Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Military tank sighting - April 1966

Hi all,

Occasionally you come across a UAP report which you would like to know much more about, but whatever you do, or whomever you communicate with, you are never able to find out anything more about the event.

I came across such a tantilising sighting, when I saw a listing of Australian tape recorded interviews, by James E McDonald. These tapes were recorded by McDonald when he was here in Australia in 1967. One line on the listing referred to a "Military tank sighting 24 April 1966."

In all my years collecting and analysing Australian UAP reports, I can honestly say that I have never come across, what is presumably a sighting by the crew of a tank! Plus the date was only some 18 days after the famous Westall incident, which is said, by some people, to have involved members of the Australian Army.

Imagine my surprise, upon checking the National Archives of Australia, to come across file series AWM288, control symbol R723/1/1 titled "[1 Armoured Regiment] Reports - General - Flying Objects." The file has a date range of May 1966 - May 1966. It seemed too much of a coincidence not to refer to the reported sighting of 24 April 1966.

I requested a copy of the file, which arrived today. Disappointment set in. The file was only two pages long! The first page is an image of the file cover, which shows that it is indeed a file belonging to The Department of the Army. The second page is a memo dated 23 May 1966 from HQ Puckapunyal Area to S Command (which I believe is Southern Command).

The subject is "Report of an Unidentified Flying Object."

The text reads "Reference S Comd 109-S1-3 dated 17 May 66.

1. Enquiries have failed to locate the source of the report referred to above.

2. General enquiries will continue and any details reported will be forwarded as soon as possible."

This is the sum total of the file. I assume, that no further documents on the file meant that nothing else was found. Presumably, the S Comd memo of 17 May 1966 asked 1 Armoured Regiment to follow up on something which had been reported to S Comd. However, we will never know.

The McDonald tapes are now held in digital format by the University of Arizona, with limited access available. (Click here and here  and here to read more.) If any blog reader would like to pursue this matter by obtaining a copy of the McDonald recording of this tank incident, and share it with us, that would be great.

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