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The UFO situation in the United Kingdom began with UFO recovery operations that began since the 1950s.[2] The UK’s UFO craft recovery operations involve (1) securing UFO craft, its occupants, and materiels (2) “scrubbing” and incorporating protection of the Landing zones (LZs), and (3) drafting an assessment of the UFO situation for the Ministry of Defence on UFO phenomena.

The Rendlesham Forest UFO incident in England, and the Llandrillo UFO incident in Wales, are considered to be some of the UFO craft recovery operations.

Assessment of the UFO situation[edit | edit source]

The United Kingdom UFO files released in 2010 show that the UK government took the threat of UFOs seriously in the 1950s. UK intelligence chiefs met to discuss the UFO situation.[3]

In 1950, PM Clement Attlee, Leader of the Labour Party, commissioned a small group of scientists called the Flying Saucer Working Party to conduct a serious scientific study on UFO aerial phenomena and to debunk it. They produced 'DSI/JTIC Report No 7' to accomplish this task. It explains that UFO aerial phenomena can be explained as natural phenomena, or “perfectly normal aircraft”. The report is classified as “Secret Discreet”, meaning that the six page document is allowed to be disseminated with discretion, typically within MoD intelligence branches.[4] Report No 7 reflects the Ministry of Defence in the United Kingdom’s current official ‘position on UFOs’ — that UFO aerial phenomena is rubbish. The MoD has stood-by this document since 1951, despite further studies.

Redbook[edit | edit source]

From 1952 to at least the nineties, Ministers commissioned weekly reports on UFO sightings from a committee of Defence Intelligence. The subject of "aerial phenomena" was part of Red Book, a secretive UFO tracking project that was maintained by the Cabinet Office's Joint Intelligence Committee. In 1957, the committee received reports detailing an average of one UFO sighting a week. The papers include a wartime meeting attended by Prime Minister Winston Churchill who was so concerned about a reported encounter between a UFO and RAF bombers, that he ordered it be kept secret for at least 50 years to prevent "mass panic" and as Nick Pope explains, "would shatter people's religious views."[3] Four incidents involving UFOs tracked by RAF radars were "unexplained". Nick Pope notes that most of the UFO files from this period have been destroyed.[3]

United Nations directives[edit | edit source]

In the mid 1970s, the United Nations addressed the UFO phenomenon. The UN “adopted a resolution in 1978 asking all nations to pay close attention to the UFO problem.”[2] In 1992, considered ‘the international year of space’, the United Nations had again brought up the UFO issue, with the address: “It has been reported that so far some 400,000 people over the world have claimed to have witnessed UFOs.”[2]

The Ministry of Defence employed Nick Pope to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) in the early 1990s. Member of Parliament Norman Baker addressed the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 April 2006 to Question 63392, on Mr Nick Pope, if he will list the persons employed since 1994 to investigate unidentified aerial phenomena [65363], [5] and to “what capacity Mr. Nick Pope was employed by his Department between 1991 and 1994.” [63392] The Honourable Don Touhig replied that Pope worked as a civil servant within Secretariat (air staff). He undertook a wide range of secretariat tasks relating to central policy, political and parliamentary aspects of non-operational RAF activity. Part of his duties related to the investigation of unidentified aerial phenomena reported to the Department to see if they had any defence significance.[6] Mr Pope was succeeded in post in July 1994 by Miss Kerry Philpott who filled the post until October 1998. This post was vacant for a period and the task of examining reports of unidentified aerial phenomena to establish whether they contained anything of defence significance was covered by a member of support staff, Miss Gaynor South, until the post was filled by Mr Adrian Nash in January 1999. Mr Nash left the post in October 1999 and these duties were again covered by Miss South until the present incumbent of the post, Mrs Linda Unwin, took up office in February 2000.[5]

From 1997 to 2000, while France was conducting the Cometa study, the British Government's Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) undertook their own secret UFO study known as Project Condign.[7] The results of Project Condign were compiled into a 400-page document titled Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Air Defence Region that drew on approximately 10,000 sightings and reports that had been gathered by the DI55, a section of the Directorate of Scientific and Technical Intelligence (DSTI) within the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS).[7][8] It was released into the public domain on 15 May 2006 after a September 2005 Freedom of Information Act request by UFO researchers David Clarke, a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, and Gary Anthony, a former BUFORA astronomical consultant. The identity of the report's author/s was not made public.[7][8]

UFO sightings[edit | edit source]

UFOs are unidentified aerial phenomena. Reports of such sightings peaked in 1996 in the United Kingdom. There were more than 600 reports in 1996, compared with an average of 240 in the previous five years. The figures for 1996 show 609 reported sightings of unidentified flying objects, 343 letters from the public to the MoD's UFO desk and 22 enquiries and questions from MPs.[3] Many more sightings have become known since the gradual release of the UK’s UAP files by the National Archives since 2008.[9]

References[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

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