Friday, January 20, 2012

Important RAAF UFO file released by Archives

Hi all

File series A9755 control symbol 4, titled [RAAF Headquarters Support Command, Victoria Barracks Victoria] UFO [Unidentified flying Object] reports [UAS - Unusual Aerial Sightings] has just been examined and digitised by the National Archives of Australia, at my request.

It is an RAAF UFO file, formely numbered 5/6/1/Air Part 8 titled simply "UFO Reports." The file cover is stamped "Retain permanently" and there is  a hand written note "Held by CINTO" which I take to mean Command Intelligence Officer."

There is then a NAA blue mask indicating that one folio on the file dated 1989 has been withheld from the digitised copy as it is not in the 30 year open access period.

A typed file note indicates that folios 3 and 53 are unlocated. Another note says "This file progresses logically to Folio 63 then consists of numerous "Initial Unusual Aerial Reports" all of which are un-numbered.
Another hand written note says "Valentich incident. Reports summarised at 5/6/1/Air Part 8 (53.)"

Finally there is a note which explains the un-numbered folios. "Please file these UAS reports on 5/6/1/Air Part 8 (closed.) They were kept apart from the file during the inquiry into the Valentich incident and never replaced. Folio numbering is unimportant."

What inquiry?

The RAAF has always maintained that it did not investigate the Valentich case. So, the question here, is what 'inquiry?" From other papers on the file it would appear to refer to the Department of Transport accident investigation inquiry.

Newspaper clippings:

A number of newspaper clippings appear on the file. They are from "The Age" 23 Oct 78; "The Sun News-Pictorial" 23 Oct 1978; an unsourced clipping; "The Sun News-Pictorial" 24 Oct 1978 and "The Age" 24 Oct 1978.

RAAF UFO report forms:

There are numerous completed "Initial Unusual Aerial Sightings Report" from individuals. These are dated between 8 Jan and 24 Dec 1978, and are from a variety of Victorian and interstate locations. A number cluster in October 1978.

Other interesting folios;

Page 49 of the digital copy is a letter dated 27 Nov 1978 from the Federal Department of Transport to the Command Intelligence Officer, HQ Sqd Ldr T Filing. It is headed "Missing Aircraft: Cessna 182 VH DSJ on 21.10.78"

"A recent letter to you (V116/783/1047 of 23.11.78 refers) concerning missing aircraft VH-DSJ and other matters, was dispatched without the mentioned attachments. These attachments are included with this letter for your attention." The next documents on the file are further "Reports of Unusual Aerial Sightings: dated 21.10.78, which may be the documents referred to in the DOT's letter.

Digital image 92 is a "Summary of UAS sightings for the period 18-23 Oct 78." It lists 21 reports, and someone has handwritten on the list between two entries "Valentich 1913hrs SAT 21 Oct." There is another hand written note that says " Copy to DOT investigator."


Digital image 134 is a minute dated 26 Oct 78 signed by a G F Boileau, LtCol, SO1 (Int.) to Sdr Ldr Filing, subject "More fantasies" and says "More details on UFOs as per our minute of 12 Oct 78. Both were received prior to the kidnapping of a light aircraft over Bass Strait recently." The enclosure is a hand written letter speculating about UFOs seen over the River Murray.

All in all ,this is a fascinating file to have been released. The 21 UFO reports between 18-23 Oct 78 make fascinating reading and deserve  a detailed study to see if they can contribute to the existing knowledge of Valentich's disappearance.

Accident investigation file:

The file, Vic 116/783/1047 is the Department of Transport's accident investigation file into Valentich's missing aircraft. I requested access to this file after discovering last October that it was actually filed with the National Archives of Australia, and not destroyed as suggested by the Department of Transport in 2004, when I submitted an FOI request for it.  I am still awaiting advice from the NAA as to whether the file will be made available, or at least the papers dated 1978-1981 which are outside the 30 year rule.

1 comment:

  1. Great Work Keith, you do amazing work. We plan to use this information to build the Picture leading up to and around the day Fred vanished.
    Andrew - VUFOA


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