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The Woodbridge / Rendlesham incidents, U-K., 1980:

An article about the Woodbridge / Rendlesham forest incident, from "UFOs - the definitive casebook", by John Spencer, BUFORA, 1991.


Rendlesham Forest, RAF/USAF Woodbridge, Suffolk, England
December 29, 1980.

The tranquil darkness of Rendlesham forest was shattered in the early hours of a late December morning when a triangular shaped UFO landed, or possibly crash landed, amid trees to the rear of the joint United States and United Kingdom airbase at Woodbridge in Suffolk.

According to a report by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt, the deputy base commander at the time, two United States Air Force security officers saw unusual lights in the forest to the rear of the base. They requested permission to investigate on the basis that an aircraft may have crashed into the trees. It was to be the beginning of an extraordinary night.

Three patrolmen tramped through the forest towards the glowing object and approached to within a few feet of it. It was described as triangular in shape approximately 8 ft (244 cm) wide and 6 ft (183 cm) high and emitting a bright white light. There were reports of a red light on top and a bank of blue lights beneath which seemed to indicate that the object was sitting on short legs. Possibly wishing to avoid direct contact as the officers approached, the object maneuvered through the trees away from them towards a nearby farm, driving cattle there into an agitated state before taking off at extraordinary speed.

Investigation the following day showed three small depressions in the ground where the object had been sighted. These strangely formed indentations were believed to be landing traces.

There were more extraordinary, and more dubious, claims of silver suited aliens, of communication between the base commander and the extraterrestrials, and of films and photographs of the contact being taken which were then confiscated. There is little corroborative evidence for these later claims.

Radar stations in the area, including RAF/USAF Bentwaters (itself the subject of an earlier radar visual encounter in the late 1950s) tracked an unidentified object on radar at the time. According to the book Skycrash, by Jenny Randles, Brenda Butler and Dot Street, the two security officers, one given the pseudonym James Archer and the other airman John Burroughs, gave reports which confirmed the report given by Lieutenant Colonel Halt. They made no comment about alien occupants though did state that they believed there were shapes inside the object. "I don't know what, but the shapes did not look human. Maybe they were like robots.'

The mystery deepened further when a tape recording alleged to have been made by Lieutenant Colonel Halt and others was released, apparently describing, as it happened, the search through the woods and encounter with the object. I have heard portions of the tape and had the impression that it was stage managed but whether it is a total fabrication or whether the tape is edited badly, falsely creating a wrong impression, is difficult to say. If it was fabricated then the question remains as to who fabricated it. Presumably it was either a military or defence establishment intent on disinformation (feeding ludicrous information to people with a view to discrediting it) or by unprofessional ufologists who by chance found themselves involved in a major case. If the tape is faked then the precise identity of the person who did it may never be known.

Perhaps the most telling part of the encounter came in 1985 when former Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral of the Fleet Lord Hill-Norton, wrote to Michael Heseltine, the then Secretary of State for Defence, requesting details of the case. On behalf of Heseltine a reply was received from Lord Trefgarne stating that "The events to which your refer were of no defence significance.'

Lord Hill-Norton pointed out that this was an extraordinary claim by any standards. If there had been an intrusion into British airspace around a United States/British airbase from a foreign or alien power the clearly there was a defence significance. The alternative was that the report by deputy base commander Lieutenant Colonel Halt was a hoax, a joke, or a symptom of him being "out of his mind". One could argue that any one of these surely also has defence significance!

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