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The UK schools UFO flap of 1977 - REAL or Broad Haven wannabes?

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posted on Feb, 7 2019 @ 06:11 PM
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During 1977, chatter about UFOs was flourishing in the UK, no doubt in part due to the incoming Spielberg opus, 'Close Encounters Of the Third Kind'. When released here the following year, the tabloids joyfully declared 1978 the 'Year Of The UFO', and schools across the country plugged it. I have a couple of Brit friends who vividly remember their own primary school teachers encouraging them to collect press cuttings in 1978 and even use their vivid imaginations to draw/paint their own UFO creations. TV series such as 'Project UFO' (a charming, cheesier version of the slicker 2019 Project Blue Book drama series) only added to the craze, buoyed by re-runs of Gerry Anderson's 'UFO' and 'Space:1999'. But 1977 is where it all began – and British schools seemed to play a major role, especially in Wales.

The first and most infamous was the Broad Haven County Primary School incident on 4th Feb 1977 (see Mirageman's epic 2012 ATS thread) when fourteen kids witnessed (and later independently drew) a cigar-shaped silvery-green object and a silver-suited humanoid occupant. Although not the focus of this thread, you may like to keep Broad Haven in mind, depending where the evidence for three other similar sightings that year takes us!




In Anglesey, the Rhos-y-bol County Primary School UFO visitation occurred only twelve days later on Wednesday 16th Feb 1977, and was first reported in Bufora Journal, Vol 6, No 1, May/June 1977 before local and national newspapers picked it up. It was witnessed from a school yard by nine schoolgirls aged between 8 and 11 (pictured above as adults), but this time also by a teacher, Mrs Mair Williams, during a netball session. While demonstrating how to throw the ball into the net, 10-year-old Gwawr Jones spotted something in the sky:


“I shouted to the others and they all looked up and saw it. It had a black dome on top and a silver cigar-shaped base. It was travelling smoothly across the sky in a northerly direction. It went behind the only cloud in the sky and reappeared again, and then disappeared. Mrs Williams took us inside and, without conferring, we all got a piece of paper and drew what we saw.”


Little Gwawr estimated the incident lasted four minutes, although the teacher believed it was one to two minutes.

Dr David Clarke (one of the most agreeable open-minded sceptics out there today) curated the transfer of 210 files from the Ministry Of Defence's archives into the public domain, the work taking four years from 2009 to 2013. Sure enough, the Rhos-y-bol case was amongst them, the above account contained within a letter sent to RAF Valley in North Wales, endorsed by Mrs Williams and accompanied by multiple drawings from the nine kids.

Did their actual teacher lie to the RAF? If so, it was hardly a prime example to set for her class! Importantly, though, unlike Broad Haven whose pupils did not draw their UFO until three days had passed, these schoolgirls drew theirs immediately.

In 2009, the Welsh TV channel SC4 transmitted a documentary (unfortunately not available at the moment) about the Rhys-y-bol sighting as part of their series 'Lle Aeth Pawb' (your guess is as good as mine). Gwawr Bell (nee Jones), then aged 42, attempted to trace her peers from that class of '77, aided by a newspaper's group photograph of them with a model of the UFO. 32 years later, she recalls it was a cold winter's day and a clear sky, adding...


“We all saw it. We went back into school, and we all made a picture of what we had seen. We did them individually, and when we studied them we realised that they were all remarkably similar. The object travelling across the sky had a shiny base with a dark domed top. Later, we also made a model of what we saw. Our headmaster contacted RAF Valley to check if there had been low flying aircraft in the area, but there hadn’t been. There was no explanation for what we saw. Back in 1977 we hadn’t heard of UFOs and had no preconceived idea of what a UFO would look like – I just drew a picture of what I had seen."


Is it possible that the very concept of UFOs was beyond the their reach? It sounds unlikely... to a point. As a child, I was a fan of older Hollywood UFO movies and TV series such as Quinn Martin's 'The Invaders' and 'Doctor Who', but I'd never thought of UFOs as a 'real-life' world phenomenon. From my perspective they were pure fiction, so I can maybe understand where Gwawr is coming from. From an adult angle, her teacher told the 'Western Mail':


”It was a really bright afternoon and the object was flying very high towards Bull Bay…I took the children back into school separated them and then told them to draw what they had seen. It was really astonishing – their drawings were all similar. I never believed in these things until I saw this!”


In the MOD files, a covering note from RAF Valley states: “We can offer no positive explanation or identification”.

On the same day as the sighting, the MoD received a report from David Hunt, science master at Penlee Secondary School in Plymouth where four boys and an adult witnessed a cigar-shaped UFO above their playground, too, flying horizontally before climbing into cloud and vanishing.




Eight months later on 4th October 1977, ten kids at Upton Primary School in Macclesfield, Cheshire, witnessed an elliptical UFO that hovered in trees beside their playground before rising and disappearing. Like Mrs Williams in Wales, their teacher Mrs Hindmarsh also immediately asked the kids to draw what they'd seen whilst separated from each other (one example shown above).

The artwork was given to Cheshire Police, Preston Air Traffic Control, and the MoD whose file contains a covering note from a police officer stating: “a remarkable similarity in these sketches with regard to the UFO and its location between two trees”. Compare this sketch, for example, with the previous one above:




Furthermore, the MoD wrote to Mrs Hindmarsh, with the usual waffle about possible misidentification and the likely lack of defence significance.

Rather like my intro, Dr David Clarke notes the surge of UFO-related material on TV and film in 1977 (including the BBC's prime-time documentary 'Out Of This World' by Hugh Burnett). However, he argues that media coverage of the 'Welsh Triangle' (the enticing label for a mass of West Wales sightings in 1977) is a prime potential cause. Broad Haven was the Triangle's star case and the focus of the media, so were Rhos-y-bol, Penlee and Upton's pupils simply hoaxing their sightings to join the media circus?

Were any UFOs ever witnessed at YOUR school, ATSer?


SOURCES:

bufora.org.uk...

www.fourcornersbooks.co.uk...

drdavidclarke.co.uk...

www.dailypost.co.uk...

the-eye.eu...


edit on 7-2-2019 by ConfusedBrit because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 7 2019 @ 11:56 PM
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originally posted by: ConfusedBrit
Did their actual teacher lie to the RAF? If so, it was hardly a prime example to set for her class! Importantly, though, unlike Broad Haven whose pupils did not draw their UFO until three days had passed, these schoolgirls drew theirs immediately.

SOURCES:

bufora.org.uk...
I'm not sure why you ask if the teacher lied, because people see things all the time they don't understand so lying isn't required. Your note about the children at Rhos-y-bol making their drawings immediately is significant I think, and the teacher was smart if she really had the children make the drawings separately so they wouldn't copy each other. I looked for the 9 drawings the 9 children made in your links but only found 3 of them in the bufora.org.uk link, and if they were drawn when the children were separated they are remarkably similar. Maybe too similar, is that why you have doubts?

In contrast, where the Broad haven pics were drawn later they had plenty of time to compare notes and make them more similar but the drawings all look like very different objects to me. I expect some differences in drawings of an ordinary sighting, but not that much.

So the drawings can be far from helpful. Cases with drawings enhance the story-telling a little but they are just stories, and the inconsistency of drawings by multiple witnesses just demonstrates that we really need photos instead of drawings. That wasn't likely to happen back then, but now even schoolchildren have smartphones with cameras so if all these flying saucers were flying around we should have plenty of photos, but we don't, so people probably had UFOs on the brain due to the movie release as you suggested. I think I've seen that correlation documented somewhere, between UFO movie releases and UFO sightings.



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 04:10 PM
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Interesting thread. In particular the report of the vehicle being cigar shaped. That tells you something specific about the propulsion type.



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 04:56 PM
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originally posted by: Arbitrageur
I'm not sure why you ask if the teacher lied.


Well, the implication of lies in all three non-Broad Haven cases is already in the thread title, but only in the interests of balance and pesky human nature. Personally, I don't think she or the kids did lie in that particular case, and the remarkable similarity of the drawings is arguably a strong case for it being what they actually saw (but what the hell is it?). The irony, of course, is that such similarity provides an equally strong case for the opposite!

Each argument will have its supporters, so yes, you're right that drawings can never match up to photos for that very reason.



but now even schoolchildren have smartphones with cameras so if all these flying saucers were flying around we should have plenty of photos, but we don't, so people probably had UFOs on the brain due to the movie release as you suggested. I think I've seen that correlation documented somewhere, between UFO movie releases and UFO sightings.


Even Rendlesham Forest isn't immune from movie correlations due to the 1980 Christmas UK release of Spielberg's Special Edition of 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind'. Travis Walton was accused of being inspired by 'The UFO Incident' (1975, TVM), itself a film of Betty & Barney Hill's case, which was also accused of using an 'Outer Limits' episode as inspiration. Oddly, Roswell (which is a dead case IMO) had no such inspiration in 1947, but it certainly inspired a busy 1950s era of pulp UFO Sci-Fi. It works both ways, I suppose!

Moreover, I'm of the opinion that, logically, genuine UFO sightings (or rather genuinely inexplicable ones) will naturally be few and far between over the decades rather than a constant highway - hence the importance of thoroughly investigating those rare instances when we can.

Thanks - and to BASS - for your interest in the thread subject - it's a strange little corner of UK ufology, not replicated since 1977 as far as I recall.



edit on 10-2-2019 by ConfusedBrit because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:10 PM
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I do not remember any sightings when i was a kid in the 70s but one night something weird came on the television in the evening , just a voice was all i remember pretending to be a alien but the weird thing i have read was it was supposed to be the other side of the UK it was heard in



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:11 PM
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a reply to: stonerwilliam

www.independent.co.uk...
edit on 2/10/2019 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:15 PM
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a reply to: Phage

Yes that was the one but for some weird reason we heard it when it was only supposed to be a part of England that received it

Many years ago i was working in a small police station and was shown this transmitter of very high power that made me go mmmm



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:16 PM
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a reply to: stonerwilliam

[EDIT: Wow, Phage was quick on the draw! I think it's a slightly different video.]

Yes, the infamous ITV (Meridian region, down south) 'Alien Warning' broadcast on November 26th 1977 at 5.10pm.

Here it is in all its bizarre glory:





Bless the good old days!



edit on 10-2-2019 by ConfusedBrit because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:21 PM
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a reply to: ConfusedBrit

That always puzzled me as we lived in the North of Scotland and it came on the television say 7-8 pm one night , i totally forgot about it till years ago but remember it being talked about the next night on the news ?



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:35 PM
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a reply to: stonerwilliam

Mind you, West Lothian in Scotland still boasts one of the most fascinating UK UFO cases ever - Bob Taylor's mind-bogglingly mysterious November 1979 close encounter of a second - and possibly third - kind.

A little trip down memory lane for you...





The 1970s is a veritable treasure trove of downright peculiar UFO activity (as well as 1980 for Rendlesham) in the UK.


edit on 10-2-2019 by ConfusedBrit because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:40 PM
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a reply to: ConfusedBrit

I heard many people go on about Bonny bridge when i lived near there years ago , never saw anything but i sure did hear advanced tech one morning above my flat



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:42 PM
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a reply to: ConfusedBrit

The 70s had the best music too!



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:49 PM
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originally posted by: Phage
a reply to: ConfusedBrit

The 70s had the best music too!


I concur!



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:50 PM
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a reply to: BASSPLYR

Coincidence?



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:54 PM
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a reply to: Phage

How many folks realise that Elton John in 1974 had 'Seen The Saucers...?






I know, right?



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:54 PM
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a reply to: Phage

Nope. it definitely all ties in....especially the music.



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 05:56 PM
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a reply to: ConfusedBrit

How many know that Reggie was keyboard for T-Rex?



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 06:00 PM
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a reply to: Phage

Small planet Phage small planet bud one of my family worked for Ian and had something to do with his fish farm in the early days i saw him a few times years ago he used to come into my mothers cafe regularly and nobody bothers he is very down to earth , worked at Boleskin house but never met Jimmy Page



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: stonerwilliam

His name isn't Jethro?

Ok.

Back to UFOs...



posted on Feb, 10 2019 @ 06:05 PM
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a reply to: Phage

You would be surprised who you meet in my part of the world Phage as a lot of rich people have holiday homes and like the quiet life and just letting their hair down




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