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The 1954 French flap:

The index page for the 1954 French flap section of this website is here.

May 26, 1954, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône:

Reference number for this case: 26-May-54-Marseille. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


In May, June and August 1954, a "Mr. Ates" produced so-called photos of flying saucers that he sent to the Press of Marseilles.

One of them appeared in the newspaper Le Provençal of Marseille on June 8, 1954, and later appeared in the general magazine Semaine du Monde for October 1-7, 1954.

Le Provençal indicated that Mr. J. Ates, one of their readers, had sent them the photograph which would have been "made by an amateur photographer wishing to remain anonymous" and which had the following information on the back:

"Machine flying over Marseilles, May 26, 1954. Hour: 6.30 p.m., observation duration: three minutes, slightly cloudy weather, huge disk, coming from the east and heading west, going at medium speed, very sudden acceleration and complete disappearance on the horizon in a few split seconds..."

In Semaine du Monde, the version was a bit different since this magazine presented the authors of this photo and other photos as "L. Alyons and J. Ates", "two correspondents of our newspaper".

The photo, visible in this file below, could be the superposition of a photo of the sky and that of a warship.



A flying saucer above Marseille?

They are definitely of topicality, these famous "saucers" reported a little everywhere without the mystery which surrounds them being dissipated. This time, here is a photographic document which relates to them. It was communicated to us by one of our readers, Mr. J. Ates, and it was carried out by a amateur photographer wishing to preserve anonymity. This photo bears at the back the following information:

"Flying craft above Marseille, May 26, 1954. hour: 06:30 p.m., time of observation: three minutes. Slightly covered weather. Enormous disc, coming from the East and speeding in direction of the West, going at an average speed, very sudden acceleration and complete disappearance at the horizon in some split seconds..."

This would be the first photograph of a saucer, if the fact could one day be confirmed scientifically.

[Ref. ben1] ON THE INTERNET:


The comment of the blog where this picture appeared indicates that it was published in "Semaine du Monde" for the week of October 1st to October 7, 1954 #99."

The article is cited as saying about this photograph:

"Thus France, in its turn, will give to the problem a national interest. But already we pour in the file the first photographs taken in France. All three were taken by two correspondents of our newspaper, Misters L. Alyons and J. Ates. The fact that they were photographed in the sky of Marseille does not allow to infer anything as for the nature of the phenomenon."

"That of the left, caught on last May 26, at 06:30 p.m., "enormous, remained fixed at low altitude while making the window of the room vibrate" before fleeing suddenly. In top on the left: June 7, this apparatus lenghtily showed itself to the teleobjective. On the right: August 22, this apparatus, resembling also like a brother to a flying saucer hesitated a long time, sometimes coming down as low as 100 meters and sometimes going up vertically, to land over the hills of Marseilleveyre for the evening pastis. Did the indiference expressed by the residents of Marseille seem suspect to the mysterious travelers?"



Date: 26 May 1954

Time : 18:30

Location: Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône (France)

Format: Picture

Photographer: Unknown (communicated by a Mr. Ates)

Explanation: Not available

References: Le Provençal (Marseille), June 8, 1954. Patrick Gross web site quoting the weekly Semaine du Monde, number 99, October 1-7, 1954. and [Old URL of my file.]

Remarks: Poor information.

[Ref. ubk1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540526 26.05.1954 Marseille France


Not looked for yet.

One American ufologist notes that the silhouette evokes that of a military ship of the corvette or destroyer type, and that the photograph could show water and not the sky.

The silhouette indeed matches for example that of the fast escort ships of "Le Triomphant" type, in use 1954, or some other.

In this class of escort ships, Fantasque, le Malin, le Terrible, le Triomphant, le Chateaurenault, le Guichen, l'Albatros, le Hoche, le Marceau, le Kléber, and le Lorrain were active in 1954. I have le Triumphant in mind because it was decommissionned in December 1954 in Toulon close to Marseille.

I could not locate photographs of this class of ship exactly under the appropriate angle, here is however a photograph of a model kit of "le Terrible":

And a photograph of "le Fantasque":

I then found on April 17, 2008, on a web blog a long collection of articles coming from my own site, not credited and deprived of the links to my corresponding case files, but also among those, the transcription of the article indicated to be of "Semaine du Monde" and the image presented here, which I did not have in my collection.

In this better version, it is obvious that the explanation by a ship does not stand anymore, except in the form of a double-exposure.

The fact that all four "flying saucers pictures" come from the same persons though at four different dates highly suggests that they are all hoaxed.


On June 7, 1954, in Marseille;
On August 9 in Marseille;
On August 27, 1954 in Marseille.


(These keywords are only to help queries and are not implying anything.)

Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, photograph, anonymous, object, craft, weather, disc, cupola, acceleration, duration, L. Alyons, J. Ates, Alyon


[----] indicates sources which I have not yet checked.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross April 17, 2008 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 6, 2010 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version.
1.1 Patrick Gross May 15, 2019 Additions [jbs11], Summary.

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This page was last updated on May 15, 2019.