Churchill’s UFO cover-up - and other UK X-file tales
Newly released UFO files include claim that Churchill ordered cover-up
A slew of previously classified Ministry of Defence files relating to UFOs, going back as far as the 1950s, has been made public for the first time – and they include a claim that Winston Churchill ordered one sighting to be kept secret to avoid mass hysteria.
The files show that flying saucers and strange lights have been taken far more seriously by the government than the public realised. The Joint Intelligence Committee, which briefs government on security, defence and foreign affairs, actually met specifically to discuss UFOs. In 1957, at the height of cold war paranoia, the committee was receiving one sighting a week.
The files also include various accounts of sightings by members of the public, sent to the MoD. In 1995, one anonymous spotter noticed a black, U-shaped object flying at tremendous speed over the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh.
The most headline-grabbing story, though, is that of Winston Churchill suppressing a sighting, apparently concerned that the truth would upset the public and damage their religious beliefs. Unfortunately, this juicy tale is not first-hand.
Nick Pope, who was at one time employed by the MoD to collate the UFO sightings it received, explains that the story came to light because a scientist who had heard the story wrote to the MoD to ask if it was true – and his account is included in the files.
Pope said: "A scientist whose grandfather was one of his [Churchill's] bodyguards, said look, Churchill and Eisenhower got together to cover up this phenomenal UFO sighting, that was witnessed by an RAF crew on their way back from a bombing raid.
"The reason apparently was because Churchill believed it would cause mass panic and it would shatter people's religious views.” He added: “The interesting thing is that most of the UFO files from that period have been destroyed.”
Other incidents from the newly-accessible files include:
• A number of attempted break-ins at RAF Rudloe Manor in Wiltshire, the base Ufologists call Britain's ‘Area 51’
• A loud explosion in the sky reported over the Atlantic in the Outer Hebrides which came to be known as the Western Isles Incident.
• A "crashed UFO" in the Berwyn Mountains in Wales in 1974 which a mountain rescue team was called to investigate.
• A letter from the MoD replying to a Leeds punter who had appealed for support against the bookies for his 100-1 bet on alien life being discovered before the end of the 20th Century, dead or alive. Unhelpfully, the MoD said had no evidence of alien life, but remained open-minded about its existence.
The files are all accessible online for a month for free from the National Archives Website
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