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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2005 > May > May 28

UFO Sightings Sparked MoD Probe

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Sat, 28 May 2005 09:24:42 -0400
Fwd Date: Sat, 28 May 2005 09:24:42 -0400
Subject: UFO Sightings Sparked MoD Probe

Source: The Western Mail - Wales, UK


May 28 2005

UFO Sightings Sparked MoD Probe

Sam Burson
Western Mail

A spate of UFO sightings in Wales prompted a secret Ministry of
Defence investigation, newly-released information has revealed.

The clamour around the possibility of "little green men"
visiting Pembrokeshire forced Government officials to look into
the situation in the late 1970s.

There were numerous tabloid reports, including one of an entire
class of schoolchildren claiming to have seen a UFO landing.

Many others reported being petrified by a strange silver alien.

It all happened in what became known as the Broad Haven

Canny tourist operators even started running UFO sighting

But new documents show despite publicly dismissing the reports
as hoaxes, defence experts were racing to get answers.

In a letter from May 1977, MoD minister Dr John Gilbert MP tells
officials in the department, "I am being inundated at the
present time with representations about UFOs said to have been
seen in Pembrokeshire."

He asks whether any investigations are being carried out.

A reply tells the minister, "We look into detailed reports of
unexplained phenomena to see if they have a bearing on the
national defences."

But they reassured we were not in danger of alien takeover,
saying, "My department has carried out that type of
investigation on the reports received from Wales, but these have
been few in recent months.

"No evidence has been revealed to suggest that the alleged
sightings in Wales, or indeed those reported from other parts of
Great Britain in the past, contained anything of significance
from a defence point of view.

"All I can tell you on the basis of the department's past
experience, is that most reports of this nature can usually be
referred to a commonplace object, which may have been observed
perhaps from an unusual angle or in somewhat unusual weather or
lighting conditions."

However, unbeknown to the minister, the RAF in West Wales was
asked to carry out a "discreet" investigation.

An extract of a private memorandum to the Provost and Security
Service of the RAF, (effectively the military police), reads, "I
should be grateful if you would have a look at these papers and
let me know whether you think some sort of discreet inquiry
would be worthwhile.

"What I would really like to know is the volume of local
interest and/or alarm, and whether there is a readily
discernible rational explanation for it (perhaps a practical
joker), or even whether there is prima facie evidence for a more
serious specialist enquiry.

"But I have not committed you in any way, and I have not even
told the minister I am consulting you."

The report called for has yet to be released.

Sheffield University's folklore lecturer Dr David Clarke, who
uncovered the other documents under the Freedom of Information
Act, is now trying to track it down.

Dr Clarke, who is researching a book called Saucer Full of
Secrets about the folklore of UFO sightings, said, "I was really
surprised to find this.

"Generally the MoD dismisses these things and doesn't take them
too seriously.

"But to find they ordered an investigation behind the Minster's
back is pretty interesting.

"It's not quite the X-Files, but it is along the same lines."

Dr Clarke is now trying to get hold of people who were featured
in what he sees as the tall tales of nearly 30 years ago.

"What I'd really like is to speak to some of the kids who
apparently saw the alien craft."

A newspaper at the time reported Broad Haven Primary School
headmaster Ralph Llewellyn backing the claims of his pupils, 14
of whom had drawn similar pictures of the craft.

"What would be fantastic is to meet whoever it was wearing the
alien suit," added Dr Clarke.

"As far as I've been able to work out it was someone living
locally, who'd got hold of a chemical suit, having a great time
terrifying people."

UFO 'hysteria'

In 1977 the talk of Pembrokeshire was all about UFOs.

Among dozens of alleged sightings, Billy and Pauline Coombes,
living at a remote farmhouse near Broad Haven, were apparently
terrified to see a 7ft giant in a silver suit outside their
front room window at 1am.

Josephine Hewison, meanwhile, was reported to have seen a 50ft
craft the shape of an upturned jelly mould parked outside her

As well as pranksters, and talk of strange goings-on at local
military bases, folklore expert Dr David Clarke thinks films
fuel the hysteria.

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars had just come
out, so the idea of space was very much at the front of people's
minds, which is fascinating in itself."

Anyone with stories or recollections from the time wanting to
help David's research can get in touch on 07906 377 988.

The West Wales Star Wars connection

UFO fever in Pembrokeshire reached its zenith in the winter of

Stories leaked about a strange saucer being housed in a Pembroke
Dock warehouse.

It turned out to be a life-sized copy of the Millennium Falcon,
which was being created for the Star Wars sequel The Empire
Strikes Back, pictured above.

About 30 people working on the project had been sworn to secrecy
by producer George Lucas, and had to refer to it by its code-
name Magic Roundabout.

Marcon Fabrications, which normally worked with nearby
petrochemical industry, were charged with building Han Solo's
famous starship.

It was able fly millimetres off the ground on compressed air to
enable it to be moved easily.

Shortly after the well-kept secret was finally exposed, the
'spaceship' was dismantled and taken by road to Elstree Studios
where it was reassembled for the film studios in London.

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