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The 1954 French flap:

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

January 7, 1954, Dieppe, Seine-Maritime:

Reference number for this case: 7-Jan-54-Dieppe. Thank you for including this reference number in any correspondence with me regarding this case.

Reports:

[Ref. of1:] "OUEST FRANCE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

A fireball explodes
in the Dieppe sky

DIEPPE, 7. - This morning, between 4:30 a.m. and 5:15 a.m., nearly 70 dockers of the Dieppe harbor saw in the sky a blinding gleam [sic], followed four minutes later of a tremendous explosion that opened a large number of doors and broke the windows of the houses in the city.

Most of the Dieppe residents were awakened by the deafening noise. It does not seem that this may be an hallucination because testimonies are numerous and agree on almost all points. Only some discrepancies among the witnesses are recorded in regard to the direction of the light; which according to some came from the north, and for some others from the west.

The mail car that ensures the traffic between Dieppe and Rouen was around the first of these two towns when the light occurred. But according to the two occupants of the vehicle, the explosion would have occurred eight minutes after the glow.

The Dieppe semaphore contacted that of Fécamp and those of all the small harbors along the coast. All agree to say that the phenomenon was seen in these points. However, the semaphore of Le Havre did not notice anything.

However, several witnesses from the Mailleraye locality at about 80 kilometers south of Dieppe, are adamant that they saw the glow coming from the Dieppe area.

This morning, a railways employee took his duty at the station of Orchies (Nord) and saw a disc of fire that moved horizontally at a dizzying speed. A luminous trail followed the glowing disc in its path.

The same phenomenon was seen at about the same time in Arras (Pas-de-Calais). A witness said he saw the disc motionless in the sky for a moment. But he did not have time to contemplate it. It immediately resumed its course and disappeared over the horizon.

Finally, it should be emphasized that about a week ago, a fishing boat arrived at Dieppe all riddled with small holes that might have been caused by a fireball.

The Institute of Astrophysics of Paris believes, however, that the phenomenon was no other than a meteor. The very hour that made this observation - shortly before sunrise - concurs to support this opinion [!]. But, they add, such explosions are not very rare, and one was able to record many others of them across the globe.

We know that the fireballs are bodies whose origin and composition are unclear and that, moving in the sky extremely quickly, warm up when they come to meet the Earth's atmosphere because of the resistance thereof. Then they become incandescent.

Sometimes they go without other signs than a luminous trail. Sometimes they break silently, sometimes noisily. It also happens that they fall to the earth's surface, whole or fragmented: this is the origin of fireballs falls.

[Ref. lp1:] "LE PROVENCAL" NEWSPAPER:

A mysterious craft explodes in the sky of Dieppe

DIEPPE (A.F.P.).
Yesterday morning, between 4:30 and 05:15 nearly 70 dockers of the Dieppe harbor saw in the sky a blinding gleam followed, four minutes later, of a formidable explosion which opened very many doors and broke the windows of the houses of the city.

Most of the Dieppe residents were awaked by this deafening noise. It does not seem that it can be an hallucination for testimonys are very numerous and agree on almost all the points. Only certain divergences are recorded among the witnesses with regard to the direction of the gleam which, according to the ones, came from the North and according to the others, from the West.

The mail van which ensures the traffic between Dieppe and Rouen was around the first of these two cities at the time when the gleam occurred. But, according to the two occupants of this vehicle, the explosion occurred only eight minutes after the gleam.

Wintnesses are categorical

The semaphore of Dieppe was put in relation to that of Fécamp and those of all the small habors of the seaside. All agree to state that the phenomenon was seen in these various points. On the other hand the semaphore of Le Havre did not notice anything.

However, several witnesses from Mailleraye, localised approximately 80 kilometers approximately in the south-east of Dieppe, and at Serqueux, village at 50 kilometers in the south-east of Dieppe, are categorical: they saw the gleam which came from the direction of Dieppe.

Lastly, it is necessary to stress that one week ago approximately, a small fishing boat arrived in Dieppe very sifted of small pieces which may come from an aerolite.

One loses oneself for the moment in conjectures about the nature of this strange phenomenon.

Same phenomenon in Orchies-en-Arras

Lille (A.F.P).
Yesterday morning, at 04:27, a railroad worker which took his service in the station of Orchies, saw in the sky a disc of fire which moved horizontally at a vertiginous speed. A luminous trail followed the reddish disc in its trajectory.

The same phenomenon was seen about the same hour in Arras. A witness stated to have seen the disc motionless one moment in the sky, but he did not have the time to contemplate it. It began again its race immediately and disappeared at the horizon.

[Ref. fa1:] "FEUILLE D'AVIS DE NEUFCHATEL" NEWSPAPER:

Scan

A mysterious phenomenon in Dieppe

Is it the fall of an aerolite?

Dieppe 8 AFP - A mysterious phenomenon occurred Thursday morning, between 3:30 and 4, in Dieppe. A dazzling gleam seen in particular by 70 dockers, was followed at the end of a few minutes by a formidable explosion which opened many doors and broke several windows in the city; the majority of the resident were suddenly awaken.

The semaphore of Dieppe contacted those of all the small harbors of the coastline. It was noted thus that the phenomenon had been also perceived by their residents, but that the semaphore of Le Havre did not observe anything.

Many testimonies were collected: while they diverge in their details, they all confirm the event on the origin of which one is lost in conjectures.

Some relate it with the fact that a small fishing boat returned in Dieppe, one week ago approximately, entirely punctured with very small pieces which could have come from an aerolite.

(Continued on page 7)

Scan

A mysterious phenomenon in Dieppe

(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1)

Other witnesses, Dieppe peasants who went early to the market, reported that at the time of the explosion it was clear as in full daylight during nearly twenty seconds.

Others still stated that the projected light came from a ball whose apparent diameter was appreciably equal to half of that of the moon, and whichmoved from East to West. They add that immediately after the explosion, a fall of snow occurred.

These last testimonies suggest that we are in the presence of a purely meteoric phenomenon. In this respect, the institute of astrophysics of Paris estimates that it is very probable that it was a fireball.

Such explosions, it is stressed, are not very rare. The bolides, that their passage in the Earth's atmosphere overheats, become incandescent and burst sometimes with a crashing sound. Other times, they explode "silently" or fall in one piece on the surface of the Earth: this is the origin of the falls of aerolites.

[Ref. af1:] USAF PROJECT BLUE BOOK, ALEXANDER MEBANE, AFP:

AI-F-

Dieppe, France, Jan. 7, 1954

Dieppe Jan. 7 (AFP) -- A mysterious phenomenon took place at Dieppe between 3:30 and 4 a.m. this morning (Greenwioh Mean Time). A dazzling light, noticed particularly by 70 Longshoremen, was followed some minutes later by an explosion which jarred open numerous doors and blew out several windows in the town, and awakened most of the townspeople with a start. The Dieppe semaphore (Coast Guard Station?) queried those of the smaller ports of the coast, and found that the phenomenon had also been noticed by them, with the exception of the Havre semaphore, which observed nothing. Numerous accounts were collected; although they differed in detail, all confirmed the event, whose origin is a matter of conjecture. Some drew a correlation with the fact that a fishing boat returned to Dieppe, about a week ago, all punctured by little splinters that might have come from an aerolite.

(Transl. by A. Mebane)

[Ref. re1:] REUTERS PRESS RELEASE:

DIEPPE, FRANCE, Jan, 7, 1954 (Reuters) -- A powerful explosion rocked this port early today, shattering windows, blasting open doors and waking most of the inhabitants.

The explosion was preceded by a blinding flash in the sky.

Some people said the explosion came four minutes after the flash. Some said eight minutes. They also differed on the direction. It was seen 50 miles away.

A railwayman at Orchies, near the belgian border, said he saw a fiery disc in the sky at great speed about the time of the Dieppe explosion.

[Ref. ci1:] CIA:

CLASSIFICATION [Blackened out]

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
INFORMATION FROM
FOREIGN DOCUMENTS OR RADIO BROACASTS

  REPORT NO. 00-W-29903
  CO NO.: ..
COUNTRY: Denmark, Dahomey (French West Africa), France, Sweden, West Germany, Pakistan, Union of South Africa   DATE OF INFORMATION: 1953-1954
SUBJET: Military; Scientific - Unidentified flying objects  
HOW PUBLISHED: Daily newspaper   DATE DIST.: 20 Apr 1954
WHERE PUBLISHED: As indicated   NO. OF PAGES: 4
DATE PUBLISHED: 2 Nov 1953 - 27 Jan 1954  
LANGUAGES: French, German, Afrikaans, Swedish   SUPPLEMENT TO REPORT NO.:
[Blackened out] [Blackened out]   THIS IS UNEVALUATED INFORMATION
SOURCE: As indicated  

SIGHTINGS OF UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS

[... (Reports from other countries and France) ...]

EXPLOSION IN SKY BREAKS WINDOWS AT DIEPPE -- Stockholm, Dagens Nyheter, 8 Jan 54

Paris (TT-AFP) -- Inhabitants of Dieppe were awakened early on the morning of 7 January by a loud crash, accompanied by a dazzling light in the sky. The explosion was so powerful that doors were thrown ajar and many window panes were broken.

Up to now, no explanation for the phenomenon has been found. A railwayman in Orchies, near the Belgian frontier, claims that at about the same time as the explosion he saw a luminous flying saucer cross the sky at a very great speed.

[... (Next reports)]

[Ref. vm1:] "VAR-MATIN - REPUBLIQUE" NEWSPAPER:

In the sky of Dieppe

Gleam four minutes after a terrible explosion

It is said it is a bolide...

Dieppe, January 7. -- This morning, between 04:30 and 05:15, nearly 70 dockers of the Dieppe Harbour saw in the sky, a dazzling gleam followed four minutes later by a formidable explosion which opened numerous doors and broke several windows of the houses of the city.

Most of the Dieppe residents were awaked by this deafening noise. The Dieppe semaphore contacted that of Fécamp and with them, all the small harbours of the coast. All agree to state that the phenomenon was seen in these various points.

However, several witnesses in Mailleraye, locality at 80 km approximately in the south of Dieppe, are categorical: they saw the gleam which came from the direction of Dieppe.

Lastly, it must be stressed that one week ago approximately, a small fishing boat arrived at Dieppe very sifted of small glares which might come from an aerolite.

This morning, at 04:27, a railroad worker which took his service in the railway station of Orchies, saw in the sky, a disc of fire which moved horizontally at a vertiginous speed. A luminous trail followed the reddish disc in its trajectory. The same phenomenon was seen about the same hour in Arras. A witness stated to have seen the disc motionless one moment in the sky.

But he did not have time to contemplate it as it resumed its race immediately and disappeared at the horizon.

A fireball

It is most likely, the Institute of Astrophysics of Paris estimates, certain that the observed phenomenon was nothing else than a bolide.

The very hour when this observation was made, little before the sunrise, contributes to support this opinion, are not rare and many others were recorded on all the surface of the globe.

It is known that the bolides are bodies whose origin and composition are little known about and who, moving in the sky at an extreme speed, warm up when they suddenly met the Earth's atmosphere because of the resistance that it opposes to them.

That is when they become incandescent. Sometimes, they pass without being reported differently than a luminous trail, sometimes with great noise. It also happens that they fall on the surface of the globe, entirely or fragmented. Such is the origin of aerolites falls.

[Ref. dn1:] "DAGENS NYHETER" NEWSPAPER:

EXPLOSION IN SKY BREAKS WINDOWS AT DIEPPE

Paris (TT-AFP) - Inhabitants of Dieppe were awakened early on the morning of 7 January by a loud crash, accompanied by a dazzling light in the sky. The explosion was so powerful that doors were thrown ajar and many window panes were broken.

Up to now, no explanation for the phenomenon has been found. A railwayman in Orchies, near the Belgian frontier, claims that at about the same time as the explosion he saw a luminous flying saucer cross the sky at a very great speed.

[Ref. jg1:] JIMMY GUIEU:

Science Fiction writer and ufologist Jimmy Guieu reports that on January 7, 1954, at 04:30 a.m., a discoïdal craft seemed to explode after having followed a nonrectilinear trajectory, seen by several inhabitants of Dieppe, Orchies and Arras, with a three minutes variation between these cities which - according to him - excludes a meteor.

The author says that windows panes exploded, doors and of the windows were brutally slammed, walls vibrated as with a sonic boom from a supersonic plane. He says that the "ball of fire" had stopped and set out again at one time, and thus no astronomer in the world will be able to baptize it a "meteorite".

[Ref. am1:] AIME MICHEL:

Aimé Michel indicates that on January 7, 1954, a few seconds after 04:27 a.m., all the department of Seine-Inférieur, from Fécamp in the west up to Dieppe in the north, from Mailleraye in the south to Gournay in the East, was illuminated by a general flashover of the sky. During one half-minute, the light was so intense that the railwamen of Serqueux could read the serial numbers of the coaches.

A few minutes later, Dieppe was shaken by a gigantic explosion which broke many windows and woke up from their sleep three quarters of the city.

Aimé Michel notes that after the observations of that day, in the evening, a spokesman of the Institute of astrophysics of Paris stated:

"It is very likely that the phenomenon observed this morning in the area of Dieppe was nothing else than a fireball."

[Ref. nh1:] NEWSPAPER "NIEUWE HAAGSCHE COURANT":

DIEPPE "FLYING SAUCER" CALLED METEORITE - (Paris) French astronomers are convinced that the object which exploded over Dieppe recently was an exceptionally large meteorite.

[Ref. mt1:] MAGAZINE "LE MONDE DU TRAVAIL":

BALL OF FIRE SEEN OVER BRUSSELS

On 7 January 1954 at 0420 hours, a Sabena pilot preparing to land at Melsbroek saw a ball of fire low on the horizon, moving in a north-northwesterly direction. The ball was white, edged with green, and was followed by a long trail. The phenomenon illuminated the whole sky and the pilot supposed at the time that it was a green rocket signal set off by the airport authorities. Since the latter denied this, it was assumed that he had seen the same light which was seen over Dieppe.

[Ref. hw1:] HAROLD WILKINS:

The author says that on January 7, 1954, an unknown object like a disk with a wake of crimson light streaked across the Northern French sky and fell with a violent explosion into the Channel off Dieppe. French military authorities deny that it was either a plane or secret missile. Houses were shaken over a wide area. The blinding flash, white, then orange, was seen 80 miles away, and for three seconds was like the noon-day sun at night. A French trawler, about 30 miles off the coast, said he saw "a tremendous ball of fire flash over the sky in the direction of Dieppe. It left a wake of sparks."

[Ref. dk1:] DONALD KEYHOE:

Donald Keyhoe indicates that on January 7, 1954: Dieppe, France, a disc was sighted above the city moving at high speed, and immediately afterward, a typical sky-quake shook many Dieppe houses, frightening hundreds of residents.

[Ref. gc1:] LEONARD G. CRAMP:

The author says that on January 7, 1954, an unknown object like a disk with a wake of crimson light streaked across the Northern French sky and fell with a violent explosion into the Channel off Dieppe. French military authorities deny that it was either a plane or secret missile. Houses were shaken over a wide area. The blinding flash, white, then orange, was seen 80 miles away, and for three seconds was like the noon-day sun at night. A French trawler, about 30 miles off the coast, said he saw "a tremendous ball of fire flash over the sky in the direction of Dieppe. It left a wake of sparks."

[Ref. cp1:] CLAUDE POHER, UFO RESEARCH GROUP "GEPA":

In 1968-1969, before the official GEPAN ufology effort started, its future head Dr Claude Poher was a member of the unofficial GEPA ufology group, and gathered a computer coded listing of more than 700 UFO reports on which multiple factors statistical computation could be run. In the file were a number of 1954 French UFO reports, among those this one.

For readability, a decoded interpretation of the data is provided here under the original 80 character encoded string. Decoding was done according to the original indications, the code number and its generic meaning is given. Please not that the generic meaning of each code is a predefined category, not the real specific details of the case. For example, if the main witness' age was 33, the coding would result in a number "3" which corresponds to a category "Adult from 21 to 59 years."

Original code:2643590701195404301JAZ000000000011ZZZZ000000360000000000000000000000000000000000
Location:Dieppe - France
Case number:2643
Source code:59
Nature of the source:J. Guieu: Les soucoupes volantes viennent d'un autre monde
Day:07
Month:01
Year:54
Hours:04
Minutes:30
Type of Time:1 = local time
Number of witnesses:Z = "several, many"
Main witness named:0 = name is not indicated
Main witness age:0 = no indication
Main witness occupation:0 = no indication
Official investigation:0 = no indication
Weather:0 = no indication
Duration:0 = no indication
Minimal distance witness - phenomenon:0 = no indication
Method of observation:0 = no indication
Number of "objects" observed simultaneously:01 = 1
Shape of the "object" (terminology of witness(es)):1 = disk, saucer, lenticular
Dimensions of the phenomenon:ZZZZ = no indication
Color of the observed phenomenon:00 = no indication
Luminosity of the phenomenon:00 = no indication
Lights or projectors on the phenomenon:00 = no indication
Moving speed of the phenomenon:00 = no indication
Acceleration of the phenomenon:00 = no indication
Trajectory of the phenomenon:3 = brutal turns
Sounds perceived during observation:6 = violent explosion noise
Maximum angular height of observation (horizon = 0°):0 = no indication
Nature of the landing place:0 = no indication
Number of contact points with ground:0 = no indication
Traces of landing:0 = no indication
Observation of "occupants":0 = no indication
Height of the occupants observed:00 = no indication
Garment of the occupants:00 = no indication
Garment:0 = no indication
General behavior of "occupants":0 = no indication
Interaction of "occupants" with witness:0 = no indication
Head, hair:0 = no indication
Voice, breathing, chin:0 = no indication
Skin:0 = no indication
Eyes:0 = no indication
Mouth:0 = no indication
Various details:0 = no indication
Thermal effects:0 = no indication
Luminous effects:0 = no indication
Magnetic effect (or electromagnetic):0 = no indication
Odor perceived by witness:0 = no indication
Physiological effects on the witness(es):0 = no indication
Psychological effect on the witness(es):0 = no indication
Effects on animals:0 = no indication
Other effects reported:0 = no indication
Nebulosity:0 = no indication
Oscillations, emission of matter:0 = no indication
Spin, formation flight:0 = no indication
Immediate disappearance:0 = no indication
Halo surrounding the phenomenon:0 = no indication
Interaction witness / phenomenon (complement to the other rubrics):0 = no indication
Drawing or photo:0 = no indication
Structural details observed:0 = no indication

[Ref. lg1] LOREN GROSS:

[... Other cases...]

Meteor or what?

The American CIA surveying foreign newspapers found the following in the Liege, Belgium, newspaper Le Monde du Travail:

"On 7 January 1954 at 0420 hours, a Sabena pilot preparing to land at Melsbrock saw a ball of fire low on the horizon, moving in a northnorthwesterly direction. The ball was white, edged with green, and was followed by a long trail. The phenomenon illuminated the whole sky and the pilot supposed at the time that it was a green rocket signal set off by the airport authorities. Since the latter denied this, it was assumed that he had seen the same light which was seen over Dieppe." 31.

We have two sources that mention the phenomenon at Dieppe. Both tell of a blinding explosion that turned night into day and broke windows. It was said the remains of the meteor, or whatever it was, fell into the English Channel off shore near Dieppe. Witnesses abord a French trawler reported the passage of a tremendous ball of fire leaving sparks in its wake. 32.

Jimmy Gieu [sic, Guieu], a French source for this episode, asserts that the object passed over the towns of Arras, Orchies, and Dieppe in a "series of short curves" and for a time "hovered for a few seconds." 33.

A CIA agent in North Africa discovered the following in a French language newspaper. The agent documented this:

"At approximately 0427 hours on 7 January 1954, a fiery disk, followed by a luminous trail, was sighted in Arras, Pas-de-Calais Department. An observer stated that the disks [sic] remained motionless in the sky for an instant, after which it flew away and disappeared over the horizon." 34.

(See French newspaper clipping from the La Bourgogne Republicaine) [Wich is not about this meteor but about another one 2 day later, see January 9.]

Scan

[... Other cases...]

  • 31. Liege, Belgium. Le Monde du Travail 10 January 54.
  • 32. Wilkins, Harold T. Flying Saucers on the Attack, p.314.
  • 33. Guieu, Jimmy. Flying Saucers Come From Another World, pp.147-148.
  • 34. Casablanca, Morrocco. Le Petit Marocain. 8 January 54.
  • 37. Boulogne, France. La Bourgogne Republicaine. 12 January 54. May be located in Air Force BTUEBOOK Files by the date: 7 July 54.

[Ref. jc1:] JACQUES COSTAGLIOLA:

The author indicates that on January 7, 1954, in France, "Dieppes, disc, explosion, broken windows".

[Ref. lc1:] LUC CHASTAN:

Luc Chastan indicates that in the Seine Maritime in Dieppe on January 7, 1954 at 04:30 hours, "Several witnesses observed an object in the shape of a disc doing sudden turns. Disappearance occurred in a great noise of explosion which made the walls shake and destroyed some windows."

The sources are indicated as "Les Universons by Poher Claude ** http://www.premiumwanadoo.com/universons/" and my website: "Les OVNI vus de près par Gross Patrick ** http://ufologie.net".

[Ref. ud1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 6 January 1954 in Dieppe, France, "An unidentified object was sighted, but with appearance and behavior that most likely would have a conventional explanation. One object was observed by one witness."

The sources are indicated as Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073).

[Ref. ud2:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that on 7 January 1954 at 04:30 in Dieppe, France, there was a "Mysterious explosion. One disc was observed by nine witnesses on the ocean for 99 minutes."

The sources are indicated as Michel, Aime, The Truth About Flying Saucers, Pyramid T1647, New York, 1967; Poher, Claude, Etudes Statistiques Portant sur 1000 Temoignag, Author, undated; Keyhoe, Donald E., Flying Saucer Conspiracy, Holt, New York, 1955; Vallee, Jacques, Computerized Catalog (N = 3073); Cramp, Leonard G., Piece for a Jig-Saw, Somerton, Isle of Wight, 1966; Schoenherr, Luis, Computerized Catalog (N = 3173); National Investigations Committee Aerial Phenomena, NICAP investigation files; Hall, Richard H., UFO Reports from the Files of the CIA, Fund for UFO Research, Washington; Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002.

[Ref. ub1:] "UFO-DATENBANK":

This database recorded this case eight times instead of one:

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540106 06.01.1954 Dieppe France NL
19540107 07.01.1954 Dieppe France
19540107 07.01.1954 Dieppe France
19540107 07.01.1954 Dieppe France
19540107 07.01.1954 Dieppe France
19540107 07.01.1954 Dieppe France 05.00
19540107 07.01.1954 Dieppe France
19541007 07.10.1954 Dieppe France 16.00

Explanations:

The January 7, 1954, meteor.

Keywords:

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

Dieppe, Seine-Maritime, fast, trail, luminous, noise, explosion, meteor, multiples, damages

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross August 11, 2004 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross December 17, 2009 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [jg1], [dk1], [lc1], [ud1], [ud2].
1.1 Patrick Gross 11 février 2010 Addition [jc1].
1.2 Patrick Gross March 4, 2010 Addition [vm1].
1.3 Patrick Gross April 9, 2010 Addition [lp1].
1.4 Patrick Gross October 22, 2011 Addition [fa1].
1.5 Patrick Gross October 19, 2016 Addition [of1].
1.6 Patrick Gross November 30, 2016 Additions [lg1], [ub1].

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