Saturday, June 16, 2012

Did the RAAF investigate the 24 May 1965 Eton Ridge case?

Hi all,

The spectacular Eton Ridge CE2 case:

In a previous post (click here) I located some original material on the 24 May 1965, Eton Ridge, Queensland case. In that post I also pondered the questions as to whether or not, the RAAF investigated the event.

The 27 May 1965 "Ipswich Queensland Times" newspaper article I found on RAAF UFO files, concluded its piece on the event by stating "The sighting would probably be investigated by the Air Force as were other sightings." There was no reference cited as to who might have said this.

This mystery was solved in the 27 May 1965 piece which appeared in the "Brisbane Courier Mail" which stated "The sighting would probably be investigated by the Air Force, as other sightings were, Mr Seymour said." Seymour was the Queensland Regional Director of the federal Government's Department of Civil Aviation (DCA.)

NICAP's "The UFO Investigator", June-July 1965, edition, carried details of Australian investigator Paul Norman's on-site investigation. On page 22 it reads "The evidence and the reports are being evaluated by the Royal Australian Air Force." However, there is no source cited for this statement.

RAAF UFO files:

A check of the RAAF's UFO files in the National Archives of Australia revealed that the only mention of this case was the referral of the above two newspaper articles to the Department of Air. The covering memo to the articles, told that the clippings were from RAAF Base Amberley (Queensland) and that RAAF HQ Operational Command said "No action has been  taken on the matter at this headquarters." This is all suggestive, in fact, that the RAAF did not actually investigate the case.

State Library search:

While at the State Library of South Australia the other day, I decided to check copies of the Brisbane "Courier Mail" newspaper for dates after the 27 May 1965 article, to see if there were any follow up articles which had been missed by past researchers. Indeed there was one. This appeared on page 11 of the "Courier Mail" dated 28 May 1965. The article was titled "Probe into the 'thing,'" and read:

"Mackay - Police Constable B Self of Nebo, yesterday inquired into the reported landing of a mysterious 'thing' on Eton Ridge, 40 miles from Mackay, on Sunday night.

He said last night he would make no comment on his findings until his report was submitted today to Mackay District Police Chief (Inspector T Boyle.)

A Royal Australian Air Force spokesman last night said the RAAF had not been asked to investigate the sighting.

Eton Ridge Range Hotel licensee Mr Jim Tilse on Wednesday said he and two other men saw the 'thing' land. It was circular in shape and carried some 30 lights."

Although I checked issues of the "Courier Mail" for several days after this latest article appeared, I found no further articles dealing with the event.

Comments:

1. It would seem to me that no-one directly reported the sighting to the RAAF, so the RAAF did not investigate. The lack of any investigation report on RAAF UFO files supports this conclusion.

2. It could also be inferred that the matter was not reported to DCA. This deduction results from the fact that in the 1960's, any UFO report made to DCA was automatically forwarded to the RAAF. The fact that there is no report on RAAF files indicates that the sighting was not reported to DCA. This is supported by the fact that no such report appears on the relevant DCA UFO file.

This deduction is contrary to the 27 May 1965 "Ipswich Queensland Times" newspaper article which stated "Mr Tilse...reported the matter to the police and Civil Aviation Department." The Brisbane "Courier Mail" story did not say that the matter had been reported to DCA. However, both articles stated that Mr Seymour, the Regional Director of DCA had not "...received a report on the sighting." In addition, the NICAP Norman article makes no mention of a report to DCA.

This anomaly is difficult to understand. Either Tilse did make a report to DCA, or he did not.

3. Everyone agrees that the Queensland Police force were  contacted, and did carry out some kind of investigation. Again, common practice in the 1960's was that the RAAF often asked the police to conduct interviews with witnesses on its behalf. This happened, for instance in the 19 Jan 1966 Euramo CE2 case. It would appear in this instance that the police investigated by themselves, after the witness contacted them.

However, I know of no researcher who has a copy of the Queensland Police force report. Has any reader a copy?

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