Enter Ian Ridpath:
One individual who has followed the Rendlesham saga, is UK journalist and amateur astronomer, Ian Ridpath. On his website at (click here) there is a section titled "The Supposed Radar Sightings."
Ridpath writes "The answer is that the supposed radar sightings are simply part of the Rendlesham mythology. In my researches on this case stretching back to 1983, I have never found any evidence that the supposed Rendlesham Forest UFOs were tracked on radar. Recent release of the Ministry of Defence file on the case confirms that there were no radar sightings on any of the days the UFOs were seen." Ridpath cites his evidence as:
1. 9 Oct 83 wrote to the MOD. A 9 Oct 83 reply "...no unidentified object was seen on any radar recording during the period in question."
2. 14 Nov 83 wrote to the MOD. A reply on 7 Dec 83 was that there was no truth in the story that radar records had been confiscated.
3. In Jan 1994 MOD employee Nick Pope prepared an information note "No unidentified object was seen on radar during the period in question."
4. April 1994 issue of "Omni" magazine. "Interview of Col Halt who said his command post contacted RAF Watton who said they didn't see anything.
5. Sqdn Ldr Derek Coumbe, the senior operations officer on duty at RAF Watton was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 in 2003 and recalled calls from Bentwater. "We scrutinised the radar time and time again completely, and kept a watch on it through the whole period when these calls were going on and nothing was seen. Nothing at all."
6. On 9 Dec 1994 the "Strange but True" program implied that Mal Scurrah a former radar operator at RAF Neatishead had seen the Rendlesham object on radar. In the May/Jun 1995 issue of "UFO Magazine" Scurrah said his radar sighting was in late Oct or early Nov 1980.
So, according to Ridpath the answer to our question is "no."
The UK MOD Rendlesham papers:
The National Archives of the United Kingdom have the MOD papers on the incident. In his 2012 book "The UFO Files: The Inside Story of Real-Life UFOs" second edition, published by Bloomsbury, London, ISBN 978-1-4081, author David Clarke, covers the Rendlesham saga on pages 105-114. Clarke's comments, are in part, drawn from the official papers.
On page 108 Clarke writes "While these sightings were ongoing, Halt used his radio to contact RAF Bentwaters control tower to request radar confirmation. They called British military air traffic control at RAF Watton in Norfolk, but the response said nothing unusual could be seen on their screens."
On page 112 Clarke writes "Another rumour emerged in 1981 claimed the UFO was tracked on British radar on one or both nights. While the MOD file reveals that checks were carried out on incorrect dates and times provided by Halt's memo, it clearly states that no unusual targets were detected by any RAF radars during the Christmas/New year period of 1980. This was confirmed by Squadron Leader Derek Coumbe who was duty commander at RAF Watton, the air traffic control centre for the region during the incident.
When I spoke to him in 2001 he recalled receiving a call from RAF Bentwaters whilst Halt's team were in the forest during the early hours of 28 December 1980. "They were very jumpy and panicky on the phone" he said, "but I personally checked the radar picture and there was absolutely nothing to be seen. They kept coming back and implying there should be something but we kept a watch on it through the whole period and nothing was seen."
So, the answer to my question is "no."
(Continued in part three.)
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