The British Isles have had many sightings, yet apart from the Berwyn Mountain Crash and another event in Wales very few of these claim to involve actual landings. The Rendlesham incident is one of the United Kingdom's most well known and documented sightings, and along with the Berwyn Crash Incident it ranks at the top of all the UK sightings.
Unlike the Berwyn incident there seems to be far less official denial, in fact it was US military personnel who were directly involved in the sighting itself, also radar tracking had been following the object prior to the reported landing. That doesn't mean there is no cover up or official silencing, UK Government and Military just seemed to ignore it, which is surprising when you think of what was stored at the base.
Rendlesham is located in Suffolk, a few miles from the East coast north of Felixstowe and to the east of Ipswich. Two Military Air Bases Bentwaters and Woodbridge lay beside the large area of forest. This area around the Norfolk coast appeared to be 'visited' over a period of several nights in late December, 1980.
Suffolk Coast showing Rendlesham Forest in centre. Along with the two US Air Force bases Woodbridge and Bentwaters.
The two bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge were leased to the United States Air Force. home of the 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron., The unit was subject only to the Department of Defence in Washington, D.C. It was believed that the airbases had a large stockpile of nuclear weapons.
The initial sightings were notified to the military personnel at Bentwaters air force base who dispatched a patrol of officers to investigate, it was these officers who made the actual sighting of the object on the ground. The area is still investigated by Ufologists, with various accounts of high levels of radiation, but it is the eyewitness accounts by credible professionals that make this event a cornerstone of belief among those who believe in or investigate UFO sightings or landings.
On 27th December just after midnight another air base belonging to the RAF tracked an unknown object RAF Watton followed the object which suddenly disappeared off radar in the vicinity of Rendlesham Forest. This was also tracked by the Bentwaters airbase close to where the object disappeared.
The events began with the sighting of a gigantic glowing object by three security guards patrolling the twin bases, after receiving permission to check out the strange sightings, they followed the lights into the forest. Their first impression was that it was a commercial or Military aircraft which had been forced to crash land, however as they got closer it became obvious that this was not the case and they were shocked and somewhat frightened to observe a 'saucer-like' craft with small beings with large heads which appeared to be suspended below the craft on a form of beam, these beings appeared to be performing repairs to the damaged craft.
The Patrol maintained a safe distance and appeared to be out of sight and unnoticed by the beings, after being initially transfixed by the strange events and what they were observing they put in a radio call to the base and reported what they were observing and requested help. Shortly after assistance arrived in the form of a fully equipped and armed unit and the presence of senior officers.
Those that had ventured closest to the strange craft reported later of strange anomalies including surreal atmospheric conditions and ''Reality Bending Effects' such as time displacement.
Colonel Halt, who was called out on the second night of the sightings, was one of the group of senior officers to follow the glowing object into the forest. He made a cassette recording detailing the event in the woods.
Halt was a career Air Force officer, serving in Vietnam and on various bases before arriving at Bentwaters in 1980. He was promoted to base commander in 1984. Halt later served as base commander at Kunsan Air Base, Korea, and was director of the inspections directorate for the Department of Defence inspector general. He would become a key figure in the Rendlesham investigation, He retired in 1991.
Many accounts of the nights strange events at Rendlesham exist, not only about the night of the landing but of the events over the following weeks. Typically as seems to happen with all these events government officials appeared, several of the men were whisked away by the official-looking gentlemen and escorted to an underground facility, where soldiers were interrogated, debriefed, sworn to secrecy and also threatened. Oddly they were shown a number of films of different UFO recoveries around the world.
There are many similarities between the Rendlesham incident and the infamous 'Roswell Incident' which happened in New Mexico in 1947. They were both close to manned top secret US military bases, both involving US military staff.
The full events of December 1980 were kept out of the public knowledge (apart from those that had seen it) at least until 1983. when Robert Todd of the Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) secured a copy of an official report of the events through the Freedom of Information Act in 1983. The paper was dated 1-13-81, and had been sent to the British Ministry of Defence by Colonel Halt.
The events of Rendlesham have been published in numerous newspapers, magazine articles and also on several television shows, including among others "Unsolved Mysteries," "Sightings," and "Strange But True,".
Three of the Patrolmen from that night, Jim Penniston, John Burroughs, and Larry Warren later co-wrote a book about the events which revealed many more details. This book is called "Left at East Gate." .
Another statement about the nights events was made by Mal Scurrah, the Radar Operator at the time.
Mal Scurrah, stated:
"We didn't have the faintest idea what it was. We checked through the air traffic agencies. There should have been nothing in that area at the time. The only thing we could do was send a jet aircraft in to find out what it was. They got to within about a quarter of a mile and the pilot suddenly started reporting that they could see a very bright light in the sky in front of them. It was stationary on the screen and then, in seconds, it moved off at a fantastic rate of speed. Within the space of five minutes, it was reaching 90,000 feet and higher and we lost it off the top end of the radar scope. There's nothing we have in this day that can perform those kind of manoeuvres, the pilots wouldn't be able to take it."
Over twenty years after the incident, some one suddenly came forward to claim it was a hoax, that he had been playing a trick on the servicemen and what they saw was in fact his police light bar and his searchlight.
Is this yet another attempt to cover up what really happened?
Would a serving officer at a military base, knowing that the base was on high alert towards the end of the cold war with the Russians, actually go out of his way to play tricks on senior officers? Would he have not feared the severe reprimand or arrest and imprisonment? Would he have risked discharge from the USAF just for a prank ?
The BBC reported this hoax in the following document, but the hoax claim itself appears more unbelievable than the original incident.
Another book has been written by an investigative writer Georgina Bruni, she has thoroughly researched and investigate the reports available after a discussion with Baroness Margaret Thatcher on Unidentified Flying Objects. It was her response to this that inspired her to write the book and name it after Baroness Thatcher's comment. Georgina Bruni asked Mrs Thatcher what she thought of UFOs...
"UFOs?, You must get your facts right, and you can't tell the people."
Just what is known to the Government that they are not telling us ?