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The Woodbridge / Rendlesham incidents:

The following entries on the Rendlesham Forest events come from "The UFO Encyclopedia", compiled and edited by John Spencer, Headline Books, ISBN 0-7472-3494-9.

Woodbridge RAF / USAF air base:

In December 1980 it is alleged that a grounded UFO was seen in the Rendlesham Forest area outside the back gates of RAF/USAF Woodbridge in Suffolk, England.

There are various, and conflicting, reports about what occurred on the night. According to the official report made by the Deputy Base commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Halt, two security police witnessed lights outside the back gate and called for permission to investigate on the grounds that an aircraft might have crashed. Three patrolmen were sent and they reported seeing a glowing object in the forest, described as triangular in shape, about 9 feet wide and 6 feet high, and emanating a powerful white light. Other reports detail red and blue lights at various points on the object. It was either hovering or standing on short legs and as the patrol approached it, it manoeuvered away slowly through the trees on to a nearby farm (causing some disturbance in the animals there) before disappearing into the sky very quickly. However, the object was sighted briefly again about an hour later.

Investigations the following day found three ground traces indicating possible landing leg depressions.

However, there are other stories of events that night including one that the overall commander of the base, Wing-Commander Gordon Williams, was present at the investigation and also communicated with aliens that had been seen apparently carrying out repairs to the craft.

It is alleged that many films and photographs were taken but that these were all confiscated by senior officers and have not been released.

Investigators examining these claims have obtained interviews with two of the patrol who investigated the UFO, airman John Burroughs and a second airman who remains anonymous and is given the pseudonym of James Archer. Basically their stories agree with the Deputy Commander's statement. Archer denies seeing aliens but saw shapes inside the object, to which he had approached within three feet, and commented, 'I don't know what they were but the shapes did not look human. Maybe they were like robots.'

One of the security police at Woodbridge, Sergeant Adrian Bustinza, came forward after the publication of a book "Skycrash" by Jenny Randles, Brenda Butler and Dot Street, and told his detailed version of events in the forest that night. Again, for the most part, his account basically agrees with that of Lieutenant-Colonel Halt. He describes the object as being seen through a yellow mist like "nothing I have ever seen before", and comments that it was a tremendous size compared to the clearing it was in and that he was surprised it was able to fit into the area. One major discrepancy arises in his description, however; he describes it as saucer-shaped rather than triangular-shaped, which would seem to be a very major disagreement considering both reports came from eye witnesses.

There is allegedly a tape recording made by Lieutenant-Colonel Halt and his men while in the forest investigating the event and part of this has been released by a former base commander at Woodbridge, Colonel Sam Morgan. On the tape various voices including Lieutenant-Colonel Halt's describe what they are supposed to be seeing as they pursue the object through the woods.

When challenged by a former Chief of the Defense Staff, Admiral-of- the-Fleet Lord Hill-Norton, the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Heseltine, through Lord Trefgarne, released the statement that 'the events to which you refer were of no defence significance'.

As Lord Hill-Norton put it, there would seem to be some defence significance either in an unknown object's entering and possibly landing on British territory or, alternatively, a deputy base commander of an RAF/USAF base filing a ludicrous and make-believe report. Lieutenant- Colonel (now Colonel) Halt has confirmed subsequently that this memorandum is legitimate. He also went on to say, 'There are a lot of things that are not in my memo.' [pp. 418-420]


Probably the most important witness in the Rendlesham Forest encounter in Suffolk in 1980 was Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Halt, the Deputy Base Commander of Woodbridge RAF/USAF Air Base and a Lieutenant-Colonel in the United States Air Force.

His initial involvement appears to have been the making of a report to the British Ministry of Defence in January 1981 describing the way in which a security patrol from the base had investigated lights in the nearby forest, believing that there might have been an aircraft crash. In his report Halt summarizes the findings of the patrol: that they encountered a triangular-shaped metallic object approximately 9 feet wide and 6 feet high, displaying a variety of red and blue lights and glowing generally white. The object was apparently standing on short legs or hovering near the ground, and Halt's report indicates that the patrol watched the object moving through the trees, disturbing animals nearby and leaving ground traces thought to be the impression of legs, i.e. three depressions in the ground approximately 17 inches wide. He reports also that readings were taken indicating peaks of radiation in the ground traces.

Lieutenant-Colonel Halt's report was released under the Freedom of Information Act in America following a request from CAUS (Citizens Against UFO Secrecy).

Despite a report from this very senior officer, the British Ministry of Defence, through Lord Trefgarne, then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of the Armed Forces, replied to an inquiry from a former Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Hill-Norton, that the event had "no defence significance."

Lord Hill-Norton appears to have been unimpressed by this reply, pointing out that, 'Unless Lieutenant-Colonel Halt was out of his mind, there is clear evidence in his report that British airspace ... [was] intruded upon by an unidentified vehicle ... and that no bar to such intrusion was effective.' Lord Hill-Norton went on to say that if Halt's report was untrue, then evidence of such serious misjudgment by such a high- ranking officer would itself be of defence significance. [pp. 172-173]


Another important witness to the Rendlesham Forest encounter was Sergeant Adrian Bustinza of RAF/USAF Woodbridge. He was then the Acting Commander of Security Police.

He reported seeing the object hovering and making slow movements. He described it as having a red light on top, several blue lights below and many other hues of light emanating from it. He also described it as being of enormous size and stated that he was surprised it would fit into the clearing where he was seeing it.

Bustinza also witnessed the departure of the object and described it as being 'gone in a flash'. He said that the event was a 'a really scary feeling'. Bustinza also reports that photographs were taken by personnel from the base [pp. 75-76]


Colonel Sam Morgan is former base commander of Woodbridge RAF/USAF Air Base and was apparently responsible for releasing a tape allegedly made on the night of the encounter at that location. The tape is said to have been made 'live' during an investigation of the landing area and includes an apparently live account of the contact.

Opinions vary about the tape's authenticity. Asked directly to comment on the authenticity of the tape Colonel Morgan stated: 'I do not think it is a hoax ... those guys definitely saw something which cannot be explained. As for them fabricating it all and putting on an act, I do not think they could have pulled it off.

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This page was last updated on December 26, 2000.