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UFO Britannia: Part 1 – The Early Years

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posted on Dec, 19 2012 @ 07:46 AM

The MOD has no opinion on the existence or otherwise of extra-terrestrial life. However, in over fifty years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom. The MOD has no specific capability for identifying the nature of such sightings. There is no Defence benefit in such investigation and it would be an inappropriate use of defence resources. Furthermore, responding to reported UFO sightings diverts MOD resources from tasks that are relevant to Defence.


What exactly did this mean? We will need to go back to the past to find out.

This series of posts will highlight a selection of Close Encounter stories from Great Britain during the last century to highlight a variety of experiences and link to existing threads that provide more detail. Many of these get buried rapidly on ATS, get few replies and so go unnoticed . There are also a number of cases that have not been discussed in a full thread here.

What will become apparent is that Britain has a number of unsolved UFO cases. There is also evidence to suggest that UFOs are real and that the British Establishment has often simply ignored them and at other times made attempts to cover up their existence.

Before World War II, the world was a very different place. The terms UFO and Flying Saucer were yet to be defined. So to warm things up we will start at the very dawn of the 20th Century.

1901 Bournbrook

One of the earliest reports comes from the first days of the post-Victorian era in 1901. The witness was a young boy of 10 who chose to remain anonymous when he told his story. Returning home to Bournbrook, West Midlands on a warm summer day, he walked down a path near the back of his home and noticed a strange object sitting on the grass. It was around 4” in height and width and no more than 6” long. It had no windows, just a small door and a ‘turret’.

Two small entities came out of the door. One of them approached the witness with his hands held in such a way as if to signal that he should retreat and keep back. They were both described as humanlike in a close fit grey/green military style uniform, clean shaven and about 30-40 years of age. Both also wore a cap that covered their ears with a wire like protrusion from each side. The entities then quickly returned to the “craft” as the witness began to back off. He recalls a bright flash and an electric arc lit all around the object. There was a “whoosh” sound and the object disappeared rapidly with a pulsating red light above the rooftops. A number of local neighbours remembered hearing the noise.

The original witness never considered the experience to be a UFO or alien encounter and had often tried to make sense of his experience. He even drew this sketch when interviewed again in the 1950s. He still believed that what he saw was something odd rather than something from another world.

Source : Flying Saucer Review Vol 25 No. 4

The tale, if true, is one of the very first humanoid contact tales of the 20th century. Compared to other nations, sightings of alien beings have been few and far between down the decades across the British Isles.

Caerphilly Mountain 1909

This is a rare story of a dock worker, Mr. C. Lethbridge who also travelled about with a Punch & Judy show during the light evenings in 1909. Around 11 pm on May 18th he was walking home over Caerphilly mountain. As he walked over the summit he noticed a tube shaped contraption and two men working on something close by. They wore large heavy fur coats with tight fitting fur caps. Lethbridge became quite nervous as he got closer and the noise of his cart appeared to startle the men as he got within 50-60 feet of them.

They then began to furiously converse in a strange language according Lethbridge. The tube shaped object began to rise and the odd looking men jumped into a small carriage suspended below it. The object rose in a zig zag fashion and then sailed in the direction of Cardiff clearly showing 2 wheels below the carriage and a whirring fan at the rear. Next day investigators visited the scene. They found trampled grass, a papier mache like substance and a small object like the regulator to an air valve. The mystery was never solved but the finger was pointed at foreign spies. These airship stories had actually started two months before. But South Wales seemed a strange place to land.
Original source : Daily Mail of May 20th 1909

The 1909 Scareship flap

During the night of March 23rd 1909, Constable Kettle saw 'a strange, oblong and narrow craft passing over the city' of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. The incident was the start of a series of sightings in the United Kingdom throughout April and May of 1909. The majority of sightings came from East Anglia and South Wales. The London Standard noted :

“With few exceptions they all speak of a torpedo-shaped object, possessing two powerful searchlights, which comes out early at night."

PC Kettle’s statement

Back in 1909 the only thing torpedo-shaped and capable of flight, known to man, was the airship. The national and local press all assumed this the most likely explanation for these machines and some coined the term 'scareships'.

There were actually very few airships operating across Britain and Ireland at this time. Jane's All the World's Air-ships, first published in 1909, listed just two in operation. Neither was equipped with high power searchlights.

One conclusion was that a foreign power was testing their craft over Britain and surveying the local defensive capabilities. The main suspect was Germany. Zeppelin's airships were as long as a battleship, could stay aloft for hours, and carry more than 10 men and a payload of bombs. No other country possessed craft with anything close to these offensive capabilities. More importantly anti-German feeling was growing in Great Britain as stories of German spies began to grow in the popular, but jingoistic as ever, Daily Mail.

Some sightings supported the idea that Zeppelins were responsible. For example, Mr. Free of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, saw a long sausage-shaped airship manoeuvring over the cliffs for a few minutes at dusk:

" It hovered at 600 feet for a few minutes, and then departed in a north-easterly direction. "

The following day, Free found 'a curious object', a sort of piston weighing 35 lb and stamped with the words 'Müller Bremen Fabrik'. This was taken to mean that it was made in a factory in Bremen, Germany, and the War Office reportedly confiscated it. But investigations failed to turn up any such factory and it was virtually impossible for airships from Germany to have visited Britain in 1909.

No German records have ever been found to confirm this and any journey would have presented a great risk for the underpowered, slow airships of the early 20th Century.

continued below>>>
edit on 19/12/12 by mirageman because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 19 2012 @ 07:52 AM

The 1909 Scareship flap


Reports of these airships invariably included stories of high power searchlights beaming onto the landscape below. This would hardly keep their presence secret.

It could be that Britain was preparing itself for the coming threat from Germany and so stories were placed in the press as propaganda. That seems a little far-fetched. The British press would never subject itself to such sensationalism and fabrication for its own agenda would it? Weapons of mass destruction? The pioneer of democracy would surely not stoop to such tactics?

1909 was not the last year that phantom airships were reported in Britain. There was an incident at Sheerness, Kent, in October 1912 where engine sounds were heard overhead and even provoked questions at Westminster. With tension between Britain and Germany at an all time high, it was suggested that a Zeppelin was involved.

On 27th November 1912 William Joynson-Hicks MP raised the matter in Parliament with the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. He confirmed that reports had been received, but said that subsequent investigations had not produced any rational explanation. Perhaps this piqued a long term interest in Churchill?

This was followed by dozens of sightings of mystery airships in February 1913 throughout the British Isles, at times witnessed by crowds of thousands of people. The start of the Great War saw another spate of homeland sightings in August 1914. The MoD (or War Office as it was then) even sent one of its precious few aircraft to search the Lake District for a foreign airship rumoured to be scouting the area.

Unconfirmed airship sightings continued during World War I over mainland Britain. Whilst some can be attributed to mistakes and paranoia the War Office could not ignore unexplained intrusions of their airspace. This would remain a concern, albeit one often concealed from the public, throughout the century.

The scareship cases illustrate how UFO sightings will often appear to a witness to be craft of a technology just slightly beyond the cutting edge of the day. But also remain something of a mystery as to what their origin was.

See also :

1922 Barmouth, Wales

On Sept. 11th 1922 in Barmouth, Wales, John Morris, steersman of the local lifeboat, and another witness saw what they thought was an aircraft falling, with ‘extraordinary slowness’, into the Irish Sea. They took a motorboat out to investigate but found nothing. There was no report immediately afterwards of any terrestrial aircraft having gone missing.

If there were de-bunkers around in the day then they would have surely classed this as a Chinese lantern or maybe because of the location and circumstances, an ‘Irish lantern’, being essentially the same thing just a bit slower. Joking apart this may be one of the earliest observations in Britain of USOs in the Irish Sea.

1934 New Forest, England

Late in the evening of July 14th 1934, French tourist, Paul Faiveley was returning to his holiday cabin in the New Forest when suddenly all around was illuminated by a perfectly circular disc, vivid white in colour. It had been moving slowly but stopped and hovered above him. Then after a couple of minutes the object developed a blue halo around it. After a further minute, the blue light went out, the vivid white light faded and turned to a yellow, orange and finally red hue before the object disappeared rapidly into the sky.

This is an early tale of a strange moving, colourful light in the sky that suddenly disappears. This type of story was to increase exponentially within 2 decades.

Things get a lot more interesting in Part 2.This will cover World II and a Post War UFO cover up within the British Establishment. Watch this space!

edit on 19/12/12 by mirageman because: tidy up

posted on Dec, 19 2012 @ 08:34 AM
Exellent post!!

Don't think i have heard of any of these cases before, its always interesting to hear new stuff like this,
does make you wonder tho, maybe some were the germans but i recall there bein loads of
"mystery airship" sightings at the start of the century world wide, so who knows!

cant wait for part 2!!

posted on Dec, 19 2012 @ 09:22 AM
reply to post by mirageman

Thank you OP S + F

I have heard of none of these cases except the french one in New Forest, the scareships are fascinating just like you mentioned they tend to be just ahead of our tech but not much, the flashlights for example, we would not be able to produce them light enough at the time I don't think or the batteries for that matter. Then there would be the good possibility of blowing the airship up.

It may have been german tech of the time but it would have to have been kept super secret and then really it's in doubt. Would you really test tech well ahead of the time on the brits? seems a bit far to me I'd test it in scandinavian countries or border countries.
It also could be the properganda of the time or someone maybe something else.

Fascinating OP I can't wait for part 2

Also I would of said with the Irish sea case it may have been a flare but the fact that he is the steersman of a lifeboat I think that would pretty much rule that out. He would have tested with flares and done coastwatches too, Britain took safety on the coast very serious after the early 1900's something the US came to visit and adopt on the east coast

posted on Dec, 19 2012 @ 09:52 AM

Originally posted by mirageman

The MOD has no opinion on the existence or otherwise of extra-terrestrial life. However, in over fifty years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom. The MOD has no specific capability for identifying the nature of such sightings. There is no Defence benefit in such investigation and it would be an inappropriate use of defence resources. Furthermore, responding to reported UFO sightings diverts MOD resources from tasks that are relevant to Defence.


What exactly did this mean?

It means that unless something shows up and starts blasting lumps off Big Ben and therefore becomes uncontrolable public knowledge, the MoD couldn't give a rat's a$$ (in pubic anyway) and that any discussion of said subject is beneath the MoD. What it doesn't say is that there are no aliens, no knowledge of aliens and no alien spaceships, it just states that it has no opinion on the matter and they aren't threatened by UFOs.

It's classic MoD guff for letting people interpret incorrectly what has been stated.

posted on Dec, 19 2012 @ 05:50 PM

Originally posted by mirageman
Before World War II, the world was a very different place. The terms UFO and Flying Saucer were yet to be defined.

UAP in the UK Air Defence Region
edit on 19/12/12 by mcrom901 because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 19 2012 @ 11:39 PM
what about the rendlesham forest incident.

and the halt memo released by a freedom of information act by the air force.

so this did happen.

and if colonel halt was making all that crap up, why wasn't he immediately released from duty or forced to retire.

instead he stayed on for another 10 years and retired as a full colonel.

i would call that proof. as well as the testimony of the couple of dozen personnel that saw that object over those 3 days.

what it does show though, is that america and the u.k. were powerless to stop them, so it's not so much a conspiracy.

as to admit they can't do much about it, which undermines their military strength and position.

at least back then.

edit on 19-12-2012 by randomname because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 20 2012 @ 05:40 AM
reply to post by randomname

Sorry for the confusion. This is part 1 and only covers cases up until the 1930s. There is more to come.

Part 2 covers the WWII years and the late 1940s here:

Rendlesham happened in 1980 so is some way off being covered as I am still working on the 1950s and 60s at the moment.

posted on Dec, 23 2012 @ 04:50 AM
reply to post by mirageman

Actually spying airships be-bopping around pre-WWI didn't have a lot to worry about. There weren't fighter/pursuer aircraft and there weren't anti-aircraft guns either. Seems terrestrial airships/zepplins are the go-to explanation for cigar-shaped craft with propellors. The Germans definitely would have liked to float up to Scapa Flow, which was the primary naval base for the British fleet then, and it is at the northern end of the isle.

And how did this kid tell that these less than 4" tall "entities" looked liked they were in their 30's? But it would be amusing if visiting extraterrestrials turned out to be teeny-tiny critters.

posted on Jan, 18 2013 @ 07:10 PM
Excellent work, many thanks !

I'd just like to add for future reference that back then...
there was no photoshop or CGI.

posted on Jan, 19 2013 @ 09:05 AM
I thought a UFO could have crashed in Germany in the 1930s, but the information says that the Germans were visited in the 1920s or came across a close encounter around that time. They probably realized the UFOs go undeground or underwater.

"an 'alien tutor race' that secretly began cooperating with certain German scientists in the late 1920s in underground bases and began to introduce their concepts of philosophical, cultural, and technological progress" - Vladimir Terziski
'(he) maintains that antigravity research began in the 1920s with the first hybrid antigravity circular craft, the RFZ-1, constructed by the secret Vril society.'

(Sorry I was talking about Germans going to the moon and didn't realize the thread was just on the British Empire.)
edit on 19-1-2013 by greyer because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 19 2013 @ 11:35 AM
reply to post by greyer

The swastika is a sign used in Indian culture to represent their Gods or some outworldy beings. How Hitler came up with it, I do not know. I do not think there is any evidence Hitler has been looking for ancient technology or the past to do something in the present but the motives are interesting. I remember a documentary talking about some telepath or prophet that Hitler used for his plans, this person who was telling the future to Hitler was eventually shot down, afair before WW2 started.

posted on Feb, 8 2013 @ 03:26 PM
reply to post by mirageman

wow mirageman your UFO threads are amazing. so much work and well presented. I am surprised you did not get hundreds of flag for them

Well thank you for your effort, I enjoyed.

posted on Feb, 10 2013 @ 08:15 AM
Interesting reading. S&F.

Lexicographer and linguist J.A.H. Murray was walking across the Oxford University campus on the evening of August 31, 1895, when he saw a:

brilliant luminous body which suddenly emerged over the tops of the trees before me on the left and moved east-ward across the sky above and in front of me. Its appearance was, at first glance, such as to suggest a brilliant meteor, considerably larger than Venus at her greatest brilliancy, but the slowness of the motion . . . made one doubt whether it was not some artificial firework. ... I watched for a second or two till [sic] it neared its culminating point and was about to be hidden from me by the lofty College building, on which I sprang over the corner . . . and was enabled to see it through the space between the old and new buildings of the College, as it continued its course toward the eastern horizon. . . . [I]t became rapidly dimmer . . . and finally disappeared behind a tree. . . . The fact that it so perceptibly grew fainter as it receded seems to imply that it had not a very great elevation. . . . [I]ts course was slower than [that of] any meteor I have ever seen.

Some 20 minutes later, two other observers saw the same or a similar phenomenon, which they viewed as it traversed a "quarter of the heavens" during a five-minute period.


That seems to pretty much fit the description of a receding Earth-grazing meteor, even though it's taken as a 19th-century UFO report.

edit on 10-2-2013 by xpoq47 because: (no reason given)

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