Thursday, August 16, 2012

RAAF Darwin UAP National Archive files digitised

Hi all,

I am aware of three RAAF Darwin UAP files. However, owing to their titles, it is not easy to locate them in the National Archives of Australia. They are:

1. File series E1327 control symbol 5/4/Air Part 1.
2. E1327 5/4/Air part 6.
3. E1327 5/4/Air Part 6/7.

I have now had all three files digitised, and have previously posted details of one of the files, i.e. E1327 5/4/Air Part 6 (click here.) This post reports on the other two files.

E1327 5/4/Air Part 6/7:

The date range of the file is Nov 1979 to Jun 1990, but the Archives Act allows access only to 71 pages, up to 1983. The title is "Unusual  sightings and incidents." There is, for example,  a 21 page copy of the DOD (Air Office) summary number 5 of Unusual Aerial Sightings for 1975. There is also a copy of a letter from RAAF Darwin to the Editor of the Northern Territory News, releasing information on a number of reports at 8pm on 15 Oct 1974, of a group of reddish "tailed" lights.

One interesting letter, dated 16 Oct 1981, from the DOD (Air Office) Canberra, to all RAAF bases refers to "...the recent re-entry of a meteorite near Marble Bar at the same time as Cosmos 434 was due to re-enter causing considerable confusion. The statement by the Perth Observatory that it was nuclear powered, created great, and unwanted, media attention." The  letter goes on too advise "Investigating Officers are, however, requested to refrain from putting a possible name to any suspected space debris re-entry."

Close encounter:

One report came from 34 year old Richard Bett, of Humpty Doo, NT. On a Saturday, which was either 5 or 12 Nov 1983 he was at lot 45, Power Road, McMinns Lagoon, Humpty Doo, NT. At about 1430hrs, on a slightly overcast but mainly sunny day, he saw, at 80 degrees elevation,  an object heading north. It appeared to be only some 30-40 feet above him. The witness' hand written report states in part:

" It was a single object, no lights (daytime) dull...moved away very fast over the house. (I guess 160kph.) approx size would be 4-6 feet long, and slim, possibly winged. It made a fluttering whosh noise like a very silent jet. Could feel faint shock wave. Dogs dived under chair in fright. It awoke my wife who was dozing in chair on verandah. She just caught a glance as it disappeared over rooftops 200m away. It just cleared tree tops which are approx 30-40 feet high."

The investigating officer for the RAAF wrote "May have been a Mirage, although the Saturday does not fit that well. No further investigation proposed at this stage."

E1327 5/4/Air Part 1:

This is a 169 page file titled "Unusual Sightings-Incidents." The date range is Sep 1960 to Feb 1968, and stamped "Secret."

The file contains a number of low-value reports. However, a few cases are worthy of note.

8 Mar 1961:

Charles Neville Bell, a pilot with Muir Aviation, reported seeing an unusual object at 0330z during a flight from Maningrida to Darwin. Shortly after take off he noted a distinctive cloud formation. As he approached the cloud he noted that "...each end of the formation ended abruptly." Also, whatever had made the trail had made a 180 degree right hand turn. He watched it for 40 minutes. The "trail" was in a clear blue sky at 35-40,000 feet. No aircraft was observed at all, just the cloud.

22 Nov 1966

H Munstermann was a meteorological observer at Dal;y Waters, NT. "At 0943 whilst doing my Balloon Flight I suddenly picked up an  U.F.O. My balloon at 26,000 feet was close to the Sun and impossible to follow any further. This object appeared when I left the balloon, azimuth 280 deg, elevation 59.2 deg. I followed the object for about 2 (two) minutes then lost it. I immediately took another reading, azimuth 320 deg elevation 27.9 deg. It seemed to be travelling at tremendous speed...I was informed there was no aircraft in the area..."

He described it as a metallic grey in colour, oblong in shape, with no structural detail visible. It travelled in a straight line from north to south. It was lost in mid-air due to its speed. The RAAF investigating officer in an "original" thought wrote "Met balloon???"

Royal Australian Navy:

One document on the file struck me as odd. It is dated 13 Dec 1967 and from the Naval Staff Office, Darwin and addressed to:

Squadron Leader, L F E Fosdike, RAAF Darwin.
Major F J Spry, NT Command, Darwin.
Mr L Gordon, ASIO Darwin.
Seargent J B Tiernan, Special Branch, NT Police, Darwin.

The memo is headed "Report on sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects" and had attached, a statement of a Mr J Lord of Munmalary Station, South Alligator River, NT about a bright, pulsating white light seen on a number of occasions. However, this isn't the interesting part.

The Navy memo continued "List of Incidents, Sightings of Unidentified craft and Aircraft, Flying Objects and/or phenomena held at this office has not been amended to include reports received after 31st January 1966. In order to bring these records up to date, it would be appreciated if details of any reports with these categories could be furnished so that complete records are available on our files for reference purposes." The memo was signed A F Parry, Lieutenant Commander RANVR Staff Officer (Intelligence.) The memo had a reference of 300/9E/23. No reply from the addresses is on this file.

What was the Navy doing collecting such reports?

I checked my files and found that another file, series E499/18 control symbol C21/4/41 titled "Unidentified Flying Object Sightings" was a 41 page file held by Defence Establishment Berrimah (Formerly HMAS Coonawarra). This file dates between 1959 and 1974. It contains the same RAN memo of 13 Dec 1967as that mentioned above. However, it also contains a reply dated 14 Mar 1968 from RAAF Darwin to RAN Darwin and lists 7 UAP reports dated between 27 Sep 1966 and 28 Jan 1968. There is also a copy of the Lord, Munmalary Station report on this file.

So, the RAN, at least in Darwin, maintained a UAP file at least between 1959 and 1974, a 15 year period. Why?

A search of Disclosure Australia archives located only four Navy UAP files. These are;

1. MP926/1 control symbol 3079/101 "Unidentified Objects"(Flying Saucer sighted by Navy pilot.)
2. SP 338/3 control symbol 13/4/10 "Unidentified Objects." Same sighting as 1.
3. E449/18 control symbol C21/4/41 "Unidentified Flying Object sightings."
4. A6826 control symbol 1361/1/3 titled "Earth satellites, space vehicles, Unidentified Flying Objects -general" was 3p long and mentions only one low value UAP report.

If any reader knows why the Australian Navy was collecting such reports, I would be interested in hearing from them.

To read any of these files go to http://www.naa.gov.au, click on advanced search and type in the file series details, and the control symbol details. happy reading.

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