Back to mining the newspaper clipping collection on the UFO Research (New South Wales) website. This time to look behind a clipping dated Friday 13 Nov 1970, titled "Navy looks into UFO story." The text reads:
The Navy has asked for a report on the sighting of an unidentified flying object near Binolong Bay in Northern Tasmania.
Mr H C Glatty saw the object from his home in Binolong Bay about a fortnight ago. He said it seemed to rise out of the sea north of Binolong Bay near Eddystone Point.
The Navy Department heard about the object after Mr Glatty reported it to the nearby St Helens police.
Mr M G Bevan and Mr D L Riley of St Helens spotted it from their backyards as it flew over St Helens about 6.30pm.
Mr Riley said the UFO looked to be about 'the same size as a porpoise and was painted red, white and blue.'
The object seemed to move very slowly - much slower than a jet aircraft. It took a long while before it disappeared he said.
"The strange part about it was it made absolutely no noise.: "It was a bit eerie" agreed Mr Bevan. He said he saw the object first and called his wife and later Mr Riley and his family to look at it. "It went straight up north-east of here, around Eddystone Point, I think," he said.
"It then turned around and headed directly south. I had my field glasses on it and watched it closely for about eight to ten minutes. It was at a terrific height" said Mr Bevan.
"Judging from jets I have seen it would be at least 60,000ft. It happened at six minutes past six on our kitchen clock. The thing is cigar shaped, no wings, just that vapour trail it left behind."
Mr Bevan has seen a similar object before but he said it was going in the opposite direction. It was coming from St Marys and heading towards Eddystone Point."
Australian Navy UAP files:
There are very few instances where the Australian Navy has shown an interest in reports of UAP. I can think of the following times that the Australian Navy is mentioned in UAP files:
1. The 1954 Naval aircraft encounter near Goulburn in 1954 Click here and here for my posts on this case.
2. The HMAS Adroit 1978 report (click here.)
3. A Navy file, NAA file series A6826 control symbol 1361/1/1-3 titled "Earth satellites, space vehicles and Unidentified Flying Objects - general."
4. Some documents on various RAAF UAP file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 parts 1-35.
5. A Navy file, NAA file series E499/18 control symbol C 21/4/41 titled "Unidentified flying object sightings."
Interestingly, there are records of these 1970 Tasmanian sightings on the RAAF's UAP files, namely NAA file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 Part 14.
Pages 153-158 of the digitised version are a report by Mr Glatte. Mr Glatte, age 55, was a book keeper/cashier living at Binalong Bay, Tasmania. At about 1800hrs (TST) for about ten minutes, in his own home, he saw an unusual object. The sky had some cloud but was otherwise clear. The object was first observed 10 degrees to the right of the Eddystone light, and at an angular elevation of 5 degrees. Compass bearing was 010 degrees true (plus or minus 5 degrees.)
His attention was drawn to "What appeared to be an unusual shaped cloud-vapour trail." In colour the object was "White or grey with red tail."
At its nearest approach it reached an elevation of 80 degrees and a bearing of 090 degrees true. No obvious method of propulsion was visible and there was no sound noted.
The object was lost to sight in the south at an angle of 30 degrees, then obscured by trees, bearing 180 degrees true. There was a 'residual vapour trail long after disappearance.'
There is a note to question 26, which says "Observer pointed out path of object to Flt Lt A E Bentley, navigator at interview.
Question 27 is "How many witnesses to the sighting?" The answer was "I know of six, but they would not be able to make a sighting as early as I did." The names shown were, Mr M Bevan of St Helens and Mr D L Riley plus wives, and Mr and Mrs H C Ponting c/- St Helens.
Question 28 is "Any other sightings?" The response was "Approx 16 mths previous travelling in opposite direction."
A sketch is provided which shows a cigar shaped object with wings and two tail features. There are notes which read "Underside view" and "painted red (refers to red tail features), remainder white or gray."
To me, the sketch shows the object was not a cloud but had an aircraft-like shape.
Mr Glatte dated his report 30 Nov 1970.
Page 177 is a typed statement by Mr H C Glatte dated 29 Oct 1970. in the statement he says in part, "...which makes it obvious it was launched from a sea-going vessel." This statement leads me to think that this is why the Department of Navy took an interest in this report.
Pages 174-176 are a handwritten statement from Mr Glatte which matches the typed statement above.
Page 173 is a memo dated 6 Nov 1970 from the Naval Intelligence Division of the Department of the Navy (file reference 31/16/4) to DAFI. "Following the recent telephone conversation between Lieutenant Commander Oaxley and Squadron Leader Hickey the enclosed report from Mr Glatte concerns an unidentified flying object is forwarded for your retention."
Page 172 is a handwritten note dated 10 Nov 1970. It is addressed to HQSC Department of Air.
"Enclosed is a copy of a report by Mr H C Glatte, Binalong Bay, Tasmania, of the sighting of an unidentified flying object.
2. Will you please arrange to have Mr Glatte interviewed by a responsible person. Mr Glatte also says he made a verbal report to the local police station at St Helens. You may wish to send a proforma to the officer and have him conduct the interview, if no RAAF officer in Tasmania is available."
Page 171, dated 11 Nov 12970 and is a hand written note:
"1. Re folios 3 and 4.
2. DNI telephoned and asked me to let you know that they have received a press query on this matter and had informed the press that they had referred it to us.
3. I told DNI of the action I had taken."
The memo was signed "Flt Lt Ufologist."
Page 152 is a memo dated 8 Dec 1970 from Wing Commander T S Fairbairn, HQSC to DAFI.
"1. The investigation of a report in connexion with the sighting of an unidentified flying object at St Helens, Tasmania on 28th October was carried out by Flt Lt A E Bentley (GD Nav) of Tasmanian Squadron ATC on 30th November, 1970.
2. The report of the Investigating Officer together with a copy of an enquiry from S Kaufman of Belmont. NSW is enclosed. The original letter has been returned to Mr Glatte for his retention and reply."
What was the cause of the sighting?
Pages 156-157 are the RAAF's "Unit evaluation" of what they thought was the cause of the sighting.
There was a civilian aircraft in the area at the time, namely a Qantas HS125 heading 190 degrees true at 35,000 feet. ATA over St Helens at 0709Z (1809 Tasmanian Summer Time.)
The observer was at 4114S and 14817 East.
No balloons or temperature inversions in the area.
The RAAF concluded that the object was probably the Qantas trainer HS125, call sign VH-ECF. A hand written note says:
"1. There is no doubt in my mind that what Mr Glatte saw was the Qantas HS125 which was overflying Flinders Island/St Helens hence Hobart at 35,000 feet.
2. A letter received by Mr Glatte is enclosed."
The enclosure is a letter from a Mr S Kaufman of Belmont, NSW and inquires about the sighting from Mr Glatte.
1. It would appear that the part of Mr Glatte's 29 Oct 1970 typed statement which read in part "..which makes it obvious that it was launched from a sea-going vessel..." is what attracted the attention of the Department of Navy.
2. A search of the Internet for information on aircraft registration VH-ECF (click here) reveals that VH-ECF was indeed a Qantas HS125 aircraft. The notes on this website state, in part, "Qantas airlines smallest ever jet aircraft...The aircraft cockpit was configured to represent a Boeing 707..." There is also a photograph of the aircraft taken in August 1968.
3. Taking into consideration all the information given in the RAAF files, it is reasonable to accept that the object was indeed Qantas aircraft VH-ECF."