Remote Control

Remote Control

1. X-raids, 1945-46

In the course of researching these incidents, we collected information from the RAF crew and battle control personnel who were on duty in the postwar period. We received two replies from senior RAF officers, who had been present when strange echoes had been revealed by the British air defense radar systems. The initial accidents occurred during the period 1945-47, immediately before and after the “phantom missile” had floated in Scandinavia. At that time Air Force Lt. Geoffrey Easterling was placed in Group 12 of the RAF Filter Room, Watnall, Nottinghamshire, where information from the Radar stations along the coast was compared and tracked. Group 12, he was responsible for air defense in a large swath of land on the English east coast and the access routes to the North Sea. Easterling remembered:

“During this period, accidents of many aircraft flying at high altitude were not uncommon. There were many of those called X-raids, collected on the vast range of Chain Home Radars – unidentified, high altitude and irregular. They did not indicate any civil airline and were too tall. They had been located at a height of over 35,000 feet and were very fast. This caused quite a bit of panic and doubt as that height was beyond the reach of each of our aircraft (the ones we knew). There was a meeting to discuss Russian spy planes, which monitored our radio frequencies and our R / T communications. It was suggested that they had gimmicks by which they could ascertain the limits of our Radar (through internal stratagems in their possession),”

Air Force Lt. Easterling remained convinced that these traces of high altitude flights were Soviet aircraft flying to and from occupied bases in Germany. “They were common fantasies during the Cold War,” he said. “We attributed these X-raids to Russian bombers. Sometimes the aircraft were coded but nothing was seen.”

Suspicions of Soviet intentions in Western Europe were rooted and in 1974 the previous Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, made his famous speech describing how an “Iron Curtain” had descended on the European continent. It was logical, in that climate of hostility, that the British defense chiefs would consider the possibility that “The ghost plane” located on the North Sea was a Russian flying intruder formula, developed using the latest German technology obtained at the end of the war.

2. The ghost plane

The mysterious echoes captured by the Radar came to the attention of the public when the ” London Daily Mail ” made the novice public on the front page of the edition of April 29, 1947. The title was ” Ghost plane over the coast, identified by the RAF, not they took it “:

“A ghost plane that flies off the coast of East Anglia, near Norwich, at midnight and at high altitude, disappears inland, puzzling the Royal Air Force. All the interception attempts made so far have failed. An excellent night fighter pilot was sent aboard the most modern Mosquito (an ultralight aircraft) of the Commando Caccia, but the ghost aircraft went away every time. It has always crossed the coast in approximately the same place, and has used an effective evasive tactic that is thought to be equipped with Radar that warn of the approach of an interception aircraft. Very often the Radar of the operators of the Commando Caccia, who have traced the path of the ghost plane on East Anglia, have seen the “signal” head to the right of their screen and disappear as if the plane had entered the deep hinterland. They vainly watched the signal reappear, moving in the opposite direction, as if the plane was flying back to the open sea. Some experts suggest that the plane is engaged in a very well organized and generously funded smuggling operation that uses one or more secret airstrips. According to authoritative information, the plane – of an unidentified type – has a speed of almost 400 miles per hour and a rapid change in variometric speed. Some experts suggest that the plane is engaged in a very well organized and generously funded smuggling operation that uses one or more secret airstrips. According to authoritative information, the plane – of an unidentified type – has a speed of almost 400 miles per hour and a rapid change in variometric speed. Some experts suggest that the plane is engaged in a very well organized and generously funded smuggling operation that uses one or more secret airstrips. According to authoritative information, the plane – of an unidentified type – has a speed of almost 400 miles per hour and a rapid change in variometric speed.”

Once questioned, the Air Force Ministry refused to speculate on the identity of the “ghost plane”, but they admitted to having received twice, what was described as “some extraordinary diagrams” from its coastal radar station, to the Commando Caccia. The “ghost plane”, according to the London Daily Mail , showed “very high altitude and remarkable speed changes” between 400 and 425 miles per hour, higher than the maximum speed achieved by the British night fighters, The Mosquitoes, which were slowly replacing the new Meteor jets with QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) functions.This ghost plane or “UFO” was classified in the RAF registers as “X-362”. The nomination of “X” for was assigned to numerous Radar tracks that could not be identified, and are assumed to be hostile. At the beginning of 1947 an “X” had become so familiar to the officers in the Operations Room of the Caccia Commando that they had invented a nickname for him “Charlie”. The plan to identify and intercept the “X” objectives became known through the code words: “Operation Charlie”.

3. Chain Home

In the post-war era, the British Air Force continued to rely on the Radar Chain Home (CH) system for air defense. The CH was a network of coastal stations characterized by antennas mounted on tall wooden towers. CHs appear crude to current standards but at the time they were the most advanced alarm system in the world. The Radars were developed in great secrecy, before the outbreak of the war and from 1939 its coverage extended from the Isle of Wight to the Scottish border. The CH gave the Commando Caccia, the warning of an approaching enemy aircraft to the English coast and the development of the Ground Controller Interception (GCI). The ground control made sure that the combat aircraft were guided towards them. The Chain Home allowed the RAF to win the English Battle and make sure that the Radar,

Occasionally in 1939 and again in 1941 before the English Battle, CH stations detected unusual Radar echoes along the English coast that were reported at the time of war to the Filter Rooms and the RAF Hunting Command. On several occasions the fighters equipped with the latest version of the Radar on board were made to take off very quickly for testing, but nothing was found and the phenomena were attributed to anomalous transmissions (AP) or “particular weather conditions”. As Britain was fighting a war, no in-depth investigation reports were made by the scientific staff, but the Air Force Ministry was beginning to be aware that the Radars that helped defend the English coast were prone to AP and other surnamed false returns. ”

At the end of the war the CHs were considered somewhat old and with little potential and only the GCI stations remained active, mainly during the day. Once or twice a month the system was turned on for a while, in the evening, because target exercises were organized by the Bomber Command. These involved convoys of timber that were transported south from their bases in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire at the time of the war. To reach the coast they would have crossed the North Sea, towards the Netherlands, while the GCI would have guided the fighters behind them to simulate “real” interceptions.

4. January 16, 1947 – The accident in the North Sea

On the evening of 16 January 1947, the Air Force Lt. David Richards was the chief and second in charge of the RAF group 11 filtering room, Bentley Priory. This was located in the expanse of Hill House, a large Victorian mansion in Stanmore, north east London. A targeting exercise was being performed that included squads 25 and 29 of the Mosquitoes, of the RAF west Malling in Kent. Two Squadron 29 aircraft were operating far from the east coast under GCI control at Trimely Heath, near Felixstowe, Suffolk. The GCI reported to the Group 11 Operation Room in Uxbridge, which in turn communicated the details to the Filter Room in Stanmore. The first clue that something strange had happened was when Richards received a call on a landline. He recalls:

” Trimley called me on the phone to report a strange diagram / signal, which was either stationary at very high altitude, or in irregular motion at great speed, and then stopped again. If it had been a conventional aircraft, it would have traveled uniformly, but This was not a plane, but it was something very strange 400 miles per hour (citing the London Daily Mail ) is a somewhat disappointing figure, which falls within the range of some types of aircraft of 1947. Someone (probably one of the Radar stations or Uxbridge, Group 11 operational headquarters) worked out the speed of the track, rather intermittently, and it turned up with the surprising figure of 1000 miles per hour! ”

A speed of 1000 miles per hour was truly amazing, until October 1947, when the US test pilot first broke the sound barrier (760 miles per hour / 1200 km above sea level) in a Bell X-1 rocket plane. RIchards continues:

“This estimated speed shows that the thing did not seem to move in a straight line, but disappeared and reappeared and sometimes remained motionless, before disappearing again. Without a visual identification that did not exist, it would be impossible for the crew to be certain that they are examining the same object. Note that the Mosquito would make an interception on a Lancaster in the interval of about 40 minutes. In this time, even 400 miles per hour on the straight would have brought the aircraft from the east coast to Scotland! I can remember this question of identifying the diagram that manifested in conversation between us, our stations and Umbridge at that time. They, Trimley Heat GCI, were looking at the screen and could judge whether the echo was from the same object or a new one. This probably resulted in the estimated speed, based on the reappearances in different places and at different heights. Trimley was questioned on this point, both by us and by Uxbridge, but without fail. After a few chats between Uxbridge and the scientific officials from the stations it was concluded that their diagrams were valid, no weather balloons etc. (which I had already done), it was decided to divert the investigations into the Mossies.”

If the target was an airplane, it was showing itself with unprecedented flight characteristics. And again, if it hadn’t been an airplane, what could it have been?

Air Force Lt. Easterling was also present at Group 11 Headquarters when the accident began. He remembered the initial trace of the Radar that occurred somewhere over the Dutch islands before being acquired by the GCI. “He came towards us in about an hour or so, stopping and leaving, towards Norfolk where he crossed the coast towards Lincolnshire. The Mossies were the only aircraft we had, capable of reaching that height by having oxygen.” David Richards confirms this impression. He stated that from the initial contact made near the Dutch coast “the object was almost certainly identified by our Chain Home stations. These do not normally operate on land and look only towards the sea.”

The details of the accident had been kept in the RAF’s records of operations (ORBs). The ORBs were the registers compiled by the RAF stations and the squadrons recorded the activities daily and monthly, including all the maneuvers performed which served as an exercise to the operations. During the Cold War, security restrictions implied that few, if not a few, annotations made in the ORBs were related to the investigation of “unidentified” radar tracks. For this reason, the registers of 1947 are unique as they allow us to reconstruct how the RAF reacted to the unknown.

The register of the Headquarters of the Eastern Hunting sector, RAF Horsham St. Faith (Norfolk) dated 16 January 1947, reveals:

” An unidentified aircraft was viewed in WC 9585 at 38,000 feet, and the Group was asked by the eastern sector for operations to send a Squadron 23 Mosquito to intercept it. Anyway, since there was no aircraft provided of oxygen, the request could not be met, and the operations sector was informed by group 12 that a Group 11 aircraft that was already flying for target exercise would try to intercept under Trimley Heat’s control. ”

The original track placed the target at 38,000 feet moving west across the north sea. According to a memorandum from the British Ministry of Defense drawn up for the United States Air Force, the incident started 50 miles off the Dutch coast at 52 ’52 “N 02′ 37″ E. Later contacts involved the Trimley Heat GCI, which he considered a lower altitude, associating the signal level with the bombers participating in the target-shooting exercise. At Trimley Heat the station’s operation logs recorded how the Mosquito HAIROIL 27 call sign would make an initial contact, with an unidentified target at 20.14 at 17,000 feet but, lost immediately afterwards. Despite looking for the target,

” Five other contacts were made in rapid succession with X.362 (Operation Charlie), which was pursued from 21.20 until 22.02, when the interception was abandoned due to problems with AI (Aircraft Radar). This objective was completely unidentified. The maximum interception was at 17,000 feet and the target dropped to 6,000 feet by 22.02. ”

A brief summary of the accident appears in the operations book of the headquarters of the Guerrillas Command of Group No. 11, which reads:

” … two aircraft operating on the east coast under Trimely Heat GCI made five contacts and five prey on Lancaster between 15,000 and 18,000 feet … one of these aircraft, chased an unidentified one between 9.30 and 10 pm, from 22,000 to 5,000 feet. No visual contact was obtained. ”

The US Air Force report sent to the “Ministry of Air Defense of Britain” reported the incident report, as follows:

” During normal night flights at 10.30pm one of the British Mosquitoes was the carrier of an unidentified A / C at 22,000 feet. A long pursuit took place on the North Sea about 50 miles from the Dutch coast and ended at 11pm on Norfolk. Two brief AI contacts were made but quickly faded. The unidentified aircraft appeared to have efficient control in an evasive action. ”

“Evasive action” implies intelligent control and this incident increased the fear that an enemy aircraft had entered the exercise. In any case, it was immediately clear that no Soviet aircraft could match the performance of this “flying object”.

The incident was also linked to another “X raid” tracked by the Radar, which occurred earlier on the same day. Shortly after noon, the Meteors of the RAF 74 and 245 squadrons of Horsam St. Faith were involved in an interception practice under the control of the RAF GCI in Neatishead, when an unidentified target was traced 30,000 feet above Norfolk. The officer in command of Squadron 74, the head of the Cooksey company was asked to divert and intercept, but was unable to follow the target due to lack of fuel. The call sign of the Meteor to Kremlin 34 was made with difficulty but “the aircraft disappeared north of Neatishead.”

Air Force Lt. Richards recalled the interest that followed to the Air Defense Ministry which ordered him to write “a confidential report” on the incident photocopied to the HQ Fighter Command.

“I would believe that the Filter Room’s graphic report would have been included in a more detailed Group 11 report that would include similar reports, likely to be confidential and not included in the GCI ORBs.” In summary, Richards said:

” Events are always fixed in my memory as my only” close encounter of the third type “and although the term” UFO “was not in use then, we wondered if the shrewd Russians had produced secret, fast-developing aircraft of German technology, which we at RAF, were starting to realize how important it was to have on our own. ”

Six months later, in July 1947 the “FBI” agreed to help the “US Army Air Force” in the very first studies of the “flying saucers” that would become Project Sign. One of the unexplained incidents that was forwarded to the bureau was a copy of the summary of the British Air Defense Ministry memo regarding the incident in the North Sea. The summary of the British Air Defense Ministry case stated that: “No explanation was forthcoming, nor was it repeated.”

This information was not entirely accurate, because a very similar incident happened only 24 hours after the episode in the North Sea. As a direct result, the Hunting Command immediately extended its view of the Night Radars.

5. January 17, 1947: Operation Charlie Phase 2

On the afternoon of January 17, 1947, Chain Home stations in Lincolnshire (Skendleby and Humberstone) traced what they described as “an exceptionally good track” (U294) 10,000 feet above the North Sea. With the eastern sector on the alert, Meteor jets from Squadron 245 were put on hold, ready for a quick take-off if Charlie had entered the range, but the trail vanished from their screens. At 7.45 pm the Radar station in Humberstone near Grimsby again tracked an unidentified target over the sea for a period of approximately 30 minutes, at a speed of approximately 200 miles per hour. The station report:

” U 360 (unidentified track) was followed continuously for 90 miles at 10,000 feet, moving from east to west over the north sea, before changing direction south, moving once more to the Norfolk coast. ”

Tension can be measured by a recording stating that this was “the longest guard period ever since the end of hostilities, running six and a half hours until 01.30”.

During the evening, the Mosquitoes of squadron 23 remained “waiting” for Charlie’s return under the control of the RAF Neatishead. Located on the local road in Norfolk, Neatishead is the oldest radar station in the world. It started in 1941 and became a GCI station the following year. In his reports, Squadron Leader SL Cruwys, reported that on January 17th one of the Mosquitoes in Squadron 23 was “sent off just before midnight to intercept an unidentified high altitude aircraft.” Cruwys reported how an attempted approach was made, when the contact was at 18,000 feet but, “the observer was unable to maintain it because the target was moving violently”. Other contacts were made when the target quickly dropped to 2,000 feet,

The East Sector Headquarters report adds further details:

” A Mosquito from Squadron 23, from pilot Kent, was ready at Wittering to attempt an interception of the unidentified aircraft, which had been tracked several times lately. At 8.40 pm it was tracked at WN 6038 (square grid). The track in a the first moment was heading south and the Mosquito, which had been put on hold, was brought back into action, but when the track turned again in the direction of the east sector the Mosquito had to leave quickly at 11.27 pm. 1 or 2 miles several times, no interception was made of the target that carried out a violent evasive action.The track vanished at 00.15 and after having searched the north-south border for a while, the aircraft returned to the base at 00.45. ”

The Mosquito pilot was a WWII veteran, a nightfighter aviator born in Sheffield, William Kent. His report confirms the accident. In red ink he notes a strange nocturnal sortie at 1 and 45 minutes: “A somewhat shaken interception”. In 2001 we tracked down and interviewed Kent, who retired from the RAF with the rank of Group Commander.

He clearly remembered the accident:

“Being one of the few pilots with a war experience and therefore having knowledge of the request, I shouted to the navigator and to the ground staff and I jumped over the base in less than four minutes. In a confusion that we had never listened to in any order from the operations phone (the speed in the air is supreme) so, I had no idea what was being plotted until, going up in height and resuming close control, I was give quick instructions from the radio telegraph. The ORBs report is correct, except on reflection in hindsight that the unidentified “aircraft” was almost certainly an unconventional aircraft. He lost height and as stated by the onboard radar the contact was much more difficult to maintain, to be established and maintained with the aircraft descending towards the ground. The navigator screen was flooded with the ground and became among the most disordered, I imagine …”

Kent’s meeting with “Charlie” beyond East Aanglia continued for 20 minutes until the ground control replaced the instructions and the navigator tried to capture the object with the Mosquito Radar.

” Never at any height, despite the sporadic radar contacts, did I manage to visualize something, but on a dark night at close range from a target at a speed of around 10 or 20 knots (11 or 23 miles per hour), with a extreme care in avoiding a collision and then maneuvering only a few degrees from the center, in night vision you should see a dark silhouette, often frighteningly close! ”

After losing contact the adventure ended and Kent continued to patrol the area with no other success. The following day he discussed the incident with the Neatishead controller and a report was sent to the officer in command of group 12. They decided that the “unidentified aircraft” had most likely been a weather balloon with a leak. The goal of the Radar, if this theory had been correct, would have been produced by the reflection of the metal pipes since the balloon was falling towards the ground. “The report, which I have seen, has no comment except a sketch on the edge of a punched ball.” Kent remembered.

Kent’s skepticism was typical of the RAF’s pragmatic behavior both for the “ghost plane” and, in the following years, towards the enigma of the flying saucer. However, the intrusions continued and Charlie appeared again on the night of January 23 although three senior officers from the Central Fighter Establishment were visiting the RAF’s Neatishead to check on an interception exercise. This was canceled when “an unidentified high altitude aircraft” appeared on the GCI radar at 28,000 feet. Squadron 23 Mosquitoes, which under normal circumstances would have been taken off immediately, were unavailable because they were already flying to RAF’s Coltishall. The closest and most available aircraft, a Mosquito from RAF Linton-on-Ouse Squadron 264 in Yorkshire, he was sent quickly but before he could reach the Norfolk coast, Charlie had disappeared from the radar screens. During the alert, the eastern sector arranged help from Squadron 74 Meteors and Air Force Lt. Lawrence was dispatched to “identify an unidentified aircraft offshore.” The “aircraft” disappeared before an interception was possible and with time. worsening, Lawrence’s Meteror who risked a severe freeze was forced to return to Horsham St Faith.

6. The investigation by the Ministry of Aeronautics.

This was the third time that the unidentified flying object was tracked by the defense stations on the English east coast, and the third time that the interception attempts ended in failure. On each occasion the mysterious signal came from the North Sea, towards Norfolk, before descending from the high altitude and disappearing from the Radar cover. Concern was escalating, and the ORBs report, as a direct result of the January 23 incident, Sewart Flight Officer from Northern Signal Headquarters spent six days at the RAF Neatishead on a special mission to investigate the mysterious events. Officer Sewart’s job was to produce a report “on the

Sewart’s report was completed on January 27, 1947, but is missing from the Public Relations office file, where it was listed as an attachment to the station register. Summarizing its contents, the leader of the Cruwys Squadron said “the evidence seems to be very strong” that the unidentified trace was caused by radio-sounding balloons released from the Downham Market in Norfolk. Downham was an airport for WWII bombers, which was used by the 8th USAAF Weather Squadron in 1947, to release balloons for studying the upper atmosphere. It can be inferred, in the absence of this original report, that Sewart linked the release of the radio probe balloon with Charlie’s movements. He may have decided that the balloons were trapped in a turbulence d ‘ air that developed over southern England, and then been blown back to the Norfolk stations. Their movements, although trapped in the upper air currents, would have taken the Radar operators to take them out of the way and cause them to be mistaken for aircraft.

In any case, the statements made by the Ministry of Air Force, mainly to the press in April 1947 and again to USAAF in July, clearly contradict Sewart’s conclusions and imply that the air staff remained with an open mind about identity by Charlie. Even the report by the Captain of Group Kent on the “unidentified aircraft” ends with this comment: “I said that an encounter with an exploded balloon was a possibility, later deduced from his behavior … but at that time these things (records flying) were unheard of and not taken seriously at all. ”

Other expert opinions attributed the strange Radar signal to bizarre weather conditions, in fact, Operation Charlie coincided with the arrival, on January 24, 1947 of a very cold weather in the south of England, a fact that did not escape attention of the Ministry of Air Force. Before the 1950s, knowledge of the role played by bizarre weather conditions and producing “false” echoes called “angels” was still in its infancy, although it was understood somewhat at the time, astronomer Dr. J. Allen Hynek , who was hired as a consultant for the US Air Force’s Blue Book project, believed that “atmospheric capsize effects” were most likely to explain the reports on the British “ghost plane”.

The Ministry of Air Force may have decided to exclude the majority of the mysterious signals on its screens, because balloons, but in July, when the US authorities began investigating the reports of “flying saucers”, the RAF continued to list the incidents in the sea of the north, as inexplicable. On Dr. Hynek’s note on this case we read: “The object observed here was obviously not astronomical. From the information given, it appears to be definitively an aircraft …” This raises an obvious question: if it was an aircraft, So where did it come from?

According to Geoff Easterling, the RAF’s prime suspect was a Russian intruder aircraft, which took off from a base in occupied Germany. In any case, if the speed and performance of the target traced on January 16, 1947, remembered by David Richards (and apparently confirmed simultaneously by the press reports) is correct, then it becomes an unlikely proposal. Soviet aircraft were unreliable over a wide range, and it seems inconceivable that a spy mission could risk a flight over English territory in a reckless way during a period of extreme and impracticable weather conditions. In addition, the Soviet version of the US B-25 were capable of a maximum speed of 250-300 knots (128-154 meters per second), a figure well within the possibility of interception of the RAF Mosquitoes.

It remains unclear whether other unidentified radar signals continued to haunt the RAF, because the era of the “ghost plane” became the era of the “flying saucers”. Recordings of Radar station reports on the English south coast describe a number of similar incidents during April and May 1947. In a report from the RAF Rye, a CH station in Kent, it reads: “… the most remarkable trace obtained it is an unidentified aircraft that has been reported from 52 miles to over the 186 mile limit. ”

The captain of Gruppo Kent recalls: “I have no other sorties listed in my reports as difficult interceptions like that of January 17, 1947, but I have flown a few other times against” strange “and” sinister “signals such as that seen by the Ground Radar in the surrounding area of East Anglia Island. I flew at least once in the day but saw nothing. ”

When the rumors about the state of panic of January 1947 leaked to national newspapers, in April the Ministry of Air Force decided to deny everything he knew. A spokesman told the Daily Telegraph that they would not take further action. “We have found no evidence to support the reports at all,” he said. The Yorkshire Post he was less inclined to let the mystery run completely and his newspaper proposed the problem from a different perspective:

” The Radar had reported some strange things at the time, from children’s kites, raindrops, to flocks of goose, but surely it had never traced anything stranger than this. What was the aircraft? Speculations brought us into those regions where the scenarios were at the center of so many terrifying stories in children’s books. Are you a diamond or drug smuggler? Is there a communication between a secret agent of one foreign power and another? secret documents and probably also a beautiful spy woman on board. Is it a guided missile? ”

The newspaper had compared the mystery of the ghost plane with the reports of the German ghost Zeppelin, which circulated before the outbreak of the First World War and observed: “It seems to be established that, it is only in a period of particular stress, that the public is in the psychological state to receive and circulate this kind of story. ” The practical steps to solve the mystery were clear: “The fast RAF fighters must continue in an attempt to intercept the visitor in case he returns. Our air service has the fastest fighters in the world and it should not be too difficult, in the meantime we we can enjoy the atmosphere of mystery and imagination that surrounds the phantom aircraft. ”

7. Conclusion

The most fascinating reference of Operation Charlie is not found in the pages of newspapers, but in the memoirs of the then head of the Blue Book Project, Captain Edward Ruppelt. In his book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects(The Report on an Unidentified Flying Object), published in 1956, the retired officer devotes several pages to the description of an intelligent instruction document drawn up by the staff of the Project Sign in early 1948. This is the legendary “Estimate of the situation “, which lists a number of unexplained sightings and determines that the most likely explanation” was that they (the flying saucers) were interplanetary. ” The assessment traveled up to the highest echelons of the US Air Force where the chief of staff, General Hoyt S. Vanderberg, retorted. “The general would not purchase interplanetary vehicles and the report lacks evidence,” wrote Edward J. Ruppelt. “A few months later, it would be completely declassified and relegated to incinerators.”

Controversy has never surrounded the state of evaluation, as ever since Edward J. Ruppelt wrote these words. Not a single copy appears to have survived, and some have suggested that it never existed. In any case, Ruppelt describes by reading a copy that survived destruction, and exposes it as “a thin document with a white cover … with the words TOP SECRET printed on the front.” Included in the assessment was a collection of UFO reports prior to Kenneth Arnold’s sighting of June 24, 1947. The authors of the report used these to support their interplanetary theory, arguing that sightings prior to Arnold’s sightings did not they could be discarded like a drug addict or the sound of a shot in the distance from media stories.

The investigation into British reports established that six months before Kenneth Arnold’s sighting, the RAF had noted its first official report of an “unidentified flying object”. Furthermore, since July 1947 when the first “flying saucer” sighting occurred in the United States, the Air Force Ministry was unavailable to explain the intrusion it reported in January of that year. This implies that, a change of information about the “unidentified flying object” between the US and the UK began in 1946-47 with the ghost rocket and ghost planes. Cold War historian Richard Aldrich writes that air force was the latest trend of the post-war period “and it was appropriate that the

Air information files regarding “Operation Charlie” cannot be traced to the Public Reporting Office or the RAF Historic Branch at Bentley Priory. In any case, documents in the U.S. National Archives show the Assistant Chief of Staff of the Air Force of the Air Force Ministry, Air Force Vice Marshal Sir Thomas Elmhirst, working closely with his colleague from the Air Force Army ( General George McDonald) during the “ghost rocket” alarm in 1946. Although the Swedes had asked the RAF “to take all possible measures, to prevent the Americans from discovering that they (the Swedes) were fully cooperating in investigation into mysterious missiles “, Elmhirst discreetly passed all information on the subject to McDonald’s in Washington. Given the level of collaboration between post-war allies, we can be sure that a dossier on which Ruppelt cited “Operation Charlie” would have been shared at the highest levels with the Americans when the Project Sign was created. What the study contained and what conclusion it reached remains a mystery.

David Clarke

Note: In the original English-language document, the author wished to thank everyone who assisted him in the search, including Group Captain William Kent, British Air Force Lt. David Richards, British Air Force Lieutenant Geoff Easterling, Martin Shough, Jan Aldrich, Steven Payne and Mike Hooks of The Airplane.

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