Saturday, February 16, 2013

February 1944 aircraft encounter

Hi all,

In February 2011 I posted about a pre 1947, pre Arnold, Australian aircraft encounter.

The earliest source for this report which I was able to find, was a magazine called the "Australian Saucer Record," published in my own hometown of Adelaide, South Australia back in the 1950's. In fact the account appeared in 1957 in volume 3, number 1 page 16. A copy of the magazine was located in the State Library of South Australia.

New material:

The person who reported the 1944 incident was Thomas Richard Horace Royal. Recently, after reading my 2011 post on her father, one of Royal's children contacted me. In responding to her very welcome email, I inquired if she had any material relevant to the event, perhaps her father's pilot's log book? Her response was to forward me a copy of his original report form which he submitted to the Adelaide based Australian Flying Saucer Research Society, who published the "Australian Saucer Record." She advised me that she did not have her father's pilot's log book.

Below, with her permission, I will provide the text of the report form, as handwritten by her father. It makes fascinating reading.

The report form is labelled "Report No QA44/001

Name: T R H Royal.

Address: 42 Esplanade ?? Scarborough.

Date: February 1944.

Time: 2.30am

Location: Bass Strait, Victoria.

Duration: 18 to 20 minutes.

Weather: Bad and in full cloud.

Shape: Dark shadow.

Sound: No sound.

Colour: No colour.

Change shape: No.

Change colour: No.

Give off smoke: No smoke. Flame at rear.

Fall like a leaf: No.

Flicker and pulsate: Flickered.

Others points of interest: Object flew parallel for 18 minutes. Belching flame at rear then accelerated to approx 3 times my speed emitting 100 to 150 ft flame when accelerating.

Apparent size of object by comparison with sixpence held at arm's length: 8 times.

Direction of trail: South.

Est speed: 235mph.

Estd ht and distance: 4500ft  100 to 150ft.

Only part visible was about 15ft due to reflection of light along body from exhaust flame.

Viewed: Naked eye.

I was flying a Beaufort Bomber at time of.


1. There are 12 questions on the one page form I received. There is no signature on the form, or date of completion. It suggests there may have been a second page to the report form which we do not have.

2. The AFSRS (Fred Stone) whose address is on the top of the report form, was in existence from about 1955 with Fred Stone as the then President. Stone initially founded the Australian Flying Saucer Club in Adelaide in 1953. The ASR was the magazine of the AFSRS. As the report on the 1944 incident appeared in the 1957 edition of ASR, and from personal reading of all issues of the ASR, and noting that Stone tended to publish stories he received straight away, it is reasonable to believe that Royal forwarded his account to Stone between 1955 and 1957, most likely in 1957.

3. I located photographs of Royal in the National Archives of Australia, file series A9300 control symbol Royal, T R H. His daughter was kind enough to forward me a photograph from her collection. It shows Royal at the "RAAF No 1 Engineering School, FM 49. Showgrounds. Melbourne. Leonard Snowden Studios." There is an added note "May have been stationed here when UFO sighted 1944."

UFOR(Qld) presentation:

Royal's daughter gave a presentation to UFOR(Qld) in 2007. She kindly sent me the text of this presentation which was as follows:

"I would like to talk to you tonight about some of the memories I have of my father's participation in the original Unidentified Flying Saucer Research Bureau.

His name was Thomas Richard Royal, but was popularly known as Ricky Royal. His passionate interest in UFOs started towards the end of WW2 when he was flying over Bass Strait in a Beaufort Bomber. A report submitted to the Australian Flying Saucer Research Society describes what must have been a terrifying experience, for a 29 year old during war time, of an Unidentified Flying Object, belching flame at the rear and flying parallel with his plane for approximately 18 minutes.

The experience occurred in 1944 and inspired my father to spend the next 25 years of his life becoming involved in UFO research. He, along with other members, established the UFO Research Bureau in Redcliffe,  Queensland in about 1954.

By this time there had been many reports from around the world of UFO sightings which fuelled the interest of the Bureau here in Australia. I recall this time in my life very clearly and especially when the Bureau was visited by noted identity from America whose name was George Adamski.

What a wonderful thing that was happening to us. This almost alien like figure himself was going to stay at our place. We didn't know exactly what to expect of this chosen contact of the alien crafts, but the visit was certainly memorable with Adamski telling us of his experiences and we felt sure that we, ourselves would be visited by those unknown entities from outer space in the near future.


The only sighting we as a family had experienced was about 1956 when we were living at Scarborough, part of the Redcliffe Peninsula and our house looked out towards Deception Bay. It was a very clear evening, just on sunset, when dad called us all out to witness what I still believe to this day was a UFO. The object was heading north to the other side of Deception Bay in the direction of the Glasshouse Mountains. Of course dad always kept his eyes open towards the skies as often as possible and by the time he had called us all to witness the UFO it was too far away for me to distinguish the shape but the behaviour was not that of a helicopter or aeroplane. It was travelling fairly slowly at first but then suddenly accelerated and disappeared. Not out of sight over the mountains but completely gone.

Of course, our neighbours saw us gathering of the seashore and knowing that dad was a "Flying saucer nut," joined us hoping to get a sight of the UFO. I think that some of them were converted after that evening.

Dad also built himself a powerful telescope and I remember him spending hours on end grinding the lenses until he had a means of viewing the heavens and the moon and the stars and of course any UFO sighting that may come his way. This telescope was the centre of attention in the neighbourhood as dad would let anyone who wanted to, look at the moon and see the wonderful sights near and far.

As part of the UFO Research Bureau he also built a lightbeam transmitter with a microphone attached using his knowledge of electronic engineering gained from his Australian Air Force war service.

The transmitter was designed using magnetic fields similar to the design of a cathode ray oscilloscope, an early version of the TV receiver we know today.

Sadly, my dad's involvement with UFO research and sightings ended with his untimely death of a heart attack in 1969, but I am sure he would have been an active member of the new UFORQld and still as enthusiastic as he had been since 1944."


It has not proved possible to locate Royal's pilot's log book. A search of the  National Library's Trove digitised newspaper collection has failed to locate any contemporary record of this event. In addition, none of the other 3 crew members of the aircraft involved have ever been named, located or interviewed. An Internet search found a website which stated that only some 200 air crew of Beaufort bombers are still alive today, and they would be in their 80's and 90's. It is therefore very unlikely that we are going to be able to locate any contemporary documentation on this event. However, it remains one of the few reported pre-1947 Australian encounters.

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