “12 Jun 82 Dinkelsbuhi – Large translucent object 500 feet long at 41,000 feet. ATCC [Air Traffic Control Center] requested subject aircraft to investigate this object which was found to have the form of a double rectangle surmounted by a globe (egg shape) crowned by a silver cone. Object observed by all on board.” The strange saga of this absolutely huge UFO was never figured out.

August 18, 1983: A Spotted UFO: “18 Aug 83 Florence – Unidentified flying object seen by crew. Large black object, balloon shaped with large white spot on it, observed 10 NM SE of Firenza. No attachments to object. SUPP. INFO.: Italian CAA replied no met [meteorological] balloon could possibly have been present at the indicated place or time.” Prepared by the staff of the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority in the summer of 1983, this particular report, although brief, clearly demonstrates something very unusual was seen in the skies of Florence. Precisely what was seen, however, remains unknown. Here's another: August 21, 1986: A cigar-shaped UFO and an official document. The following is extracted from a notable file on UFOs prepared by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority in the 1980s: “21 Aug 86 Belgrade – Non UK Airmiss missile type object passed 500 ft above on reciprocal track A/C heading 290 MAG at FL 390. Object was black, cigar shaped, without wings. Belgrade radar informed on RTF. CAA closure – foreign authority advised.”

And, finally: February 9, 1962: A flying saucer and engine trouble. In February 1962, an employee of the UK Royal Air Force Police – one Sergeant C.J. Perry – was ordered to investigate a then-recent, extraordinary UFO report. The documentation prepared by Perry is now in the public domain. It tells an intriguing story: “At Aylesbury on 16th February 1962, at 1530 hrs., I visited the Civil Police and requested information on an alleged ‘Flying Saucer’ incident. I was afforded every facility by the Civil Police authorities and although no official report had been made, details of the incident were recorded in the Station Occurrence book. “The details are as follows: Mr. Ronald Wildman of Luton, a car collection driver, was traveling along the Aston Clinton road at about 0330 hrs. on 9th February 1962 when he came upon an object like a hovercraft flying approximately 30 feet above the road surface. As he approached he was traveling at 40 mph but an unknown force slowed him down to 20 mph over a distance of 400 yrd., then the object suddenly flew off.

(Nick Redfern)  UFOs? Drones? Balloons?

“He described the object as being about 40 feet wide, oval in shape with a number of small portholes around the bottom edge. It emitted a fluorescent glow but was otherwise not illuminated. Mr. Wildman reported the incident to a police patrol who notified the Duty Sergeant, Sergeant Schofield. A radio patrol car was dispatched to the area but no further trace of the ‘Flying Saucer’ was seen. It was the opinion of the local police that the report by Mr. Wildman was perfectly genuine and the experience was not a figment of imagination. They saw that he was obviously shaken.“I spoke to Sergeant Schofield and one of the Constables to whom the incident was reported. Both were convinced that Mr. Wildman was genuinely upset by his experience.”

February 23, 1975: A spiky UFO: Mavis Allen had a very strange encounter on a particular morning in 1975, in an area of woodland in central England. As Mavis walked her dog through woods near the town of Rugeley, she was amazed to see a circular, black-colored object rolling along the ground in front of her. It was around six feet in circumference and had four protrusions (that Allen referred to as “spikes”) that stuck out from equal points around the middle. Allen stopped in amazement as the object rose slowly and silently, to a height of around fifteen feet and which then shot away at a fast pace. 

May 1, 1994:  A “Boomerang” attracts official, secret attention: Under the terms of the UK Freedom of Information Act, the following, brief extract from a much longer, and still withheld, file offers the following, tantalizing insight: “1 May 1994 – Sighting of unusual object. Member of public reported seeing a black boomerang-shaped object, which appeared to hover over RAF Northolt, above 30,000 feet, before tumbling approx 2000-3000 feet, while rotating through 180 degrees on its axis. No other reports of anything unusual received – possibly A/C in Bovingdon stack seen from odd angle in setting sun.” What all of this tells us is that reports in the skies of our world, concerning mainly small objects, is nothing new at all. Of course, none of these "things" can be said to military craft, unknown objects or alien spacecraft. Yet, what we're saying now was being done decades ago.

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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