Monday, December 5, 2011

When did the UK government become interested in flying saucers?

Hi all

In a previous post (28 November) I mentioned that it appeared that the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) Director of Air Force Intelligence's files on flying saucers, began in 1950, three years after the modern birth of the subject.

I wondered when official interest in the subject, commenced in the United Kingdom? To answer this question I turned to David Clarke's excellent work "The UFO files." 2009. The National Archives. Kew, Surrey. ISBN 978-1-905615-506. Clarke worked with the National Archives and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the UK government's UFO files. On page 40 of this book I found:

"Flying Saucers were regarded as largely an American phenomenon until 1950, when British newspapers began to take an interest in the growing mystery." Clarke goes on to mention books on flying saucers by Keyhoe. "His books and those of others who followed led a number of senior figures in the British military establishment to treat the subject seriously for the first time." (Clarke p.41.)

Among those interested was Sir Henry Tizard who became Chief Scientific Advisor to the ministry of Defence. "It was as a direct result of his influence that the British government was persuaded to set up a small working party to investigate the mystery, reporting to the directorate of Scientific Intelligence/Joint Technical Intelligence Committee (DSI/JTIC) part of the Ministry of defence." (p.41.) in August 1950.

So, it would appear that both the UK and Australian government's "official" interest in flying saucers, started in 1950.

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