Saturday, November 19, 2011

Who were the "security police" who investigated early Australia flying saucer reports?

Hi all

During the early days of investigations into "flying saucer" reports within Australia, one of the puzzling activities of the authorities of the day, was reported in The Melbourne Argus newspaper dated 6 May 1952. An article, in part, read:

"A Security Police spokesman said they were investigating certain reports. A Civil Aviation Department request to set-up a special section to collate facts on 'flying saucers' was refused. Mr R M Seymour, Superintendent of Air Traffic Control said yesterday that he had been told: "It is a matter for the Security Police."

The Barrier Miner newspaper, of Broken Hill, dated 6 May 1952, advised "Melbourne- Commonwealth Defence and Security Officers will investigate reports of flying saucers over South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. They are making a file of newspaper reports and when it is complete they may interview some of the eye-witnesses."

The Cairns Post newspaper of 6 May 1952, provided a date for these reports, speaking of them being at the weekend, i.e.  Saturday 3 May and Sunday 4 May.

Disclosure Australia:

At the time of the Disclosure Australia Project, it was unclear just what these reports from the three states were. However, now with the digitising of newspapers by the National Library of Australia, it is possible to deduce just what these reports were.

3 May 1952

1. Sydney, NSW - 23 people reported an object at about 6am. "It appeared to have no wings, was cigar shaped, many times the size of an aeroplane, and had two sets of very bright lights at each end." It flew into clouds and disappeared. (The Argus Melbourne. 5 May 1952 page1.)

 2. Sydney, NSW - A silent, cigar shaped object, with lights on, travelling very fast was reported by multiple people between 6 and 6.17am. (The Sunday-Herald 4 May 1952 p1.)

3. Sydney, NSW - At about 6am, eleven people saw a cigar shaped object, much larger than an aircraft leaving a blue trail. (The Canberra Times 5 May 19521.)

4. Parkes, NSW - A white object, flat at one end and pointed at the other flew over at 6am. It was silent, and seen for two minutes. It disappeared into clouds. (The Sydney Herald 4 May 1952 p1.)

5. Berowa, NSW - An object was seen at 6.17am travelling due south at a high speed. It was well lit and sparks were seen at its rear. (The Sunday Herald 4 May 1952 p1.)

6. Benalla, Victoria - At 3am two people reported an object which had rows of lights on each side, travelling at high speed. (The Canberra Times 5 May 1952 p1.)

4 May 1952

1. Nowra, NSW - A bright glittering object shaped like a cigar was reported by a motor cyclist. (The Canberra Times 5 May 1952 p1.)

2. Canberra, ACT - The Chief Assistant Astronomer "sighted a bright meteor with a persistent trail at 5.15am. (The Adelaide Advertiser 6 May 1952 p3.)

3.  Adelaide, South Australia- An engineering student saw "a small dead-white disc over the city at 12.16pm. It quickly went southwards. (The Argus Melbourne 5 May 1962 p3.)

Now we have dates for the reports, did any of the Australian government UFO files located and examined by the Disclosure Australia Project relate to the events of this weekend, and could they throw some light on who the security police were?

One file did. File series A11066, control symbol 5/1/27 part b, is a file titled "Eastern Area Headquarters Intelligence Report on Unusual Sightings 3/5/1952."

The file consists of 17 pages. There are numerous newspaper clippings of sightings for that date. However, the main item on the file is a report of interviews conducted by Flt Area  Intelligence Officers and Squadron Assistant Provost Marshalls. The conclusion of the report was that the 6am silent fast cigar was a meteor.

It would therefore appear that the 'security police' mentioned in the newspaper reports were in fact from the RAAF's own internal police force, being Provost Marshall staff, and that the "Commonwealth Defence" officers were RAAF Area Intelligence Officers.


  1. Hello Keith, bloody hell, the NAA site is an unwieldy beast. I searched through 10 pages to find the file (!cst.buyitem_form) only to be asked for $16.50 where the UK National Archives only charge £3.50 a copy. It's quite steep for the cost of a staff-member locating the file and using their finger to press 'send.'

    More to the point, I sometimes begrudge the saturation of ufology on the internet. This is one of those times because I've looked for news reports or astronomical observations of a daylight meteor in May 1952. It seems logical that if so many people were describing a cigar-shaped object, as many, or more, would have accurately described a meteor.

    Unfortunately, search after search is infested with damn UFO websites and references. 'May 1952 Australia astronomy meteors' yields fewer UFO hits, but still no media accounts of a meteor.

    This doesn't mean I disagree with the explanation; it's conceivable that every witness who took the trouble to report the sighting was a UFO fan. It's possible that nobody could differentiate between a fireball/meteor and a 'cigar-shaped craft.' Furthermore, maybe people who *see* UFOs tell the media and those who *see* meteors don't bother?

    Kevin Randle's speculated that many 'cigar' sightings were actually meteors and it's sensible to suspect that many actually were.

    Where I remain cautious is in accepting the explanations as conclusive. Probable yes, done and dusted? Who knows? Blue Book is well-known for unsubstantiated rhetoric claiming 'weather balloon'etc.

    Regarding the differing titles used to describe the RAAF staff, do you think they created these ostensible nom-de-plumes or did the journalists make them up? Somebody was telling fibs.

  2. Hi Kandinsky

    I have become used to the NAA system by now. When we ran the DA Project, we had the policy files plus most of the sightings files digitised, and for the rest simply recorded notes on each page's contents. I have a list of files located under both the Archives Act and the FOI Act. Let me know an email address if you'd like a copy of the list.

  3. Hi again Kandinsky

    Forget to add that I think the names given in the newspapers to the various officials, was probably journalistic license.


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