There is a famous UFO case which features in numerous global UFO publications, and is cited on a variety of internet websites. It is said to have
happened on 26 February 1942, in the Timor Sea, north of Australia.
I have recently located a copy (typed) version of the witness’ letter to the Australian Flying Saucer Research Society (AFSRS) in 1957, in the files
of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF.)
1. I requested the National Archives of Australia to digitize file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 part 1, titled “Reports on Flying Saucers and
other aerial objects” in order that I could read the full documentation.
2. Pages 87-88 of the digitized version are a letter dated 6 April 1957 from UFO researcher Peter Norris to the Secretary of Air, advising that
Norris’ society was running a radio segment on UFOs, and asking the Secretary if an officer of his agency could appear on the radio program. The
letter stated that some good reports had come about because of the radio program, and as an example attached a types copy of a letter.
This letter was dated 20 March 1957 from one William Methorst, of 7 Eisenhower Street. East Reservoir, Victoria addressed to the Victorian branch of
The text of the letter read as follows:
After listening to your program on Flying Saucers on Wednesday evening, I thought I would write you and tell you of an experience I had while in the
Timor Sea on Thursday, 26 th February, 1942.
This happened while on watch for enemy aircraft just after noon.
I was scanning the skies with binoculars when suddenly I saw a large aluminum disc approaching at terrific speed at 4,000 or 5,000 feet above us. This
proceeded to circle high above our ship, the cruiser “Tromp” of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
After reporting it to the officer on duty, he was unable to identify it as any known aircraft. After keeping track of this object for about three to
four hours still flying in big circles and at the same height, it suddenly veered off in a tremendous speed (about 3,000 to 3,500mph) and disappeared
I have an account of this in notes made the same day in a diary which I still have in my possession.
Hope you will find this of aid to your investigations.”
3. On the question of “was the ship Tromp in that area at the time?”
I checked on the net for information on the “Tromp.” www.netherlandsnavy.nl...
was invaluable. The Tromp was a cruiser of the
Royal Netherlands Navy, and on 20 February 1942 was in action in WW2 when it was damaged by Japanese destroyers. The Tromp went to Soerabaja. On 23
February 1942 the Tromp left Soerabaja, into the Indian Ocean via Madoera Strait and Bali Strait. It arrived in Fremantle, Western Australian on 27
The net showed Surabaya (formerly Soerabaja) is now Indonesia’s second largest city and is at latitude 7deg16minS, longitude 112deg45min E.
It is therefore probable that on the 26 February 1942 the Tromp would have been in the vicinity of the Western Australian coast, steaming south to
Fremantle, and not in the Timor Sea.
4. On the question “was there a crew member by the name of William Methorst on board the Tromp on 26 February 1942?
I have been unable to locate a crew list for the Tromp, on the net. I therefore sent an email to the contact person for the website
asking if they knew of any way to check a crew list for the tromp for 1942? I received a response from Jan Visser. Jan
checked his files, but could find no-one of the surname Methorst who had been a commissioned officer in the Royal Netherlands Navy in WW2. However,
that still left non-comissioned officers and enlisted men to check.
Jan suggested a number of net forums I could post a request for information on, which I did. I received one response from a Paul Joosten on 31 Jan
2011 who advised he had located an account of the event at wenewsit.com...
This stated the witness was a William J Methorst.
5. Further research:
1. I located Peter Norris, the UFO researcher whom Methorst wrote to about the event. Peter recalled the event, but has no papers on the case in his
2. On the National Archives of Australia name search I failed to find any records of any William Methorst or William J Methorst. However, a search of
the NAA “Passenger Arrivals List” located a William J Methorst who had arrived in Australia on 1 May 1949 onboard the ship Maetsuycker at
Fremantle, WA. NAA file series K269 control symbol Methorst, William J.
3. I located 12 persons named Methorst in the Australian Telstra electronic white pages, and sent each a letter seeking information on a William
Methorst. I received one phone call from a Jan Methorst of Campbelltown, Tasmania, who advised that he was not aware of any William Methorst in his
family line. Jan mentioned that he knew most of the Methorsts listed in the white pages.
I later received an email from an Andy J Methorst of Waverley, Tasmania who advised that he was not aware of any William Methorst in his family
background. He checked with his relatives in Holland and they were not aware of any William J Methorst. I also received letters from Valma Methorst
of Davenport, Tasmania who told me she had telephoned several of her family members here and overseas but no-one knew of a William Methorst. I
received another letter from a Gloria Methorst, of Tasmania, who could not assist me with my enquiries.
1. It would appear that the “Tromp” would not have been in the Timor Sea to the north of Australia on the date indicated by Methorst, but off the
coast of Western Australia.
2. I have not been able to confirm that there was a William Methorst on board the Tromp.
3. I did confirm that there was a William Jan Methorst (carpenter) and a Ruth Methorst (home duties) listed as living at 7 Eisenhower Street,
Reservoir East, Melbourne in the 1959 Commonwealth of Australia, Division of Darebin, state of Victoria, electoral roll. The 1962 electoral roll
shows the same details. Neither the 1963 nor 1964 rolls for Reservoir East list any Methorsts.
4. I have not been able to locate a living relative of William J Methorst, nor any signs of his diary.
Have any ATS members any further information on this event?