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UFOs in History»
Several points are apparent from Titchmarsh’s memo and the Defensive Press Line. Firstly, her dismissal of Art Wallace/Larry Warren’s account of travelling into the forest by jeep is based upon a misconception that he was referring to the “first night” (26 December), when in fact he was allegedly describing events that took place on the “second night” (27/28 December), the evening that Lt Col Halt and other USAF personnel witnessed phenomena in the forest.
Secondly, the “sighting from the civil aircraft” described by Titchmarsh was made on the evening of 25 December and reported to West Drayton ATC via Heathrow Airport. The aircraft sighting was in fact confirmed by the Suffolk Police when they checked with Air Traffic Control, following the report they received from RAF Bentwaters in the early hours of 26 December. These UFO reports are observations of the re-entry of the Russian satellite Cosmos 749 that occurred at 9.08pm on 25 December and was witnessed by hundreds of people - including several astronomers - over southeastern England. It appears that rumours of this event were overheard by the USAF personnel at Bentwaters who have interpreted the secondhand information as “confirmation” that a UFO was tracked by radar shortly before the sightings in Rendlesham Forest in the early hours of Boxing Day morning.
Thirdly, Titchmarsh makes it clear that no investigation was made by the USAF authorities because the sighting took place on British territory. They followed procedure and passed Halt’s report to the Ministry of Defence, via Bentwater’s RAF commander.
1983 to Present
The remainder of the MOD file consists of correspondence between various incumbents of Secretariat Air Staff 2A and UFOlogists on the subject of the Rendlesham Forest UFO phenomena. Regular correspondents include Jenny Randles, Dot Street and Brenda Butler, the Lancashire-based group OSEAP, Quest International (now ‘UFO’ Magazine) and a number of US researchers including Raymond Fowler.
Throughout the file the MOD maintain a consistent line that the events of 1980 were assessed at the time as having no defence significance. When in 1984 the former head of DS8, Ralph Noyes, contacted his former colleagues to ask for clarification of their position he had to send two reminders before receiving a reply. This delay helped to convince him that there was indeed a cover-up in respect of the Rendlesham incident. The letter Noyes received from Brian Webster at DS8 assured him that:
A similar response was elicited by a former Under Secretary of State for Defence, Merlyn Rees MP who wrote to the Conservative Defence Minister Michael Heseltine MP on behalf of his constituent, UFOlogist Philip Mantle, following the News of the World story in 1983. Heseltine replied on 3 November that:
The most recent MOD briefing on the Rendlesham Forest case, compiled by Nick Pope at Sec (AS) 2a in 1994, repeated Heseltine’s comments that there was no cover-up and added:
Interviewed by Dave Clarke and Andy Roberts in 2001, Nick Pope had abandoned the objective viewpoint he displayed whilst working for the MOD. When asked for his current belief about what happened at Rendlesham he told us: