The UK National Archives continues to uncover mysteries related to unidentified flying objects. This time, the documents tell the story of how famed Prime Minister Winston Churchill banned the publication of a military plane’s “encounter” with an unidentified flying object during World War II.
An eyewitness, the grandson of an RAF officer who provided security for the prime minister, said that Churchill and US General Dwight Eisenhower received information that one of the reconnaissance aircraft, returning from a mission, flew in close proximity to an unknown object.
Churchill ordered this event to be classified in order to avoid panic among the population and not to undermine people’s faith in the church.
However, the Prime Minister himself showed interest in the facts of meetings with unidentified objects long before this incident.
In 1912, as First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill became the first politician in British history to answer a question in Parliament about an alleged UFO sighting.
In the run-up to World War I, there was talk of reconnaissance flights by German Zeppelins. However, answering the question of whether an unidentified object in the sky over Britain was a German aeronautical apparatus, Churchill answered in the negative.
“What he meant is anyone’s guess,” said scientist David Clark, who is responsible for publishing the “X-Files” about UFOs.
Towards the end of World War 2 RAF pilots started reporting encounters with mysterious aircraft, which they called “foo fighters”.
Officials assumed they were secret German weapons but sightings continued after the end of the war – and even increased.
In fact, the Nazis really were developing bizarre aircraft that looked suspiciously like flying saucers.
In July 1952, US Air Force fighter jets had to be scrambled on two consecutive weekends after radar detected several unidentified objects flying in a restricted zone over the White House – causing public panic.
In response, On July 28, 1952, Churchill sent his Secretary of State for Air Lord Cherwell a memo, requesting an urgent investigation.
In the note – which became known as the “Churchill Memorandum” – he wrote: “What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to?
“What can it mean? What is the truth?
“Let me have a report at your convenience.”
Lord Cherwell – a close friend and confidante of the PM, dubbed “Churchill’s Dog” – tasked the Flying Saucer Working Party with the probe.
The top secret group – set up two years earlier to look into UFO sightings – admitted it was impossible to rule out “an aircraft of extraterrestrial origin, developed by beings unknown to us on lines more advanced than anything we have thought of”.
But it said it was more likely the sightings were down to normal aircraft, balloons, birds or other natural phenomena, optical illusions, deliberate hoaxes – or “psychological delusions”.
That appeared to put the matter to bed.
Until – in 1999 – the grandson of a retired RAF officer wrote to the MoD, inquiring about an incident in which Churchill allegedly banned the reporting of a UFO encounter off the east coast of England.
UFO expert Jason Glynn believes governments around the world should declassify all UFO documents so people can find out the truth. He also noted that many people who have seen UFOs experience fear and anxiety, need support and understanding.