Rendlesham: Analysis> [prev ¦1 ¦ 2 ¦ 3 ¦ 4 ¦ 5 ¦ 6 ¦ 7 ¦ 8 ¦ 9 ¦ next]


The Rendlesham File Part 3

SKYCRASH - the MOD and the News of the World

The MOD file contains a considerable amount of correspondence between officers at DS8 and Jenny Randles, who was in 1981-84 Director of Investigations for the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA). Jenny, along with BUFORA investigators Dot Street and Brenda Butler, were instrumental in bringing the Rendlesham forest events to the attention of the UFOlogy and the media.

In October 1982 Jenny Randles published a round-up of what was then known about the events in the popular newstand part-work The Unexplained. Soon afterwards, the US science magazine OMNI published another version of the rumours provided exclusively by Col Halt’s boss, USAF Colonel Ted Conrad. These revelations prompted Squadron Leader Donald Moreland to write to DS8 on 25 October warning them of the impending firestorm approaching:

“...a week ago I was approached by two women who claimed to be UFO investigators [Dot Street and Brenda Butler], but I refused to confirm or deny their claims. A week ago I was telephoned from New York by a Mr Eric Mischare from Omnie [sic] magazine. He asked me questions about an article in a British UFO Magazine [the unexplained]. He claimed he was a serious UFO investigator and wanted to write an objective article about the incident. I told him that whoever wrote the article he described to me must have had a vivid imagination.”

Moreland added: “I now anticipate a flood of enquiries and would be grateful for some guidance on MOD policy on UFOs.”

On 9 November Peter Watkins - Pam Titchmarsh’s predecessor at DS8 - responded to Moreland's plea providing the standard MOD line on UFOs. In connection with the Benwaters report, Watkins suggested that Moreland adopt the following position if questioned by the Press:

“...I understand that MOD did receive a report from base personnel of a UFO sighting near RAF Bentwaters on 27 December 1980. The report was dealt with in accordance with the normal procedure [MOD standard policy on UFOs]; it was not considered to indicate anything of defence interest. There was no question of any contact with ‘alien beings.’”

Watkins was more concerned about Jenny Randles’ speculative remarks in The Unexplained that the UFO story from Rendlesham may have been spread as a deliberate cover for the crash of an aircraft carrying a nuclear device or the secret testing of military hardware. Both issues were highly sensitive ones during the early 1980s when the US base at Greenham Common was the centre of a on-going campaign by CND. Moreland was told that “[we] would not expect ‘UFOlogists’ to pursue either of these angles any further; if they do I suggest you refer them to us.” Amusingly, he added the following comment: “I hope this is helpful to you and that Bentwaters does not become East Anglia's answer to Warminster.”

The articles in The Unexplained and OMNI were just the beginning. During the spring of 1983, Pam Titchmarsh wrote to Wing Commander John Davies, the RAF liaison officer responsible for US 3rd Air Force at Mildenhall, asking him:

“[to] seek the views of the USAF to disclosure of that report [the Halt memo] or a sanitised version of it. If the USAF would only be prepared to allow release of a sanitised version it would be helpful to know which parts they would wish me to delete. In addition I would be grateful to know whether the USAF would be willing for me to say that they did investigate the incident.”

Wing Commander Davies replied on 18 May 1983 saying it would be “some little time” before they could get a decision on the release of Halt's report from the USAF. “In fact, the decision to allow the release might have to come from the Secretary of State for Defence’s office particularly if any security or intelligence implications are read into the reported sighting.”

By June a decision had clearly been taken as a result of high level discussions between the RAF and USAF at Mildenhall. Documents relating to this period may be among the five that the MOD are continuing to with-hold. On 14 June 1983 Peter W. Bent of USAF released a copy of Halt’s report to researchers in the US, noting that “the Air Force copy had been properly disposed of in accordance with Air Force Regulations. Fortunately, through diligent inquiry and the gracious consent of Her Majesty's government, the British Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force, the US Air Force was provided a copy for you.”

Pam Titchmarsh was later to deny that the copy of Halt’s memo supplied by the USAF under the FOIA came from the Ministry of Defence. It is therefore probable that the copy came from the base files at Mildenhall or Bentwaters-Woodbridge. »

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