Britain’s Ministry of Defence ceased to collect UFO reports as of December 2009, because, as they put it, “…in over fifty years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom.” However, the UFO files being released by the British National Archives contain cases that clearly should be of concern, and I am not alone in this opinion. In fact, the last batch of files includes correspondence between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and two high level military officials who were adamant that UFO cases should be taken more seriously.
The highest ranking among those hounding the MOD about UFOs was Baron Hill-Norton, former Admiral of the Fleet (1970-71), Chief of the Defence Staff (1971-73), and head of NATO’s military committee (1974-77). Two years after his retirement in 1977, Peter Hill-Norton was made Baron and a member of the House of Lords. As you can see, Lord Hill-Norton was quite an impressive chap and known as a tough and aggressive leader. In other words, he didn’t take no crap.
At some point Lord Hill-Norton took an interest in UFOs, and was unsatisfied with the MOD claiming that they were of no concern. He badgered the MOD with questions, trying to get them to actively investigate important cases. There are over 300 pages of correspondence between Lord Hill-Norton and the MOD in the latest batch of UK UFO files.
Lord Hill-Norton took a particular interest in the Rendlesham forest case. In late December of 1980, several US servicemen witnessed UFO activity over a two day period near the bases of RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge, both on lease by the US from the UK. The Rendlesham forest surrounds the bases. One of the witnesses included Deputy Base Commander, Charles Halt, who was ordered to forwarded a memo on the incident to the MOD.
In a response dated October 22, 1997 to Minister of State for Defence, Lord Gilbert, who claimed the Rendlesham sightings were not of interest, Lord Hill-Norton wrote:
My position both privately and publicly expressed over the last dozen years or more, is that there are only two possibilities, either:
a. An intrusion into our Air Space and a landing by unidentified craft took place at Rendlesham, as described.
b. The Deputy Commander of an operational, nuclear armed, US Air Force Base in England, and a large number of his enlisted men, were either hallucinating or lying.
Either of these simply must be ‘of interest to the Ministry of Defence’, which has been repeatedly denied, in precisely those terms. They, or words very like them, are used again in your letter and I believe, in the light of the above, you would not feel inclined to sign your name to them again.
Further, Lord Hill-Norton pushed Lord Gilbert on the sensitive question of whether there were nuclear arms on the base, which would have been against their agreement with US. Lord Hill-Norton asked Lord Gilbert, “Whether they are aware of reports from the United States Air Force personnel that nuclear weapons stored in the Weapons Storage Area at RAF Woodbridge were struck by light beams fired from an unidentified craft seen over the base in the period 25-30 December 1980, and if so, what action was subsequently taken.”
Lord Gilbert responded, “There is no evidence to suggest that the Ministry of Defence received any such reports.” He continued that he intended “neither to confirm nor to deny where nuclear weapons are located either in the UK or elsewhere, in the past or at the present time.”