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January 7, 1954, La Mailleraye, Seine-Maritime:

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

Summary:

The regional newspaper L'Est Républicain for January 8, 1954, and the national newspaper Paris-Presse for January 9, 1954, explained that the ball of fire which had been seen in the sky of Dieppe and other places, including by by the market gardeners in La Mailleraye, was perhaps a "flying saucer" in popular opinion, but observers from the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris think it was a fireball.

Reports:

[Ref. ern1:] NEWSPAPER "L'EST REPUBLICAIN":

Strange phenomenon above Dieppe

Doors open, windows break

Dieppe. -- Yesterday morning, between 4:30 a.m. and 5:15 a.m., nearly seventy dockworkers from the port of Dieppe saw a blinding glow in the sky followed, four minutes later, by a formidable explosion who opened many doors and smashed windows.

Most of the residents of Dieppe were woken up by this deafening noise. There are only some discrepancies among the witnesses as to the direction of the light which, according to some, came from the North and, according to others, from the West.

A boat riddled with shards

It should be noted that about a week ago a fishing boat arrived in Dieppe all riddled with small shards that could come from an aerolite.

The Dieppe semaphore was put in touch with that of Fécamp and with those of all the small ports on the coast. Everyone agrees that yesterday morning's phenomenon was seen at these different points.

However several witnesses living in La Mailleraye, a locality approximately 80 km south of Dieppe are categorical. They saw the glow, which came from the direction of Dieppe.

A disk of fire above Orchies and Arras

Equally disturbing observations were made in the Nord: at 4:27 a.m., a railway employee who was on duty at Orchies station saw a disc of fire in the sky moving at the horizontal at breakneck speed. A luminous trail followed the glowing disc in its path. The same phenomenon was seen around the same time in Arras. A witness said he saw the disc motionless for a moment in the sky, but did not have time to contemplate it. It immediately resumed its course and disappeared on the horizon.

According to scientists, it could be a firebell

It is very likely, according to the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, that the phenomenon observed yesterday morning in the Dieppe region was a fireball. The very time that this sighting was made - shortly before sunrise - helps support this view.

The bolides are bodies whose origin and composition are poorly known and which move in the sky with extreme rapidity, heat up when they come into contact with the Earth's atmosphere due to the resistance that opposes them. It is then that they become incandescent. Sometimes they erupt silently, sometimes with a crash. It also happens that they fall to the surface of the globe, whole or fragmented. This is the origin of aerolithic falls.

[Ref. ppe1:] "PARIS-PRESSE" NEWSPAPER:

Scan.

The Dieppe flying saucers:

Fireballs,
savants think

THE EMOTION raised by the appearance in the sky of Dieppe during two following nights of "balls of fire" is not yet quiet down. The phenomenon was not only observed by the dockers of Dieppe, but also by S.N.C.F. employees in Serqueux, by postmen in Rouen, by all the semaphore operators of Dieppe to Fécamp, and by the market gardeners of Forges-les-Eaux, Neuchâtel-en-Bray and of La Mailleraye. At about the same hour the ball of fire was also seen by a witness in Arras.

While popular opinion is convinced that these are "flying saucers", observers from the Paris Astrophysical Institute think of a fireball.

[Ref. bre1:] NEWSPAPER "LA BOURGOGNE REPUBLICAINE":

Scan.

Mysterious phenomenon in the Dieppe region

A blinding glow
followed by a great
explosion

A little earlier, a disk of fire
had been seen, moving in the sky
at a dizzying pace

Dieppe, 7 (A.F.P.). -- This morning, between 4:30 a.m. and 5:15 a.m., nearly 70 dockers from the port of Dieppe saw a blinding glow in the sky, followed, four minutes later, by a formidable explosion which opened many doors and smashed several windows of houses in the city.

Most of the residents of Dieppe were woken up by this deafening noise. It does not seem that it could be a hallucination, because the testimonies are very numerous and agree on almost all points.

There are only some discrepancies among the witnesses regarding the direction of the light, which, according to some, came from the north and, according to others, from the west.

The postal car that provides traffic between Dieppe and Rouen was in the vicinity of the first of these two cities at the time of the glow. But, according to the two occupants of this vehicle, the explosion did not occur until eight minutes after the glow.

The Dieppe semaphore got in touch with that of Fécamp and with those of all the small ports on the coast. Everyone agrees that the phenomenon has been seen at these different points. However, the Le Havre semaphore found nothing.

However, several witnesses living in La Mailleraye, a village located approximately eighty kilometers south of Dieppe, and in Serqueux, a village 50 kilometers south-east of Dieppe, are categorical: they saw the light, which came from the direction of Dieppe.

Finally, it should be noted that about a week ago, a fishing boat arrived in Dieppe all riddled with small shards that could come from a fireball.

For the moment, we are getting lost in conjectures about the nature of this strange phenomenon.

Continued on page 8, under the title
PHENOMENON

Scan.

PHENOMENON

This morning at 4:27 a.m., a railway employee, who was on duty at the Orchies station, saw a disc of fire moving in the sky at a dizzying pace. A luminous trail followed the glowing disc in its path.

The phenomenon was seen around the same time in Arras. A witness said he saw the disc motionless for a moment in the sky, but did not have time to contemplate it. It immediately resumed its course and disappeared on the horizon.

A FIREBALL?

It is very likely, according to the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, that the phenomenon observed this morning in the Dieppe region was nothing but a fireball. The very time at which this observation was made - shortly before sunrise [!] - helps to support this opinion. But, it is added, such explosions are not very rare and many others have been recorded all over the world.

We know that fireballs are bodies whose origin and composition are not well known and which, moving in the sky with extreme rapidity, heat up when they come into contact with the Earth's atmosphere due to the resistance that it opposes to them. It is then that they become incandescent. Sometimes they pass without being noticed other than by a luminous trail. Sometimes they explode silently, sometimes with an explosion sound. It also happens that they fall on the surface of the globe, whole or fragmented: this is the origin of aerolite falls.

[Ref. lcx1:] NEWSPAPER "LA CROIX":

Scan.

A fireball explodes
in the sky
of Dieppe

Thursday morning, nearly 70 dockers from the port of Dieppe saw a blinding glow in the sky, followed, four minutes later, by a formidable explosion, which opened many doors and smashed the windows of houses in the city.

Most of the inhabitants of Dieppe were woken up by this deafening noise.

The keeper of the Dieppe semaphore got in touch with his colleague from Fécamp and with those of all the small ports on the coast. Everyone agrees that the phenomenon was seen at these different points.

On the other hand, the keeper of the Le Havre semaphore did not notice anything.

However, several witnesses living in La Mailleraye, a locality located approximately 80 kilometers south of Dieppe, and in Serqueux, a village 50 kilometers south-east of Dieppe, are adamant: they saw the light coming from the direction of Dieppe.

It is very likely, according to the Institut d'astrophysique de Paris, that the phenomenon observed in the Dieppe region was nothing but a fireball. The very time at which this observation was made - shortly before sunrise - helps to support this view. But, one adds, such explosions are not very rare, and one could record many others on all the surface of the globe.

[Ref. rct1:] ROBERT CATINAT:

Scan.

The luminous phenomenon [of Dieppe on January 7, 1954] was seen in Fécamp and in many small ports on the coast, but one did not see anything in Le Havre. At La Mailleraye (80 km S of Dieppe) and in Serqueux (50 km S of Dieppe) one saw the light that came from the direction of this city.

Explanations:

The meteor of January 7, 1954.

Map.

Keywords:

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

La Mailleraye, Seine-Maritime, meteor, ball, fire, multiple, market gardeners

Sources:

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

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross January 12, 2020 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross January 18, 2020 Addition [rct1].
1.2 Patrick Gross January 8, 2021 Additions [lcx1], [bre1].
1.3 Patrick Gross February 2, 2021 Addition [ern1]. In the Summary, addition of "The regional newspaper L'Est Républicain for January 8, 1954, and".

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