By Nick Redfern
Back in 1996, I received a number of stories – some from retired, British military personnel – suggesting that if I wanted to find out what the British Government really knew about UFOs – and particularly so crashed UFOs - I would be wise to focus my attentions not so much on the work of the Ministry of Defense, but on that of the Home Office. Although the Home Office is chiefly known for its work in the fields of counter-terrorism, immigration, and crime policy, there are indications that its work delves into far deeper, and much more mysterious, areas, too.
According to several of the accounts provided to me back in ’96, the Home Office oversaw the security surrounding a number of secret, underground bunkers located across the south and southwest of England. They were built as fortified havens for senior military and government personnel, in the event of a nuclear strike on the UK by the Soviets during the Cold War. I was advised, however, that deep within two of the bunkers were stored the remains of a number of alien bodies – all preserved in cryogenic states.
Of course, there is nothing new about such controversial claims. There are numerous accounts - particularly within the United States – of retired military personnel supposedly having seen extraterrestrial corpses in “secret hangars” or in “classified vaults.” And, indeed, many people with an interest in Ufology will know of the rumors surrounding the supposed “Hangar 18″ and the tales of dead aliens at Area 51.
What makes the stories about the Home Office and UFOs so interesting and different, however, is the noted lack of attention they have received over the years. That’s not to say there isn’t an intriguing body of data available. Quite the contrary: there actually is an intriguing body of data on this matter. According to researcher and author Timothy Good, in his 1987 book, Above Top Secret:
“A close friend of mine whom I have known since 1952 witnessed the landing of an unidentified flying object in Derbyshire in September 1963, and subsequently came into contact with its operators. Four years afterwards two men with Home Office identification cards turned up at my friend’s flat and politely asked a number of questions which clearly indicated that they were familiar with aspects of the incident.”
Similarly, in 1982 Good interviewed an eye-opening interview with a retired police inspector, in an attempt to determine if the UFO issue was subject to the constraints of the British Government’s Official Secrets Act – a piece of legislation utilized to muzzle government employees when deemed necessary by officialdom. According to Good’s source: “What I can say to you, is that I know the subject itself was the subject of a Home Office directive.”
Further data that suggested a link between the world of the UFO and that of the Home Office came from the late Graham Birdsall of UFO Magazine, who informed me that he had spoken with one George Wild – a prison officer at Armley Prison in the English city of Leeds – on a highly controversial matter of a UFO nature.
Wild informed Birdsall that a “senior Home Office prison official” had once let it slip to him that on the first night of the famous series of UFO incidents at Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England in December 1980, high-level orders had arrived at the nearby High Point Prison advising staff to prepare for a possible evacuation of the inmates due to a matter of national security.
I also learned in 1996, from a now-retired UK government official, that the Home Office had extensive guidelines in place in the event that a space satellite decayed from its orbit and crashed on British soil. “You could equally apply those guidelines to a crashed UFO,” he said, with a smile of the knowing kind. Acting on this information, in December 1996, I telephoned the Home Office and asked to be put through to their Press Office.
I explained the situation: I was interested to know what the Home Office’s response would be if a large, metallic object from space – such as a satellite – crashed to earth on the UK. I considered it wise not to mention UFOs, even though that was my primary area of interest.
I was transferred to a helpful man who informed me that the responsibility for monitoring satellite movements over the British Isles was predominantly the domain of the tracking station at RAF Fylingdales, Yorkshire. If it appears there is a possibility, however remote, that a satellite in a decaying orbit might impact on the UK, Fylingdales had standing orders to keep the Ministry of Defense informed, who in turn were obliged to advise the Home Office of the unfolding situation. As the Press Officer explained to me:
“The Home Office has responsibility for emergency planning, which obviously isn’t specific, necessarily, to satellites. But the situation is they only really become a matter for the Home Office when they’ve landed, because that’s when the emergency services come into play.”
He continued: “For example, there was one recently – a Chinese satellite which came down. That was one we were kept well informed of and were aware of. We were advised of the expected time it was going to land and all that kind of stuff. We don’t really take much actual action; our side would be more the policy angle; ensuring that all the right contingency plans are in place.”
My next stop: RAF Fylingdales.
“You want the Space Information Officer,” I was advised by the switchboard operator at Fylingdales when I detailed my quest to her. A few moments later the SIO was on the line: “We track satellites all the time. When there are predictions for satellite decays – this is maintained by US and UK authorities – and if there is one which is potentially going to cause problems, the Ministry of Defense and the Home Office are the people who get involved.
“We would just track it and keep those people up to date with what was happening with the satellite at the time. The Home Office and the MoD do all the coordination. Accurate predictions as to where something is going to crash are very difficult: it depends exactly on what the satellite’s doing – if it’s rolling or if it’s got high drag in one part or another. It also depends on what angle it enters the upper end of the atmosphere.
“There are experts that are able to calculate to within an hour or so when it’s coming down. We can advise the Home Office and the MoD of the position of the satellite, how it’s moving, whether it’s speeding up, slowing down, or whether it’s changing its attitude, or whatever.”
In addition, and also in 1996, I received a newly-declassified Home Office directive of 1979 titled Home Office Circular No. ES 5/1979, Satellite Accidents. It dealt with Home Office guidelines for dealing with the possible recovery of stricken space vehicles on the British mainland. The document stated:
“It is for the Government to decide whether, and if so by what means, a public warning of danger from radioactivity should be given. In reaching that decision, the need to prevent unnecessary alarm would be carefully considered. Chief Officers should therefore ensure that nothing is done locally to anticipate a Government statement.
“When reports of suspected or actual locations have been received the police should take such steps as may be needed locally to prevent people entering areas which may be dangerous because of radioactive material. Some larger pieces of debris might have radiation fields of significance over distances of the order of 100 meters.”
The document then went on to illustrate the many and varied divisions within the British Government that had jurisdiction in the area of fallen spacecraft. As well as the Home Office, this included: the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston; the National Radiological Protection Board; the Ministry of Defense; Chief Officers of Police and Chief Fire Officers in the UK; and representatives of the “NAIR Scheme” – the National Arrangements for Incidents Involving Radioactivity.
Clearly the directive – and the testimony of the staff at the Home Office and at RAF Fylingdales – was relative to the Home Office’s involvement in the recovery of crashed space vehicles of terrestrial origin. But what of the Home Office’s link with objects of possible non-terrestrial origin? I have to admit that, although I have a number of stories on-file concerning alleged Home Office involvement in crashed UFO events in the UK, nothing concrete or definitive has ever surfaced. Nevertheless, where there is smoke there is often a degree of fire, too…