August 13-14, 1956: UFOs over East Anglia Aug 13, 2019 19:32:39 GMT -5
Post by JoannaB on Aug 13, 2019 19:32:39 GMT -5
August 13-14, 1956: UFOs over East Anglia
At 9:30 on the evening of Monday, August 13, 1956, Airman John Vaccare, a member of the U.S. Air Force serving at RAF Bentwaters, a British air station approximately 80 miles northwest of London in the county of Suffolk, was tracking something on radar. The object flew 40 to 50 miles in 30 seconds, indicating an impossible speed of 4,800 to 6,000 miles-per-hour. A few minutes thereafter, Vaccare informed Sergeant L. Whenry that according to the size of the blip on the radar scope, a group of 12 to 15 unidentified targets he had been tracking “appeared to converge into one very large object ... which seemed to be several times larger than a B-36 aircraft” (a plane with a wingspan of 230 feet). The single large blip ceased twice for several minutes while being tracked.
A 10 o’clock, a single unidentified target on an east-to-west course was tracked as it covered 55 miles in 16 seconds, indicating a speed of more than 12,000 miles-per-hour. At 10:55, the GCA radar picked up another unidentified target on the same course moving at what was estimated to be 2,000 to 4,000 mph and one man in the control tower reported seeing “a bright light passing over the field from east to west at around 4,000 feet.” At approximately the same time, the pilot of a C-47 said, “a bright light streaked under my aircraft traveling east to west at terrific speed.”
Shortly thereafter, radars at both Bentwaters and RAF Lakenheath (a station around 45 miles to the northwest) picked up a stationary object 20 to 25 miles southwest of the latter base that suddenly moved north at 400 to 600 mph. According to those observing the object, “there was no build-up to this speed – it was constant from the second it started to move until it stopped” and the craft made several abrupt changes of direction without slowing for turns. At approximately 11:30, RAF Waterbeach (some 20 miles to the southwest of Lakenheath) launched a de Havilland Venom jet interceptor and according to a U.S. Air Force report:
“Pilot advised he had a bright white light in sight and would investigate. At 13 miles west he reported loss of target and white light. Lakenheath (radar) vectored him to a target 10 miles east of Lakenheath and pilot advised target was on his radar and was ‘locking on.’ Pilot then reported he had lost target on his radar.
“Lakenheath GCA reports that as the Venom passed the target on radar, the target began a tail chase of the friendly fighter. Radar requested pilot acknowledge this chase. Pilot acknowledged and stated he would try to circle and get behind the target. Pilot advised he was unable to ‘shake’ the target off his tail and requested assistance.
“One additional Venom was scrambled from RAF station. Original pilot stated: ‘Clearest target I have ever seen on radar.’ The following conversation between the two Venom fighter pilots was heard by the Lakenheath watch supervisor:
PILOT 2: “Did you see anything?”
PILOT 1: “I saw something, but I’ll be damned if I know what it was.”
PILOT 2: “What happened?”
PILOT 1: “He – or it – got behind me and I did everything I could to get behind him and I couldn’t. It’s the damndest thing I've ever seen.”
F.H.C. Wimbledon, the RAF Fighter Controller on duty at RAF Neatishead (approximately 40 miles north of Bentwaters), reported as follows:
“I was Chief Controller on duty at the main RAF Radar Station in East Anglia on the night in question. My duties were to monitor the radar picture and to scramble the Battle Flight, who were on duty 24 hours a day, to intercept any intruder of British airspace not positively identified in my sector of responsibility.
“I remember Lakenheath USAF base telephoning to say there was some thing ‘buzzing’ their airfield circuit. I scrambled a Venom night fighter from the Battle Flight through Sector and my controller in the Interception Cabin took over control of it. The Interception Control team would consist of one Fighter Controller (an officer), a corporal, a tracker and a height reader. That is, four highly trained personnel in addition to myself could now clearly see the object on our radarscopes.
“After being vectored onto the trail of the object by my interception controller, the pilot called out, ‘Contact,’ then a short time later, ‘Judy,’ which meant the navigator had the target fairly and squarely on his own radar screen and needed no further help from the ground. He continued to close on the target but after a few seconds, and in the space of one or two sweeps of our scopes, the object appeared behind our fighter.
“Our pilot called out, ‘Lost contact, more help,’ and he was told the target was now behind him and he was given fresh instructions.
“I then scrambled a second Venom which was vectored toward the area but before it arrived on the scene the target had disappeared from our scopes and although we continued to keep a careful watch was not seen by us.
“The fact remains that at least nine RAF ground personnel and two RAF aircrew were conscious of an object sufficiently ‘solid’ to give returns on radar. Naturally, all this was reported and a senior officer from the Air Ministry came down and interrogated us.”
The 1969 report by the Air Force-funded study at the University of Colorado under the supervision of Dr. Edward U. Condon concluded: “In summary, this is the most puzzling and unusual case in the radar-visual files. The apparent rational, intelligent behavior of the UFO suggests a mechanical device of unknown origin as the most probable explanation of this sighting. However, in view of the inevitable fallibility of witnesses, more conventional explanations of this report cannot be entirely ruled out.”
Sources: U.S. Air Force, "Bentwaters-Lakenheath, England," page 33, Project Blue Book; Dr. James E. McDonald, "Lakenheath and Bentwaters RAF/USAF Units, August 13-14, 1956"; and Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects by Edward Condon.