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The 1954 French flap:

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

March 12, 1954, Rouen, Seine-Maritime:

Reference for this case: 12-Mar-54-Rouen.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


Countless ufologists, from 1957 on, published a "UFO photograph", indicating that it was taken in Rouen in France in March 1954 by a pilot of the French Air Force.

Some date it from March 5, 1954, others from March 12, 1954, others from 1957.

There are two opposing opinions on this photo in ufology books: some find it "interesting" or "authentic" because it shows the same craft that the one allegedly photographed in 1951 in McMinville, USA, by Paul Trent; others think it is actually just a simple copy of one of Paul Trent's two photos, which is probably the right explanation.

It is generally said that the photo was first published in the Flying Review, a magazine of the Royal Air Force, in July 1957. But it is false because it is found before in the ufology magazine Flying Saucer Review for May - June 1957, with the date of March 5, but not the year. It is in the magazine of the RAF a month later that the year becomes "this year", so 1957.

The 1954 date comes from a misprint in the book The UFO Evidence composed by Richard Hall for NICAP in 1964.

J. Bernard Delair, in a catalog of photographs of 1975, gives the date of 1954, but also, in a duplicate entry, of 1957, and indicates for his 1957 version that the source is the British newspaper Bolton Observer of an undefined day of April 1957; but no one had mentioned this alleged source before, and no one has got their hands on this alleged source, it seems.

There is, in any case, no confirmation at all of such a case in France to confirm what the Flying Saucer Review published.



The magazine published the image with the caption: "UFO photographed over Rouen, France, at 08.13 hours on March 5."


Caption text:

UFO photographed over Rouen in March, this year. Photos of UFOs are rare, never very clear. This is one of the few which seem authentic.

[Ref. rhl1:] RICHARD HALL:

The photograph is listed in the book "The UFO Evidence" edited by Richard Hall for NICAP as "March 1954, Rouen, France, RAF Flying Review".

[Ref. myg1:] MORT YOUNG:

The author shows the picture and says it was photographed over Rouen, France, and appeared in the RAF Flying Review in 1957, described as one of the few photos of UFOs "which seem authentic". the author compares it to the McMinville photos.


The magazine publishes the "Rouen" picture and says it shows "UFOs" over Rouen, France, and that it was published in the R.A.F. Flying Review.

[Ref. fes1:] FRANK EDWARDS:

The author says that the last authentic photograph of a flying saucer he knows of was taken in Rouen, France, on March 5, 1954, by a fighter pilot.


The authors publish the image below with the caption "This UFO photograph, taken in March, 1954, over Rouen, France, was first published in the July, 1957 issue of RAF Flying Review, which called it "one of the few photos which seems authentic".

The authors also publish one of the McMinville pictures for comparison, said to bear a "remarkable resemblance".


The authors indicate that an identical object than the one photographed by Paul Trent in McMinville in 1950 was photographed four years later in 1954 by a French military pilot.


The author published the McMinville and "Rouen" pictures, saying that they are "almost identical" and that the Rouen picture was taken in March 1954 by a French military pilot near Rouen.

[Ref. jde1:] J. BERNARD DELAIR:

0079: 1954: March 5th.

Time: unnoted but daytime.

Near Rouen, Seine-Maritime, FRANCE, A domed disc.

Photographer: unnamed French pilot.

(photograph unpublished).

This catalogue created a double emtry for the same case:

0125: 1954: March 5th.

Time: 8.13 am.

Rouen, Seine-Maritime, FRANCE.

A domed disc.

Photographer: unnamed.

Refs: Bolton (UK) Observer, ?.4.1957; FSR, vol 3, no:3, 1957, p.2; LIFE magazine, 1.4.1966; FS (RP), no:81, 1973; Mattern-Friedrich, 1975, pp. 125,131.


These ufologists published the McMinville photographs of May 11, 1950, and added an insert with the "Rouen" photograph, explaining that the McMinville photos are dubious because they were not taken at the hour indicated by the witness, but are nevertheless interesting because they are very similar to a photo taken by an officer of the French air forces above Rouen in March 1954. They say the photo of Rouen was published for the first time in the July 1957 issue of the RAF Flying Review.

[Ref. ara1:] ANTONIO RIBERA:

The author published the two images below and says they were taken in France in March 1954.



This photo is captioned:

This photograph taken in March 1954, over Rouen, by a French military pilot is to be compared with the photograph of the U.F.O. of Mac Minville (p. 20, top). The similarity between the two objects appeared evident to many commentators. Topped with a dome or a metallic protuberance, these two "saucers" would belong to the "old classic" style.


The authors say that in 1954 a French military pilot took a picture of an object near Rouen in France, almost identical to the McMinville object.

[Ref. gep1:] UFOLOGY GROUP "GEPO":

03 05 54 ( ) Rouen 100V2

[Ref. ine1:] "L'INEXPLIQUE":

Opposite: the photograph of a UFO, taken in 1950, in the United States. Above: enlargement of that photograph. It offers astonishing resemblances to that of another photography (below), taken in 1954 by a pilot of Air France. In both cases, no faking was detected.



This flying craft with "turret" was photographed in France, above Rouen, in 1954.

[...] We refer the reader to a photograph reproducing a U.F.O. which presents a similar turret [to that on the photographs of Paul Trent] and which was taken in March 1954 in France, above Rouen. In the 1957 issue of the Raf-Flying Review, we read that this U.F.O. would be one of the few photographic documents that appear "authentic". [...]

[Ref. ahy1:] ALLAN HENDRY:

The author says that "ufologists are fond of comparing" the two UFOs below, the top one photographed in 1954 in Rouen in France, and the lower one shot in McMinville, Oregon in 1951, but that "virtually all other UFOs are mutually incompatible on such a detail for detail basis".

The image he published is:

[Ref. lgs1:] LOREN GROSS:

A collective generic family?

The following could have been included in any part of this 12 month period since the date is unknown. One afternoon in 1954, most probably during the Fall UFO wave, a UFO was supposed to have been photographed by a Frenchman while it sailed over Rouen, France. The picture is important, because UFO expert Allan Hendry charged that UFOs, as reported by various witnesses, lack ed any indication of a "collective generic family," which is to say objects being seen by people don't really resemble one another. This lack did not make sense to Hendry unless all UFOs were due to fantasy, hoaxes, or misperceptions. We could argue the point, but it is just being mentioned as a way to introduce the Rouen photograph which bears such a strikingly compatible profile with the famous 1950 Mc.Minnville, Oregon, picture. (See illustration). Unfortunately the pilot that took the Rouen photograph chose to remain anonymous which reduces the value of the case. 160. Before we leave this subject, we might ponder some remarks by Mr. Adrian Vance, West Coast Editor of Popular Photography and author of UFOs, The Eye And The Camera:

"The McMinnville photograph had achieved such notoriety, exemplified by a full page picture in Life magazine, that the members of the Condon Committee could not overlook it without showing their hand, but an obscure foreign pilot whose picture had appeared in a few European papers could be ignored. And he was." 161.

Top left: The Rouen photograph.
Bottom left: The Mc Minnville photograph.


The authors show the McMinville and "Rouen" images and say that the "rouen" image was "taken from an airplane by a French Air Marshall overs Rouen, France, in March 1954" and that the RAF Flying Review said it was one of the few that seem authentic.


2) Es gibt ein UFO-Foto aus dem Jahre 1954, das von einem Piloten über Rouen in Frankreich aufgenommen wurde. Das "UFO" weist eine so große Ähnlichkeit mit dem McMinnville-Objekt auf, daß man geneigt sein kann, ein Modell der gleichen Baureihe zu vermuten. (30) Die Echtheit des Rouen-Fotos ist von hier aus nicht zu beurteilen - aber auffallend ist: Es wurde von Sheaffer und Klass nie erwähnt.


2) There is a 1954 UFO photo taken by a pilot over Rouen, France. The "UFO" shows such a great resemblance to the McMinnville object that one can be inclined to assume a model of the same series. (30) The authenticity of the Rouen photo cannot be judged from here - but what is striking is that Sheaffer and Klass never mentioned it.

The source (30) is noted as "Richard F. Haynes in THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF UFOS, p. 330."

[Ref. gbd1:] GARY BLACKWOOD:

The author says that the McMinville photograph showed a disc identical to another photographed in Brazil in 1952 and a third photographed in Rouen, France, in 1954.


The author indicates that a photograph of a machine of the type of that of McMinville [McMinnville] in 1950 is taken in France in 1954 by a French aviator.

[Ref. cus1:] CUFOS WEBSITE:

[...] Some of the best UFO photographs were taken in McMinville, in Oregon, in 1950, in Rouen, in France, in 1954 [...]

[Ref. loi1:] "LOMBRI":

A photograph almost identical [to those of Paul Trent] will be taken in March 1954, above Rouen by a French military pilot. The similarity between the shots is staggering. Until proven otherwise, the photos are authentic.

[Ref. fgi1:] FRANCIS GATTI:

Francis Gatti says that "A flying machine similar to that of Mac-Minnville was photographed in ROUEN in 1954 (photograph of the bottom in frame below); no confusion being possible because of the protrusion in the shape of stem in oblique which exceeds the higher face of the saucer." He publishes this image:


3465: 1954/03/05 13:00 1 1:05:00 E 49:25:00 N 3331 WEU FRN SMR 6:7


Ref# 73 EDWARDS,Frank: F.S. HERE AND NOW. Page No. 46 : TOWN &CITY


The Belgian ufologist indicates that on March 5, 1954, in France, in Rouen, "Photographs of UFO, taken from a plane in patrol above the town of Rouen (photo Nicap)."

The sources are indicated as Philippe Schneyder, "Ovni, premier bilan", éditions du Rocher publishers, 1983, photo insert after page 154; and A. Schneider - H. Malthaner, in "Le dossier secret des OVNI", De Vecchi publisher, 1978, page 115.


Ref. UFOTO : 0401
05 MAR 1954
Location : Rouen (FRA) / Author :

[Ref. jbu1:] JEROME BEAU:

March 12.

In Rouen, a French military takes a picture of a UFO (right).



Note: the 1954 date appears on this image.


Note: this image may suggest that there was a color original, or that there has been a colorized version. However, Flying Saucer Review, which published the image 1957, was often printed with a light blue cover, and maybe this image originates from there.

[Ref. bme1:] BRUCE MACCABEE:

UFO photographs renowned analysts Bruce Maccabee commented as a side note during a discussion of another photograph which was compared the photograph of this file:

A minor correction: The Rouen photo, first published in the July 1957 Royal AF Flying Review, was, reportedly, taken in March, 1957 (if I recall correctly).

The comment says: "...photographed in Rouen, France in 1954 by a French Airforce pilot" by ufologist Chris Rolfe of UFOMEK, and a comment dating it of March 4th, 1954.

Bruce Maccabee then also posted a follow up comment:

Confusion: 1954 or 1957?

Anyway, the "Rouen photo", ostensibly taken by a French Air Force pilot, and which shows a UFO like the Trent/McMinnville Oregon photo of 1950, was taken in 1957, not 1954. It was first published in the Royal Air Force Flying Review in July, 1957 and also in Flying Saucer Review in July, 1957. Neither magazine provided a discussion of the photo, only a date and location. (The idea that it was taken in 1954 probably comes from the NICAP UFO Evidence of 1964 which incorrectly gives the 1954 date for the photo).


The Spanish ufologist indicates that the photograph "Rouen, the Seine Maritime (France)" dated March 5, 1954, a nonevent of real date March 5, 1957, is probably a reproduction of the photography on May 11, 1950 in McMinville, Oregon.

He indicates that the first source to the photo seem to be the Bolton (UK) Observer of April 1957, mentioned by J.B. Delair, E. Cox and R. Twine in their "Provisional Catalogue of UFO Photographs. Part One: 1883-1957", The UFO Register, Volume 6, Number 2, November 1975), and that no one else seems to have taken access to the primary source, which is probably the key to the issue.

The second source is the Flying Saucer Review, Volume 3, Number 3, May-June 1957, page 2, and the photo is only an illustration to an article on a RAF radar picking up a UFO, the caption saying only "UFO photographed over Rouen, France, at 08.13 hours on March 5".

The third initial source was a Geoffrey Norris article entitled "Something in the Sky" printed in the July 1957 issue of the Royal Air Force Flying Review, Volume 12, Number 11, page 15, with a caption saying only "UFO photographed over Rouen in March, this year. Photos of UFOs are rare, never very clear. This is one of the few which seems authentic."

The next published reference to this photo was Richard Hall's The UFO Evidence (NICAP, 1964), where the year 1954 was first mistakenly introduced and from this onwards, the photo has been reproduced in hundreds of places, dated either 1957 or 1954. Deep historical and bibliographical research on the photo has been contemporarily made by investigators like Claude Maugé in France and Dr. David Clarke in the United Kingdom.

Ballester-Olmos adds that Dr. Willy Smith reviewed part of the above in a unreleased paper dated June 20, 1990 and concluded that both the 1950 McMinville and the 1957 Rouen photos "are one and the same, i.e., the Rouen photo (which lacks any background details) is only a copy, many generations removed, of the Trent photo." The paper's last sentence read: "As it stands now, the Rouen incident is only a phantom"; which Ballester-Olmos agrees to.

[Ref. vki1:] VIKAS KHATRI:

The author says that the McMinville photograph proved to be almost identical to a photograph taken by a pilot in Rouen, France, in the summer of 1954.




The website says: "Careful ! 99% of the photos and videos about the Ufos are fakes or military craft classified secret or projects." "The photographs shown beloe may not be Ufos but they are authentic and are absolutely not fabricated. These pictures are not hoaxed!"

"France, Rouen 1954
Photographs taken by a military man above the city of rouen. This photographs [sic] is not hoaxed. Military tests or Ufo ?"


march 1954 - UFO in Rouen, France

By icegaze on March 14, 2007 21:36

| 0 vote

Location : France, Rouen

Date : March 1954

Number of witnesses : 1+

Flying to intercept a mysterious object discovered by radar, a pilot of the French Air Force photographed a flying object with the camera of his plane. The UFO followed the plane at the same speed during several minutes before exceeding the maximum speed of the French plane. The UFO seems to be of same type as the one that appeared on a farm in McMinnville in Oregon.

[Ref. ita1:] ON THE ITALIAN WEB:

Rouen. March 5, 1954. A French pilot, J. Trent, capture a disc in the form of a plate. The photograph is relatively clear. Good observation of the details. On the dome of the disc stands an antenna, identical to that on the similar flying disc of May 1950 on the village of McMinville.

Note: Paul Trent was the farmer who produced the McMinnville photographs.

[Ref. jbu2:] JEROME BEAU:

The photograph is presented like "reminiscence of the one taken in McMinville in 1950 (insert), allegedly taken in Rouen in Mars by an aviator."

The sources are indicated as "Norris, Geoffrey: 'Something in the Sky', Royal Air Force Flying Review, July 1957, pp. 14-16, in FSR 1957; and NICAP.

[Ref. jbu3:] JEROME BEAU:

Jerome Beau says that "In July 1957 the Royal Air Force Flying Review devotes an article to the UFOs and publishes a photograph strangely similar to that of McMinnville. Its caption however, is different: UFO photographed above Rouen in March, this year. From this date these "twin" UFOS will feed a controversy, some seeing an identical object there rather than an identical photograph. One will however never find other trace of this 'UFO of Rouen' but this article."

He gives as source "Norris, Geoffrey: 'Something in the Sky', Royal Air Force Flying Review, July 1957, pp. 14-16".

[Ref. gde1:] GERARD DEFORGE:

Talking about another case, Gerard Deforge indicates "We found in our files a photograph which was taken in ROUEN on March 5, 1954, of a similar object".

[Ref. uda1:] "UFODNA" WEBSITE:

The website indicates that in March 1954 at 08:30 in Rouen, France, "Photo of object very similar in appearance to 1950 Trent photograph taken in McMinnville, Oregon. Reportedly taken by French military. A flying disc was observed and photographed. One disc was observed by one male witness in a warplane."

The sources are noted as "Trench, Brinsley LePoer, Flying Saucer Story, Tandem, 1973; Condon Committee, Condon Committee investigation files; Edwards, Frank, Flying Saucers - Here and Now!, Lyle Stuart, New York, 1967; Lore, Jr., Gordon I. R., Mysteries of the Skies: UFOs in Perspective, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1968; Hynek, J. Allen, The Edge of Reality: A Progress Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1975, ISBN:0-8092-8209-7; Schoenherr, Luis, Computerized Catalog (N = 3173); Blum, Ralph, Beyond Earth: Man's Contact with UFOs, Bantam T8374, New York, 1974; Hall, Richard H., The UFO Evidence, NICAP, Washington, 1964; Delaire, J. Bernard, UFO Register Volume 6 (1975), Data Research, Oxford, 1975; Hatch, Larry, *U* computer database, Author, Redwood City, 2002".



On a collection of alleged "UFO photos", this association published this on their website:

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

This database recorded this case ten times!

Case Nr. New case Nr. Investigator Date of observation Zip Place of observation Country of observation Hour of observation Classification Comments Identification
19540300 00.03.1954 Rouen France
19540300 00.03.1954 Rouen France
19540300 00.03.1954 Rouen France End of the day DD
19540300 00.03.1954 Rouen France CE I
19540305 05.03.1954 Rouen France DD
19540305 05.03.1954 Rouen France
19540305 05.03.1954 Rouen France End of the day DD
19540305 05.03.1954 Rouen France
19540305 05.03.1954 Rouen France
195403__ __.03.1954 Rouen France DD


It seems that whatever the explanation for this picture may be, it does not relate to the 1954 French UFO flap.

Many ufologists think or suspect that the picture is a somehow distorted version of one of the famous 1951 photographs by Paul Trent in McMinville, USA.



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

Rouen, Seine-Maritime, photograph, pilot, 1957, 1951


[----] indicates sources that are not yet available to me.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross November 9, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross December 13, 2008 Conversion from HTML to XHTML Strict. First formal version. Additions [fsr1], [raf1], [goe1], [jba1], [sbe1], [me1], [cus1], [jbu2].
1.1 Patrick Gross June 10, 2009 Addition [gde1].
1.2 Patrick Gross January 17, 2010 Addition [jdn1].
1.3 Patrick Gross February 10, 2010 Addition [ara1], [jca1].
1.4 Patrick Gross March 18, 2010 Additions [fgi1], [uda1], [ovi1]. In "Explanations", paragraph "Many ufologist think..."
1.5 Patrick Gross March 20 2010 Additions [fes1], [gle1], [jml1], [ahy1], [jbu3], [phe1], [mss1], [rvo1], [gbd1], [vki1].
1.6 Patrick Gross December 8, 2016 Additions [ine1], [ubk1].
1.7 Patrick Gross December 16, 2016 Additions [lgs1].
1.8 Patrick Gross February 14, 2017 Additions [hdt1].
1.9 Patrick Gross May 3, 2018 Additions [spa1].
2.0 Patrick Gross September 11, 2019 Additions [ahk1], [jde1], [lhh1].
2.1 Patrick Gross August 23, 2021 Addition [sun1].
2.2 Patrick Gross March 31, 2022 Addition [gep1].
2.3 Patrick Gross June 21, 2022 Additions [asr1], [loi1].
2.4 Patrick Gross July 10, 2022 Addition [deu1].

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