Flying Saucers over the West

Flying Saucers over the West

A. W. BEARNE (Paignton)

Evidential reports of sightings of "U.F.O's" (Unidentified Flying Objects) over a period of 18 years, including that observed by the author (30 October 1958), Air Force personnel, and many other persons throughout the West country and other parts of Britian.

ON Monday, 30 October 1950, I saw, quite by chance and under most favourable atmospheric and other conditions, one of the objects--or phenomena--which for many years have been referred to throughout the world as "flying saucers." My first reaction was to make this sighting known generally as an absolute, if inexplicable fact--not fiction or imagination--as most people seemed to believe. Apart from making an immediate report of the matter to Paignton police (to give backing to reports which might be made by any of the police on duty at the time in the town) and to giving details the following day to the editor of the local evening paper (in case publication of this report should bring forth confirmation from other witnesses) I gave up any idea of having my story published in full, because it was so obvious that very few persons would believe or take any interest in it. However, I felt certain that eventually it must be accepted as a FACT although its exact nature might remain a mystery, and therefore I now publish a full report along with reports from many other sources, including Air Force personnel, and I cannot think that any intelligent person, after reading these reports, can fail to realize that "flying saucers" do exist and are not fictitious.

In a BBC broadcast interview with Richard Walkley on I August I966, it was stated that 200 sightings of "flying saucers" had been reported throughout the world since February 1966, and over a quarter of a million since 1947; of these, over 10,000 were reported to the United States Air Force, of which over 600 were deemed genuine sightings of unknown flying objects. It was further stated in the Sunday Express of 4 December 1966, that the U.S. Government had ordered a new full-scale scientific investigation into "flying saucers"; a special unit being set up at the University of Colorado and seven scientists were appointed to work on the project.



July 1968.


This is an account of the sightings of objects, so far unidentified, widely recorded over many years past by persons of various nationalities and generally called "flying saucers"--which description has undoubtedly done much to make people dismiss the matter as a joke or a figment of imagination, as I readily admit was also my opinion for several years but is definitely not so now.

Before commencing my personal evidence of this phenomena I would ask you, reader, a question: "If you suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, saw something which was utterly different from anything that you had ever previously seen, such as, for instance, the frequently recorded but generally disbelieved Loch Ness monster, how would you really convince others that your account was true and accurate?" Believe me, you would find it almost impossible to do so! Although your statement may be accepted without question in connection with all subjects of an orthodox nature, few, if any, persons would really believe that which you were now reporting to them was really true.

Newspapers would possibly print your report without comment, although they may make some remarks favourable to your claim - particularly if you should hold some public office, because, of course, the word of "high-ups" is so much more to be relied upon than that of a "common or garden" individual of no special importance such as myself!

Any favourable newspaper reports will almost certainly be followed by a suggested explanation of the matter concerned in order to neutralize your claim, thus all sections of their readers will be satisfied. This procedure, by the way, is most noticeable when any newspaper or periodical starts an "investigation" of any controversial subject, such, for instance, as psychic phenomena; evidence for and against the matter concerned will be printed, and in the final summing up it will be left an open question with no definite decision either way.

I do not at all blame editors, or publishers, for adopting this course because their constant endeavour is to gain and keep as many readers as possible, thus they must be careful not to favour the opinion of any particular section of their readers, and thus upset the feelings of the remainder. It is as well to remember these facts when reading reports respecting the subject of which I am now writing, and in regard to which there is, I am now quite certain, far more evidence available than the average person realizes.

I do not believe the reports of visits by vehicles from outer space piloted by small man-like creatures - such reports having been made by only a few persons - and not confirmed by large numbers in various parts of the world, as in the case of "flying saucers." The lack of general knowledge and belief in this subject can be attributed, firstly, to the fact that latterly few reports are published--the matter concerned having lost its first sensational effect, and secondly because the majority of people are so convinced that it is all "bunkum" that they pay little heed to any printed reports which may now appear: whilst others are so lacking in the desire for knowledge that they "couldn't care less" about the matter.

Another reason is that many people who see these mysterious objects say nothing because they fear ridicule, which shows a sad lack of courage and of the desire to further knowledge.

Now, having "broken the ice" on what I, and many other persons throughout the world, are convinced is one of the greatest mysteries that mankind has ever endeavoured to solve, I should like to assure readers that prior to 30 October I950, I was thoroughly sceptical about the truth of so-called "flying saucers," and felt certain that there was some simple explanation to account for the appearance of this phenomena, or that those persons who had reported them were either hoaxers or had genuinely mistaken something, such as a meteorite, as being one of the objects of which I am writing.

I believe, however, that could I have previously read, or heard, accounts of these objects given by persons known to me, or from someone whose word I believed could be relied upon, I should then have felt that their accounts were true, if unexplained. It is because I now know without any shadow of doubt that these things are real and that the reports were true in most, if not all, cases, that I feel I ought to impart this knowledge to others, and I believe that many persons who have had the same experience as myself in one of these sightings will feel likewise. Quite possibly in some cases a meteorological balloon, or a meteorite, has been genuinely mistaken for one of these mysterious discs, or "saucers," but the actual phenomena which I witnessed under perfect atmospheric and other favourable conditions could not possibly be confused with either of these, because it is in its first phases, entirely different, as I shall presently show.


I will now fully describe the spectacle which I personally witnessed and all the circumstances connected therewith.

On Monday, 30 October I950, my wife and I had gone to play at our Badminton club at about 7 p.m. (and, readers please note, this club had no liquor license! -- and I had drank nothing stronger than a cup of tea that evening, thus I cannot be accused on that score of "seeing things"!) Towards the end of the evening we were joined by our daughter and when play finished at about 10.30 p.m. we returned home by car.

I dropped my wife and daughter at our front gate then drove around to the rear of our property in Southfield Avenue, Paignton, opened up the outer double-doors, and the garage doors and drove my car into the garage, switched off the car lights and closed the garage doors. There being no artificial light in or around the garage at that time, my eyes had time to get adjusted to the darker conditions whilst I had closed the two pairs of doors and I could then easily discern my surroundings as I walked slowly down the rear garden path, which runs almost due north and south. There were no bright lights visible anywhere near me, and a street lamp which was outside the front of my house at that time, was quite obscured from my view.

Walking in a southerly direction down towards the kitchen door, at the side of my house, I became aware of a light high over my head, westward of the direction in which I was slowly walking; looking upwards I was mystified to observe a funnel-shaped stream of flames, chiefly white, descending, pointed-end first, in an absolutely silent and very peculiar manner--peculiar inasmuch that the point of the flames seemed to be "creeping" or "fingering" downwards (This I will refer to more fully later in this account).

I stared most intently at this unusual and unaccountable sight, trying to think what it could possibly be, and very mystified indeed. I at first wondered whether it could be a burning part of a plane which had caught fire and burst asunder at some high altitude, but this solution did not satisfy me because it was not falling straight down but coming at an unvarying angle and at a steady and apparently not very fast speed, and there was something peculiar about the forward point of the flames which at first I could not understand.

After having been in my view for possibly about half a minute, the flames or flaming object or objects - disappeared from my sight below the top of the roof of my house, therefore, still very puzzled, I continued walking forward down towards the kitchen door at the side of my house, gazing straight ahead between my house and the next in the direction where I expected this strange object to again appear on its downward path. In a very short while it again came into view, but now --more strange still--I observed not a long stream of flames but a roughly spherical "ball of fire," and instead of continuing in its former path downwards it was now traveling horizontally straight away in front of me in a southerly direction over Paignton towards Churston Ferrers and Higher Brixham, and at no very great height, possibly not more than 500 feet--but this was difficult for me to judge correctly, although a trained aircraft observer could probably have given an accurate estimate of the height.

I was now more than ever at a loss to account for this very strange sight, and having, as I have previously stated, so far seen only flames, no thought whatever of "flying saucers" had as yet entered my mind. This was probably because I had read that "flying saucers" were supposed to be large luminous discs, or globes, and I cannot recall up to that time having read of flames issuing from, or surrounding, these objects.


Now comes the climax! From standing there on my garden path, by the side of my house, perfectly calmly but very puzzled, and watching very intently, I observed this animated bunch of flames, by now apparently some miles away, suddenly take an upward course and to my amazement I then saw appear ahead of the flames the forward portion of a huge disc, from which the flames appeared to recede as it climbed upwards. In a flash I thought "flying saucers"!, and, greatly excited, I banged on the kitchen door of my house and shouted loudly for my wife to come out, but by the time she had come to the door and unlocked it and hurried out it was too late, as this object had disappeared miles away in the night sky; in any case, coming from a lighted kitchen out into darkness, it is unlikely that her eyes could have discerned the object described even had she come out a few seconds earlier. Actually it could have been two discs (as stated in later reports by other witnesses) because in front of the disc mentioned by me appeared to be the faint outline of a second disc just ahead of the other; whether this was possibly only a reflection on a cloud I cannot say, but as far as I remember there were few, if any, clouds in this area at that time.

Words really cannot describe my feelings at this time; to know that the seemingly fantastic stories of strange and unaccountable "discs" in the sky were true absolutely thrilled me, possibly because I had had somewhat of a scientific upbringing by my father and I was therefore greatly interested in having seen something so utterly unusual. My father had made, and operated for local medical men, an x-ray apparatus in the days when there was none in the Torbay area (I still have his home-made "Wimshurst" machine which generated the electric current), he was one of the first persons in this area to hold a radio receiving and transmitting licence (prior to the 1914-1918 war-- during which period it was impounded), also he was an enthusiastic amateur astronomer (he constructed an 8 in. reflecting telescope), as was his father, Captain W. J. Bearne who lectured on this subject in London around the latter part of the last century. One of my first thoughts was how interested my late father would have been to have witnessed in his lifetime an event such as I have described.

Had I had less of an inquiring mind, perhaps I should not have followed the course of this flaming spectacle so closely, and thus not have seen the actual object, or objects, which were first of all hidden by the surrounding flames, and I was only too sorry that none of my family had also seen it. In my first view of it as it was traveling downwards it could most easily have been photographed had I a camera with me at the time. Immediately I had got over my astonishment I looked at my watch and saw that the time was approximately 11 p.m. on this 30th day of October, 1950, then immediately telephoned two fellow badminton players whom I knew would have returned to their homes at about the same time as I had one a member of my office staff and the other a Torquay councilor (and later Mayor).

I inquired whether they had also seen this spectacle, but they had not done so - making a few sarcastic remarks, of course! (Some few days later the councilor telephoned me that the wife of one of his employees had been looking out of their bedroom window at the time of this sighting and had also seen it.)

Nothing daunted, I next phoned (then about 11.15 p.m.) to the Paignton police, first because I thought it only right to report this matter to them as it had been thought in some quarters that "flying saucers" were possibly secret weapons (or a means of reconnaissance), of some foreign power, and secondly because my report would help to confirm any similar report which might be made by any constable or other person who had also witnessed this sight. After somewhat jokingly asking the officer in charge whether the police force dealt with such things as "flying saucers" and having been assured that they tackled anything, I then gave him my report and at his request called at the Paignton police station the following morning, when I then gave to the members of the Force on duty at the time full details as stated in the foregoing pages.

Chief Inspector G. H. Jewell told me that so far there had been no reports of the spectacle having been seen by either police or coastguards, but I told him that I felt certain others must also have witnessed the sight (which later proved to be correct).

When asked by the police whether I wanted the Press to know of my report I said definitely "No," but that I should be glad if they would advise me should any further reports be made to them. However, as by the afternoon of that day I had received no confirmation of there having been any other witnesses, I decided to ask the editor of the Torquay Herald Express whether he could publish a brief report of the matter, as I felt that this would bring confirmation from other persons, but not to mention my name as I did not particularly want any personal publicity, because I knew that most people were thoroughly sceptical of such reports. However, the editor, and the reporters present, appealed to me to let my name be mentioned as they said that the matter could not appear very evidential if the source of their information was not mentioned. This placed me in quandary, but I was so anxious to prove that other persons had seen this very strange sight, of which I felt certain, that I gave in and agreed that my name could be mentioned.

Immediately the whole newspaper office seemed to buzz with excitement, at what appeared likely to be the first published report of "flying saucers" over Britain. It is also possible that any report to the Paignton police was the first recorded officially in this country. The Royal Air Force authorities may have earlier records, but I believe that it was not until about two years later that Air Force personnel were instructed to report any "Unidentified Flying Objects" " U.F.Os."

[Note: In Chapter III I have referred to the somewhat peculiar motion of the forward end of the "flying saucer", which I could not explain at the time. However, 2s several subsequent reports gave these objects as being either spherical or disc-shaped, this has confirmed my opinion, and because of the very pointed shape of the forward end (as viewed from my position at the time), I consider the latter as being the most likely in that particular sighting.]


Following the events recorded in the preceding chapter, in an early edition of the Herald Express, on the evening of 31 October 1950, there appeared in the late news column the following:

First report of flying saucer seen over Westcountry came this afternoon from Mr. A. W. Bearne, of Southfield Avenue, Paignton. Mr. Bearne says he saw flames descending from the sky over Preston last night. They were traveling from north to south, and as they diminished he "distinctly saw outline of two huge circular discs partly overlapping each other and both traveling forward at the same speed." Mr. Bearne immediately informed police who have passed his information to higher authorities.

As may be imagined, I received many sarcastic remarks from friends and acquaintances during that evening, but when I know that something is true, and think it justifies being made public, I speak of it irrespective of any uncomplimentary criticism which I may receive. After all, only in this way can truth be established, and much of our knowledge of scientific and other matters might still remain unknown had it not been that men announced the facts which they had discovered, although sometimes in the past this meant persecution, or even death Did not this happen to the ancient astronomer, Galileo, when he announced previously unknown facts respecting the rotation of the earth?

Yes, truth is lauded to the skies when it is of an orthodox nature, but let it be otherwise and it is hastily buried in the depths of disbelief, misrepresentation, or ridicule!

In the later editions of the Herald Express that evening the following front page article appeared under the heading "A Flying Saucer seen over Paignton": This afternoon Mr. Arthur W. Bearne, aged 55, of 14 Southfield Avenue, Preston, Paignton, told the Herald Express how late last night he saw two large circular objects traveling south in a horizontal position. He described it as "something like large white flames." He was able to watch what he was sure was a flying saucer for a matter of seconds. [Note: this rather gives the impression that this "saucer" was in my view for a very few seconds only, but as I had watched it descending downwards and then traveling horizontally over Paignton and the Churston area the total time that it was in my view must have been nearly one minute, and possibly more. A.W.B.] The remainder of this account gave the information given by myself earlier in this record (in Chapters II and III).

On the following day, I November, reports started to come from other eye-witnesses--as I was certain would occur because the spectacle was so entirely different from any generally known phenomena, such as a meteorite, "will-o'-the-wisp"--or "things that go bump in the night!" In the Herald Express of that date there appeared the following accounts given by persons residing in the Torbay area:

"All householders, who say they, too, saw the object, agree there was no noise. A trail of fire streamed from the back," they said.

A fisherman, Mr. F. C. Bray, aged 39, was lying in the bunk of his boat in Torquay outer harbour when through a porthole he saw "a bluish white light" appear in the sky over Princess Pier at about 11 p.m. "I have never seen anything like it before," he said. "I watched the flames for about 10 seconds. They seemed to surround a roundish object, which was traveling towards Thatcher Rock. It did not appear to be moving very fast."

Mr. D. Jeffrey, aged 29, of 23 Winner Street, Paignton, said: "I was walking across the seafront to Torquay station when I saw something in the sky. I thought at first it was a rocket firework. Then I noticed it was maintaining a constant speed at a constant height. [Note: he evidently saw it when it had changed from its first downward course and was then traveling horizontally - A.W.B.]. It seemed to be flying over the Recreation Ground and it was absolutely silent. It seemed to disintegrate suddenly, and then disappeared. I seemed to be watching it for some time but it was probably only a few seconds."

A Paignton sports dealer, Mr. H. Cove-Clark, aged 43, of 9 Marine Drive, Paignton, said: "I was standing by my gateway when I saw a ball of bluish-white light in the sky traveling towards Brixham. It would have been about 11 p.m. The ball of light was preceded by a thin blue blur which was overtaken by the main body. Then another bluish-white light appeared and a broken stream of lights seemed to fall from it. They all seemed to be following each other straight across the sky. Then there was a spurt of flame from the end of the broken pieces just like a feeble rocket. The darn thing shot away and disappeared."

In October, 1945, when Mr. Cove-Clark was a special constable, he saw a similar object over Preston at 3.30 a.m. He said: "I saw a bluish-white light with a glow around it. It exploded and seemed to go to pieces. I heard a crack and saw the glow gradually go out." [Note: on the second morning following my sighting, and after the first reports of this had appeared in the Herald Express the previous evening, Mr. Cove-Clark telephoned me and said, "I was glad to read your report of a ' flying saucer ' in last night's paper because I saw a similar thing when I was on duty as a special constable one night during the war, I reported it on my return to the station, but it was laughed at and therefore I should not have mentioned this present sighting if your report had not been published."

In a letter to the Herald Express, Mr. H. Warren, of 25 East Street, Torre, Torquay, wrote: "I saw the same objects at the same time as Mr. Bearne, from my bedroom window. It was just as he describes-- going towards Brixham, due south of Torquay. The object was going so fast that one could not get a second sight of it. I thought it was like three stars with a long tail of light trailing behind them such as you see in a picture of a comet. The three stars seemed to be falling over one another as to which should get there first."

Another report comes from a liberty boat crew plying between Flagstaff Steps, Devonport Dockyard, and H.M.S. Defiance. They said they saw circular objects traveling at "an incalculable speed" and emitting a trail of fire on Monday night. They thought the objects were "flying saucers."

In a further article in the same evening paper there appeared the following reported statement from an observatory official at a South Devon seaside resort: "A friend of mine saw something that night and from his description it may have been a very large meteor," and a Teignmouth observer said " I am maintaining an open mind although I have seen nothing at all. Curious thing about these objects is that they are always seen far away low on the horizon. No one has ever seen one close overhead." [Note: This well indicates the attitude of scientific men generally, because not having themselves witnessed this phenomena they are quite certain in their own minds that it is nothing of an unknown type. This is well illustrated by the above quoted remarks of' a Teignmouth observer ' because practically all the reports, including my own, of this sighting in the Torbay area state that the object, or objects seen were traveling at a comparatively low altitude, and not at all 'far away low on the horizon.'- A.W.B.]

On 3 November, the Herald Express gave this account: " Following eye-witness stories of a 'flying saucer' over Torbay, my wife and I saw this object quite clearly at about I0.30 p.m. on Monday. We were walking down Road, Torquay, towards Sheds Corner and when at the junction of Oakhill Road and Teignmouth Road, were remarking how nicely the sky had cleared after the very wet and cloudy day. The stars were quite clear and bright, when immediately ahead of us we saw an object which I can best describe as a 'comet in reverse.' It was quite bright (especially the ball of fire at the rear) and the direction of flight was from approximately north to south. It was visible for a few seconds only and just faded out. It was obviously not a firework as it proceeded across the skyline and not up or down, and it was too high for any ordinary firework." Signed, Robert F. Eeles, 6 Teignmouth Road, Torre, Torquay. [This observer evidently first saw it after it had changed from a downward course and then continued horizontally south over the Paignton area. A.W.B.]

On Sunday, 5 November, under the heading "What did the people of Devon see last week?" the Sunday Dispatch printed the following: "West of England newspapers gave much publicity last week to reports of 'flying saucers' over Devon. The saucers were reported by a number of independent witnesses from places as far apart as Woolacombe (near Ilfracombe), Exeter, Cullompton, Sidmouth Junction and Paignton (60 miles south of Woolacombe). Eye witnesses' descriptions of what they saw are substantially in agreement- there was no noise and a trail of fire streamed from the back. The observations were at about 11 p.m. in all instances."

Mr. J. Stewart, 70-year-old Woolacombe pensioner, who has worked in aircraft factories in two wars, was one of the five people who told the Exeter Express and Echo what they had seen. At 10.50 on Monday evening he noticed an object come inshore from the direction of the north end of Lundy at a 'Terrific speed."

Mr. H. A. Franklin, of Beacon Lane, Whipton, near Exeter, wrote to the paper that while at Countess Wear (two miles south-east of Exeter) on Monday night, he saw two circular objects. "They were of a brilliant silvery blue, traveling south, one behind the other in close formation," he said. "After passing overhead, the rear object appeared to catch up with the front one and collide, whereon they disintegrated."

The object was described by Miss J. Spurway, of Exeter Hill, Cullompton (12 miles north-east of Exeter) as "a bright disc traveling with a circular movement at great speed."

Two and a half miles north of Exmouth, the object was seen at 11 p.m. by Mr. and Mrs. L. Mussell, of Hill Crest, Lympstone, who described it as having been in two parts " apparently attached in some way with a lighted tail."

The sixth witness quoted in the Express and Echo is Mr. A. J. Powell, of Sidmouth Junction, who, while between Patteson's Cross, Ottery St. Mary, and Sidmouth Junction at 11 p.m. on Monday saw "two brilliant white lights come into view to the north-west, from behind a bank of mist. They passed swiftly," he said, "in a southerly direction and appeared to be 'in line astern' with a long red trail to the rear; both lights seemed to fizzle out as I watched them they were in a clear patch of sky when this happened. I heard no sound."

In The Western Morning News of 5 November 1950, appeared the following interesting report in an article entitled "fast-traveling lights seen in Devon sky." "The most detailed description is from Mr. G. Murray Symons, principal of an Okehampton firm of accountants. He writes 'On Monday night last, sometime about 11.15 to 11.30 p.m., I was walking with two friends in the neighborhood of Chagford, Devon, when one of my friends drew our attention to what appeared to be a falling star very high up in the sky. We all three watched the light as it dropped earthwards at a speed which appeared at the distance from which we were watching to be that which one would normally associate with a falling star. When some ten miles or thereabouts away from us and at a height of some 2,000 feet the light, with amazing agility, suddenly pulled out of its rapid descent and flew horizontally across the sky in the immediate vicinity to where we were watching, so that in spite of the phenomenal speed of the object we had an uninterrupted view of the apparition for possibly some three to five seconds. The impression given was of such a weird nature that we were all three left speechless during the immediate interval of its passing and, although we have discussed the matter since very considerably, have been disappointed that no other person to whom we have spoken appeared to have seen the same sight as ourselves, and hence it is extremely interesting to note that Mr. Bearne apparently saw the same object from Paignton on the same night and at a time which approximately corresponds with that at which we ourselves viewed the same. The description given tallies almost identically with that which we all three gave on comparison, as there appeared to be a series of circular hoops of light, tapering slightly at each end, giving a cigar-like outline, the front of the object appearing to be brilliantly illuminated with a phosphorescent white light followed by a light of a mauvish colour and terminating with a red glow of a nature associated with the exhaust end of a mechanically-propelled machine.'"

Mr. A. N. Maloney, of West Hoe, Plymouth writes: "The lights I saw did simply die out. It was just like a 500-watt or 1,000-watt light bulb being switched off; they gave a momentary glow after the switch was off. What I saw was the leading light go out first and the other immediately after. They were definitely traveling south at a very great rate, flying dead level, and went out when they appeared to be over the Sound."

The Herald Express of g November I950, printed the following report from Mrs. T. E. Mortimer, of Exmoor, 35 Braeside Road, Bittern, Southampton: 'On 30 October as I was going to bed I looked through the window. I was startled to see an object, the shape of a saucer, traveling in a south easterly direction. It was moving at a terrific speed, but without any sound. It was bluish white in colour, but much brighter than any stars which were visible at the time. It was flying at an angle of between 30 and 40 degrees to the horizontal. The town clock had just struck II p.m. when this object suddenly came into sight, as though it had come from behind a cloud, but there were no clouds about. My parents live in Paignton and my mother sent me a cutting from the Herald Express. I think it a very strange coincidence the more so as the time is exactly the same as that at which at Paignton and district this object was apparently seen."

In the Western Morning News of 11 November there was the following report: "Mr. J. Richardson, of Yellow Cottage, Saltash, says he saw 'two bright white lights close together traveling horizontally to the Sound at a very fast rate. There was a red glow behind the lights and this continued until it disappeared from sight.'"

The foregoing reports of sightings are mostly from the newspapers published in or near the Torbay area where I reside, apart from a few from the London papers mentioned, and it is most likely that further confirmation of the sighting by other persons was published in other Devon papers. I think there is little doubt that all these persons whose reports I have given are, like most adult persons, well aware of the appearance of meteors, comets, and weather balloons, and it is quite evident from their reports that the objects which they saw were entirely different, as I can most certainly confirm from my observation. Practically all eye-witnesses agreed the approximate time of the sighting, actually about II p.m. on 30 October 1950, and that the course taken by the "flying saucers" was roughly north to south.

Differences in the actual appearances of the objects are, of course, due to the fact that practically all the persons concerned had viewed them from different angles. Most of these persons had stated there were white or bluish-white flames surrounding the objects, and this I can certainly confirm, and is as stated by myself to the local police headquarters within a quarter of an hour of the sighting by me, and to the Herald Express the following day.


The previous chapter refers to the sighting in the evening of 30 October 1950, but there have been other sightings in various parts of England almost every year since, none of which has been witnessed by myself. There were, however, other witnesses, some being trained Air Force personnel, and I now give their reports as have appeared in various newspapers. The first of these is a most interesting and evidential report which appeared in the Sunday Dispatch of I9 November I950: "Did a 'flying saucer' hurtle across the night sky of Kent last week ? Wing-Commander Denis H. Carey, aged 51, ex-R.A.F. pilot and bombing expert, believes he saw one racing towards the Straits of Dover as he was driving near his home at Benenden, Kent, on Tuesday (I4 November). Here is his story: 'I was driving my small van towards Sandhurst at 6.24 p.m. The sky was clear except for a small cloud bank to the south. There were plenty of stars. I was in open country with the nearest house three-quarters of a mile away. I was about midway between Link Hill and Hopehouse Farm, Benenden. Through the windscreen I saw a ball of light streaking across the sky about one and a quarter miles ahead of me, moving from west to east. It was either circular or spherical, I cannot be sure, and there was no tail. The colour was unmistakably blue the shade you see on the television screen. I watched it for a few seconds and then it disappeared in the east. I estimate that it was traveling at an altitude of roughly 2,000 feet, and I probably saw it cover a distance of two miles on a line between Hurst Green and Northiam. It was moving absolutely horizontally and ought to have crossed the coast in the region of the Romney Marshes. It was certainly not an aircraft of any type that flies over Britain. It was traveling several times as fast as the fastest jet planes. It was not a comet and its colour and speed rule out the possibility that it could have been a spark of any sort.' Wing Commander Carey's testimony is backed by good scientific qualifications and an airman's ability to interpret accurately and quickly what he sees in the sky. He was a fighter pilot in World War I, a test pilot during the inter-war years, and concerned with the production of guns and aircraft armament during World War II."

In the Sunday Dispatch of 26 November there appeared an account of a sighting on the previous Wednesday, 22 November: "Captain L. Nicholson, 72 of Preston Grove, Yeovil, former R.A. officer and fully qualified instructor in aircraft recognition during the last war, was standing in his garden at ~.I4 on Wednesday night. It was a dark night, without a moon, and sounds could be heard a mile away. 'I saw a dull red glow in the west, rather like a large ball of flame. It was rushing across the sky from just over the horizon,' he told me. 'I called my wife and we watched it draw nearer and nearer. "Then I saw what it was I yelled "flying saucer" to my neighbor, Mr. Maurice Ring. I had a good view of it for between 15 and 20 seconds. It was a large circular disc, traveling at a terrific speed something in the region of 500 to 700 m.p.h. at a height of about 1,000 to 1,500 feet. It was lit around the sides by a bluish flame. I have lectured many times on all types of British, American and foreign aircraft. I have never seen any with the slightest resemblance to this object.'"

Following the foregoing two reports which appeared in the Sunday Dispatch, this paper then gave in its issue of 3 December 1950, details of a further sighting which was observed by many persons on 2 December: "Football crowds see Flying Saucer. Thousands of people in many parts of Britain, including spectators at football matches, saw what many of them believed to be a flying saucer yesterday. In each case the phenomenon--a strange white flash which darted across the sky at terrific speed was seen between 3.45 and 4.I5 p.m. These reports of the passage of this object through the sky were received by the Sunday Dispatch last night: More than 500 spectators at a soccer cup match at Chard, Somerset, saw a strange white phenomenon dart across the clear sky high above the grandstand at about 3.45. Within a split second of passing it seemed to disperse on the horizon. Spectators in the stand cried 'Oh!' as the white, liquid form sped inland from the direction of the Channel. Many people said outright they thought it was a flying saucer. Spectators at a rugby match two fields away also saw the object. One of them, Mr. Arthur H. Jenkins, postmaster of Chard, said: 'It was like a diamond flash; its shape was like a big pear drop, with the thin end tapering behind. Suddenly it melted into nothingness.'

"Other people described it as a 'blob of brilliant whiteness' and a 'sheet of white hot metal.' Chairman of Chard F.C., Mr. William Taunton, sitting in the stand, said 'It came right over the top of us like a brilliant streak and then seemed to dissolve before our eyes. I wouldn't like to say what it was but I've never seen anything like it.' A bank manager, Mr. Leonard A. Neil, sitting in the front row of the stand, said: 'It was going northwards. At first it was a streak and then it burst into a ball.'

"A second after scoring the final goal of the match Don Harris, captain of Chard, saw the object. 'I can only describe it as a white flash,' he declared. Miss Myra Scott, who was watching a football match at rerry Street, three miles south of Chard, said she saw a 'low-flying, silvery star with a tail' shortly before four o'clock. At North Petherton, near Bridgwater, spectators at another match saw an object in the north-west sky shortly before four o'clock; it was described as 'a long snake-shape thing which streaked through the sky at a terrific rate, and was visible for several seconds.' Mr. T. Hollinghurst, of North Petherton, said: 'It appeared suddenly and went away suddenly, leaving a creamy smoke. There was no noise and there were no planes about.' A spectator said that one of the linesmen at the match failed to put up his flag when the ball went into touch because he was so engrossed in watching the object. A few minutes later a flash, as though from an explosion, was seen at a great height over the Bristol Channel, 50 miles to the north of Chard. Three reports from places ~s much as I30 miles apart had been received at the Air Ministry. Portishead (near Bristol) police reported that a white flash was seen between 4.5 and 4.10 P.M.. which appeared to be an explosion; it turned pink and disintegrated. The estimated height was 20,000 feet.

"Four Vampire aircraft of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force were coming in to land at Llandaw at about the same time, flying at 2,000 feet. When they landed they reported having seen a flash of light at 15,000 feet to the north-east of the airfield. Llandaw is near Cardiff.

"Bovingdon airport in Hertfordshire, 150 miles east of Llandaw, also reported to the Air Ministry that a brilliant white light was seen a long way to the west at 4.5 p.m. Observers estimated that it was at about 20,000 feet and say that it vanished in a trail of smoke. Air Ministry said that night: 'A thorough check has been made and no aircraft is missing or believed to have blown up in the air. It is most unlikely that an unscheduled private flight could have taken place at such a height. We cannot explain the phenomenon. No aircraft was flying in the Portishead area. A thorough investigation has been made and no aircraft was flying in that vicinity at that height at about the time stated.'

"Weston-super-Mare police reported to the Air Ministry that they saw a similar flash in the Portishead direction at the same time. At Towyn, near Rhyl, North Wales, rugby players dropped the ball and, with spectators, stared into the sky as a yellow object trailing sparks flashed across; it vanished over Tower Hill, Abergele, within ten seconds. Last night an R.A.F. officer said it was unlikely that the 'tadpole' could have been an aircraft, as it had been seen in daylight, when a plane should have been recognized. At about 4 o'clock spectators at Amersham, Buckinghamshire, football ground, saw a brilliant object 'like a huge star' flash across the sky, leaving a volume of smoke in its wake."

It may be of interest for me to mention here that on 5 December of the year in which the above sightings occurred, I received a letter on business matters from Mr. C. H. Wilson, the Exeter district manager of the Halifax Building Society a very level-headed man, who must have known of my earlier sighting of a flying saucer in which he wrote: "You may be interested to know that I saw the phenomenon in the sky on Saturday last, 2 December. This has been variously described as a flying tadpole, meteor or fireball, etc., but it certainly was very strange."

During December 1950, there appeared in the Torquay Herald Express two further reports of sightings on the 13th and 28th respectively, the former being as follows: "Cowmen see the 'flying saucer.' A brilliant light trailing a shower of sparks was seen by two cowmen over Kingswear today. They believe it may have been a 'flying saucer.' Eighteen-year-old Rodger Perkins, who works at Nethway farm, was working in the fields at about 6 a.m. when he saw the light. With him was Mr. Leslie Cheater, aged about 40, who also watched the object streaking across the darkened sky. Mr. Perkins said 'It was traveling from the north-east over the sea at a speed of about 300 m.p.h. Its height was between 2,000 and 3,000 feet. It drew level with the farm, and suddenly the glow began to fade. Then the light split into two parts and vanished. Although it was a dark night at the time, there were no clouds about.' Mr. Perkins added: 'I have never seen anything like it. It was not a shooting star and it was not imagination.'"

The second report was as follows: "Three Penzance men saw what they described as an egg-shaped object 'like a ball of fire' in the sky yesterday. Mr. G. Ball, of Regent Square, Penzance, who was driving a lorry with Mr. L. Richards, of 9 Redinnick Terrace, and Mr. B. Gauntlett, of 7I Richmond Street, Penzance, were passing through Crowsanwra, about three miles from Land's End, when Mr. Ball's attention was drawn to the phenomenon by one of the others. 'Apparently about 10,000 feet up,' he said, 'was an egg-shaped object like a ball of fire traveling at an incredible speed in the direction of Sennen to St. Just. In a matter of minutes it had vanished. I was so astonished I almost ran into the hedge.'"

In the Sunday Dispatch there were long articles with references to "flying saucers," also statements from eye-witnesses during I952, on 6, I3, 20 and 27 April and on 25 May. As I do not want this record to be too cumbersome I will give just a few of these statements, although all are very interesting and evidential, and come from various parts of the country. Mrs. I. Stubbings, 71, of Upland Road, Ipswich, well-known Suffolk botanist and ornithologist, states: "At lunch time one Thursday in January 1951, I was looking out of the window of my lodgings in Cauldwell Avenue, Ipswich, where I was then living, when my attention was attracted to two silver objects in the sky. They looked for all the world like two silver shillings, one following the other, and they did not appear to be going exceptionally fast. I had them in full view for half a minute before they disappeared out of sight over the trees. They seemed to be flying very high and they were traveling in a perfectly straight line. They were completely silent and were traveling in a south-westerly direction."

From Mrs. G. Keevil, 54, of Scotts Hill Lane, Purewell, Christchurch, Hants, there came this report: "Between two and three in the morning of 28 or 29 January this year (1952) I was awakened by a bright light in my bedroom. I knew it could not be moonlight because the moon does not shine on that side of the house. So I got out of bed to see what it was. Hanging in the sky was an object shaped like a pear, with the big end downwards. It was glowing with a red firelight glow, and appeared to be hovering. I went into the next room and awakened my son, who is 14, and together we watched for a quarter of an hour, until it gradually faded away. It was a very clear night and the object seemed a fairly good distance away."

Then from Keith B. Wedmore, 19, undergraduate, Jesus College, Cambridge, law student: "At about 10.40 p.m. on Thursday, 28 February 1952, I was walking through the college towards my room. As I drew level with 'C' staircase, walking north, I saw a bright round object in the sky traveling north-east. It was evenly bright over a perfectly round surface, which was presented to me broadside on, except that at the bottom there was a particularly bright spot of light which made the rest of it look rather like the halo round a candle flame. I watched it for perhaps 15 seconds until it went out of sight, and during this time it made no noise whatever. I could not tell what size or what height it was."

The next reports of which I have newspaper records are as follows: (Herald Express, 18 May 1953): Weather observers at Rockhampton airport, about 400 miles north of Brisbane, are keeping watch on a mysterious silver crescent-shaped object seen in the sky today. The object was first spotted with a theodolite, a surveying instrument, when tracing a weather balloon. To the naked eye it appears the size of a pinhead. It has changed course several times. A civil aviation security officer at Essendon airport, Melbourne, said that he saw a bright object the size of a full moon pass overhead at a "terrific speed" at three o'clock this morning (local time).

Two other people in Melbourne suburbs independently reported seeing the object at four o'clock. Mr. T. L. Whitney (secretary of the Australian Flying Saucer investigation committee) said the reports correspond exactly with overseas descriptions of "flying saucers." Capt B. L. Jones, a civil airline pilot, reported to the Regional Director of Civil Aviation in Brisbane that he and his co-pilot last week watched an unidentified glowing object for about five minutes.

(Western Morning News, 3 December 1953): Police and firemen were called out in Birmingham yesterday after a report that "a large "sheet of flame" had been seen flying through the sky across the city. A police statement said the phenomenon was seen at 1.35 p.m. by Mr. James Willetts, production manager of W. G. Proverbs Ltd., electrotypers, of Lionel Street, Birmingham. He reported seeing "a large sheet of flame in the sky at between 2,000 and 3,000 feet." It was also seen by other directors of the firm. They saw it disintegrate into smaller pieces which burned themselves out.

A "flying saucer" seen over Leicester on Tuesday night was described by eye-witnesses as brightly lit, with a distinct blue tint. It was quite soundless said Mr. George Pollards, of Glazebrook Road, Leicester, who kept it in view for a full minute.

In the Herald Express, 2 November 1954, was the following report of a sighting on the previous day: Two Torquay men yesterday saw about I5 mysterious balls of fire in the sky, one of the men claimed today. Mr. J. Branson, of 50 Bampfylde Road, Torquay, stated that yesterday afternoon at about 3.45 he was near the coast at Babbacombe. With him was Mr. Cox, who is in charge of the tip. Suddenly, said Mr. Branson, he looked out to sea and in the direction of Weymouth, several miles away and at quite a considerable height, he saw a cluster of flying objects. "They were an orange yellow colour like balls of fire," he said, "and as I watched I saw them go into a straight line and counted about I5 of them. They were moving quite slowly then, but they went into a cluster again and climbed very rapidly into the clouds and out of sight." Mr. Branson said that Mr. Cox also saw the objects quite clearly. "I never believed stories about flying saucers and such things before," said Mr. Branson, "but seeing is believing."

In the same newspaper on the following day, was this account: More witnesses came forward today to confirm reports, published in yesterday's Herald Express, that objects like fireballs had been seen from Torquay over the sea. Mr. S. J. Hines, of Stover Golf Club, Newton Abbot, said he was on the Esplanade, Exmouth, on Friday afternoon when his son drew his attention to a number of round objects floating in the sky above the sea in the Weymouth direction. He added "They looked like balls of fire, just as they have been described in your newspaper." Mrs. G. H. Bean, of 4 Eugene Road, Preston, Paignton, told the Herald Express that her mother and brother were both on Babbacombe beach at the same time on Monday as was mentioned in the first report. On returning home they had described what they had seen, and it was exactly as observed by the first two witnesses. Mrs. Bean said: "They remarked that no one would ever believe their story as they, too, had always doubted the many reports of strange objects seen in the sky recently."

Mr. J. J. Sutton, of 14 Redburn Close, Paignton, states that while watching from his bedroom window he saw the "fireballs" break one by one from the clouds and move slowly in a line over Thatcher Rock and then disappear towards Babbacombe.

The next record which I have is that printed in The Western Morning News of 15 October 1955, and apparently refers to an account of a sighting which must have appeared in that paper a day or two earlier. It is a letter from a Mr. H. J. Dyer of Mousehole, Cornwall: "Sir, I also saw that strange 'flaming' spectacle on Monday night, sometime later than 10.00, as also observed from Culdrose. I certainly cannot say it appeared like a flash to me. It seemed to be just an immense trailing flaming thing like a meteorite with "bright sparkling tail", nor did I see any other colours than flaming yellow. It appeared so near and so distinct that I expected to feel the concussion of its striking the ground somewhere between St. Ives and Hayle, judging its direction from where I was- Raginnis Hill, Mousehole. I have seen, I suppose, hundreds of shooting stars, so called, but never before anything resembling that thing on Monday night. It remained in my vision long and distinct enough for me to memorize the shape of the flame. After it had disappeared behind the higher land in rear of Penzance area, I held up my thumb at arm's length and to my mind the flame was fully the size one's thumb appears when viewed that distance off. So the flame was 'quite a fair size' to say the least. Two other people saw it also, and I dare say hundreds of others, but people generally are not keen on saying they've seen things. Why not, goodness only knows. Anyway, I expected someone would write in about it."

Another sighting was reported in 1955: in the Herald Express of 26 August, as follows: A number of strange objects, flying at great speed and "glowing with an incandescent light" were reported to have been seen over Birmingham last night by Mr. Denis Thursfield, a former R.N.V.R. lieutenant-commander, of Frederick Road, Aston, Birmingham. He said today that although he would not describe the objects as "flying saucers," it was a description which many people would apply to them. He added: "I was sitting in my garden at about 7.30 last night when I saw the first of the object". At first I thought they were aircraft at about 20,000 feet, but what seemed extraordinary was the fact that they were flying at such great speed and they left a short vapour trail behind them. I do not think they could have been ordinary aircraft because there was no sound from them, and they glowed with an incandescent light even when they went behind the clouds. They moved across the sky in formation, in a stately sort of manner, from the north-west, and were on a southerly course. There were about 15 of them. I would explain them as unexplained phenomena rather than as 'flying saucers,' " said Mr. Thursfield.

I have no records of sightings from the latter part of 1955 up to that of 11 May 1962, but I see only a small number of newspapers, usually just glancing over the main items, and I think it most probable that sightings are recorded every year somewhere in this country or abroad.

In the Herald Express of the date mentioned above there was this report: "Objects in Space" Test pilot, Joe Walker, reported that film taken during recent record-breaking flight to 246,700 feet in rocketpowered X-15 aircraft showed five or six mysterious objects. 'From what we can tell, thcy seemed to be disc-shaped, or perhaps even cylindrical, but it is impossible to estimate their size or distance from camera,'" he said.

This concludes the evidential sightings by various persons, whose names are recorded herein, and my personal evidence. It is undoubtedly but a fraction of the sightings which, for an unknown period, have been made throughout the world, and many more have been recorded, both in newspapers and magazines, in this country, the U.S.A., and elsewhere since the period which I have covered.

It is as well to bear in mind, in respect of sightings, that however often a "flying saucer" may appear in any district the chances of the same being observed by persons in that particular area are very slight. This is due to the fact that, although the "saucers" are most easily seen after dark, most persons walking or motoring around at that time are in brightly-lit streets, which gives little chance of a sighting being made, and, in any case, a person must happen to be looking in the right direction just at the short period that the object is in his or her view.

The best chance of a sighting being made is, of course, by anyone walking in the country after dark. In my own case, had I been looking eastwards towards the sea, as I often do when walking southwards from my garage down to my house, it is most probable that I should never have experienced the sighting which I have fully described.

Once observed by any person of normal intelligence, such persons cannot fail to see that "flying saucers" are, as I have stated earlier, quite unlike meteors, weather balloons, comets or any other things of an orthodox nature. With the great advances which in recent years have been made in space travel, the mystery of these occasional appearances may in time be solved--perhaps if not here then in the "hereinafter"! Many years ago, an elderly friend of my father erected on a quarry cliff of property which he owned a large board with painted thereon the words "The End not here or now." He was an intelligent man, a retired naval commander, and it is evident from the foregoing wording that he was convinced life continues, after our earthly existence, in another sphere where a greater knowledge will be ours--and many of us believe as he did.


July 1968

The contents of this book are copyright of the author, with the exception of the verbatim reports of sightings as quoted from newspapers or other publications in which the same have appeared.