UFO Investigations Taken “Very Seriously”

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“Dear Mr. Redfern,” the letter began, “I have read several of your articles in UFO Magazine and thought you would be interested to know that my father was in the RAF [British Royal Air Force] in the 1950s and 1960s and I always remember him telling me that at RAF Farnborough there was supposed to be a top-secret office where the RAF carried out all its flying saucer investigations.” Rumors abound that, for years, the sprawling thousand-acre-plus Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) at Farnborough, Hampshire, England, housed a covertly operated unit that investigated UFOs in the 1950s and 1960s.

According to Cyril Townsend-Withers, a senior scientific officer with the Air Ministry who specialized in radar development and deployment and who rose to the rank of wing commander, during the 1960s he had a number of discussions with people at the Air Ministry at Whitehall, London, and was informed of the existence of a specialist UFO investigation team that operated out of Farnborough. Townsend-Withers further stated that the project comprised largely RAF Intelligence people who viewed the UFO subject “very seriously.” For more information on the Townsend-Withers story, see Jenny Randles’ 1987 book, The UFO Conspiracy.

There was also the woman whose husband was stationed at Farnborough for a twelve-month period in the mid-1960s and who was directly implicated in a strange event involving the monitoring of an unidentified radio “signal” or “language” that had been detected by staff at the base. “They could not decode or decipher [the signal],” said the woman. “[My husband] told me that it definitely was not of human origin, and he could say no more. I think he keeps a lot to himself about his true feelings. I know he has been sworn to secrecy by the RAE––the Official Secrets Act, no doubt––but something of great importance happened that day they snatched those special signals from space, I feel sure.” It’s an account that was told in the pages of  Arthur Shuttlewood’s book, UFO Magic In Motion(Sphere Books, 1979).

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