Thursday, August 22, 2013

Drury film - original papers now digitised

Hi all,

Port Moresby:

Australian researchers have long been aware of official Australian government papers relating to the August 1953 8mm movie film, taken by T C Drury at Port Moresby.

Sydney based researcher Bill Chalker, saw some of these papers in 1982, while on a visit to the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) in Melbourne. Bill wrote about these papers and the case, in general, in two excellent articles in 2001 (see The Australasian UFOlogist Vol. 5 no. 1 pp22-29 and Vol. 5 N. 2 pp4-13.) These articles drew, in part, from papers on DCA file 99/1/78.

File 114/1/197:

National Archives of Australia (NAA) file series A705 control symbol 114/1/197 contains a number of Drury related documents. The file has been digitised and available to view on the NAA website for some years. It contains the following documents:

* A report on the incident, extracted from DCA file 99/1/478

* A letter dated 5 March 1954 from the United States Embassy, Melbourne to the Director of Air Force Intelligence. "Returned herewith is the 8mm film belonging to Mr Drury which you were kind enough to lend this office."

* A letter dated 24 February 1954 from Group Captain for Chief of Air Staff, to the Air Attache, US Embassy, Melbourne. "Request for copy of 8mm film taken by Mr Drury...Only place to get copy done is UK. Difficult to get a copy for your HQ...This would explain the apparent oversight by your own people in not making a copy when they had the film available."

* Letter from Department of Air to DCA Melbourne, dated 2 July 1954. "The 'flying saucer' film taken by Mr T C Drury at Port Moresby, in August 1953 and forwarded by you on the 22nd September is returned herewith....we have subjected the film to detailed study and processing but have been unable to establish anything more than the fact that a blur of light appears to move across the film."

* Extensive correspondence between early Australian researcher Edgar R Jarrold of the Australian Flying Saucer Bureau and the Department of Air between October 1953 and September 1954 about the film, and obtaining copies of still prints from  the film.

From the above, one can timeline the following:

23 Aug 1953 - Film taken
22 Sep 1953 - Film forwarded by DCA to DOA
Nov 1953 - Film sent by DAFI to the USA
5 Mar 1954 - Film returned to DAFI from the USA
12 Jul 1954 - File returned to DCA by DAFI.

The latest file digitised:

Now, NAA file series MP1279/1, control symbol 99/1/478 titled "New Guinea Flight Information Region.- Operation of Unidentified and Foreign Aircraft" has been digitised by the NAA at my request. The file, of 123 pages,  has a date range of 22 March 1948 to 1965 and reveals details on both 'unidentified' and 'foreign' aircraft in that region. There are also a number of documents on the file relating to the Drury film, which you can now read yourself by going to the NAA website (click here.) These include:

* A memorandum dated 31 August 1953 from Regional Director, DCA, Port Moresby, to Director-General DCA, Melbourne. "We do not know of any aircraft of the operational performance implied by this observation operating in the area..."

* A memorandum dated 5 September 1953 from Regional Director to Director-General, DCA, Melbourne. "Further to this office's secret memo of 31.8.53 reference to the above subject, herewith undeveloped film in which it is expected will be confirmed photographs of the alleged unidentified object."

* A memorandum dated 22 September 1953. Secret. "Forwarded herewith is a photographic film in which it is said there is a record of aerial phenomena..." From Director-General DCA to the Department of Air.

* A memorandum dated 12 July 1954 from the Department of Air to DCA. "The 'flying saucer' film taken by Mr T C Drury returned herewith."

It's great to be able to read these documents in digitised form.Why don't you go and take a look for yourself?


  1. Dear Mr Basterfield,
    What a coincidence! I am a private ufo researcher in Perth, Western Australia. I had just this morning turned my attention to the Drury case to get the basic facts. I did a google search and your very fresh posting landed straight in my lap. That is so convenient is is almost scary! Thank you again. Andrew Maloney

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your comment. I was waiting for about three months to receive the newly digitised file, and posted the information straight away. I think that some coincidences are meant to be. I am glad this one assisted you.

      My interest in the phenomenon extends back to the late 1960's, and I have a fair accumulation of material - mainly in electronic format these days. If there are any other Australian cases I may be able to assist you with, email me at



  2. It just so happens my name is Todd C Drury and im into ufos strange world.


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