Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident

But Sirius was NOT directly south at the 3.15 time of that comment. It was a good 45 degrees off south, in the southwest. That's hardly a minor discrepancy.
No, but Sirius was south of Halt, and gradually losing altitude, as described in the tape. At 0400 it was approximately the same height off the horizon as Halt stated ('five to ten degrees' ) . Note that any object that hangs around in the sky for at least three quarters of an hour, gradually moving lower over time is almost certainly a star or planet moving towards the horizon.

I am quite happy to think that Halt was looking at Jupiter for some of the duration of the event - it would have been partially obscured by moonlight, but that might have made it look even stranger to someone who was not familiar with the sky. At no point in the tape does Halt, or anyone else, ever say -'Look, there's Sirius' or 'The object is near Jupiter' or anything that suggests they are familiar with the celestial objects visible in the sky at that time.
 
I am quite happy to think that Halt was looking at Jupiter for some of the duration of the event - it would have been partially obscured by moonlight, but that might have made it look even stranger to someone who was not familiar with the sky. At no point in the tape does Halt, or anyone else, ever say -'Look, there's Sirius' or 'The object is near Jupiter' or anything that suggests they are familiar with the celestial objects visible in the sky at that time.
I submit that Halt was familiar with the moon; and if observing Jupiter, would likely have remarked on the object being near the moon. However, I would expect him to recognize a light near the moon as a star.

A light closer to the horizon is much easier mistaken for a craft.
 
External Quote:

Near the end of his tape, Halt says: ’03:30 and the objects are still in the sky, although the one to the south looks like it’s losing a little bit of altitude. We’re turning around and heading back toward the base.’...

...British investigator Jenny Randles adds another telling quote on pp. 123–4 of her book UFO Crash Landing (1998). She says Halt told her that when he was back at base, ‘the objects were still in the sky – however, it was getting light and they were getting faint’. Jenny adds: ‘I suspect that this is the final clue that demonstrates that these star-like lights to the north were, indeed, just stars.’
Ian Ridpath, http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/rendlesham3.html

When a well-known Ufologist (don't know if she uses the term) says, from the evidence that you've given her, you were probably looking at stars, it might be worth considering that there wasn't an extraterrestrial (etc.) presence.
 
@John J. , the report says "We are terming it a UFO", yet it continues with the result saying "Only lights visible this area was Orford lighthouse."

Might they be using the term "UFO" to mean simply "unidentified", with no other-worldly implications at all? It specifies that the investigating troops were unarmed, which makes me think they were not alarmed at all by the sighting.
 
@John J. , the report says "We are terming it a UFO", yet it continues with the result saying "Only lights visible this area was Orford lighthouse."

The Suffolk police station log records that they were contacted by USAF Airman 1st Class Arnold, who was at the RAF Bentwaters Law Enforcement Desk. Arnold told the Suffolk police
"We [USAF personnel] are terming it as a U.F.O. at present"

As a result of this communication, Suffolk Constabulary officers attended the area of the sighting.
After they attended, their findings were documented
External Quote:

Result
Air Traffic Control West Drayton checked, no knowledge of aircraft. Reports received of aerial phenomena over southern England during the night. Only lights visible this area was from Orford light house. Search made of area- negative.
It specifies that the investigating troops were unarmed, which makes me think they were not alarmed at all by the sighting.
The servicemen had absolutely no legal or treaty rights to be armed off-base whether they were alarmed or not, which is why Arnold specifies that they were unarmed. (As we've read, it's possible someone inadvertently carried their pistol with them).

-There might have been some very narrow exceptions in some circumstances which would allow armed US personnel to leave the base without prior arrangement; none of which would apply here, and none of which have ever occurred since WW2, AFAIK (US bases remain in the UK, like most people I'm very happy they're there).

The two Suffolk police officers attending at that time would each be armed with an approved wooden truncheon.

The situation in West Germany was different, American (and British) MPs and some other troops would be routinely on duty and armed in public areas.

Not sure we know what Arnold meant by "UFO", and he didn't specify who "we" were. To me, the term contrasts with the Security Police's first concerns that maybe a light aircraft had crashed.
 
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The servicemen had absolutely no legal or treaty rights to be armed off-base whether they were alarmed or not, which is why Arnold specifies that they were unarmed. (As we've read, it's possible someone inadvertently carried their pistol with them).

-There might have been some very narrow exceptions in some circumstances which would allow armed US personnel to leave the base without prior arrangement; none of which would apply here, and none of which have ever occurred since WW2, AFAIK (US bases remain in the UK, like most people I'm very happy they're there).
I believe you, and it would seem to be a logical arrangement . Still, if you have a source for that handy, putting it on record here might be useful. (If it has already been provided in the thread, I apologize, searches for relevant terms did not find anything...)
 
Still, if you have a source for that handy, putting it on record here might be useful.
I think that's a perfectly sensible request, to which I can't really provide a satisfactory, clear-cut answer.
But visiting armed forces personnel at not free to carry weapons as they, or their CO, wishes outside of their bases in the UK.
There's over 72 years of history for anyone to look for contrary evidence! :)

There is a "Status of Forces" agreement between the US and UK that details under what circumstances US military personnel may be armed and their rules of engagement. As you'd expect, those RoEs are not made public for security purposes.
"Friendly Forces" stationed in the UK are governed by the Visiting Forces Act of 1952
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6and1Eliz2/15-16/67/contents

British troops "on stag" (security duties) in the UK can't wander off-base with service weapons on their own recognisance. The same applies to non-UK forces (e.g. the USAF Security Police and Col. Halt from RAF Bentwaters).

Civil society in Britain is largely gun-free. Most police officers receive no use-of-firearms training.
External Quote:
The proportion of armed officers to unarmed officer has remained stable over the last 4 years at around 5%. There was a fall of -0.3% to 5% as of March 2020.
From (UK) Home Office, Police use of firearms statistics, England and Wales: April 2019 to March 2020

pf1.JPG

(same source). -This (obviously) includes London. Scotland, NI have their own figures but are proportionately similar IIRC.


There might be circumstances where, say, USAF Security Police could lawfully leave a UK base without prior arrangement while armed, but I have no knowledge of those. A strictly hypothetical scenario might be having "eyes on" armed assailants who have seized powerful weaponry. More prosaically, no-one would criticise servicemen escaping e.g. fire or a vapour hazard from an accident for retaining control of their arms. As Duke has implied, those here who might know details probably can't share them.

In the event of war with the Warsaw Pact in the 1980s, the UK government would probably have enabled the Emergency Powers Act, and the legal status of US forces in the UK might have changed. It would make more sense to engage enemy forces- Soviet desant teams, maybe fifth columnists- as far away as possible from the resources being defended.

The United States hosts many foreign service personnel, admittedly mainly for training/ liaison/ exchange purposes (not formed units on an active deployment). However welcoming the local community might be, eyebrows might be raised if a foreign contingent left their accommodation, armed, to investigate lights in the woods outside their base that they couldn't explain! (It's still a bit strange if they're unarmed).

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

...which makes me think they were not alarmed at all by the sighting.
TBH I think you're right (in the sense that most were not alarmed by the reported sightings).
There is no record of any base-wide alert or any stand-to of off-duty Security Police that we know of on the 26th.
Despite initial concerns about a downed aircraft, no-one contacts the 67th Air Rescue and Recovery Sqn., all of 4 km away; no-one alerts the local fire or ambulance services.

The RAF (in effect USAF) Bentwaters Law Enforcement Desk contacts the local civilian police, much as they might do for a brawl in a pub or a traffic accident involving their personnel.
Surely the Law Enforcement Desk, certainly the Central Security Center, had secure links to the UK Ministry of Defence (and armed MoD Police) and RAF? As well as RAF Police, the RAF had/ has the RAF Regiment, which operates in small highly mobile units to defend airfields.

A very small number of Security Policemen, mainly new to the area, see strange lights on the night following Christmas Day.
Three pursue those lights, only one (Penniston) doesn't agree that the lighthouse was at least possibly partly responsible.
Penniston is the only one described as agitated in his responses to his line-of-command officer.

The following night, Col. Halt leads a small party to investigate an apparent recurrence of the lights.
Again, there is no stand-to of base Security Police. Personnel at RAF Woodbridge are not alerted.

Halt goes on to send his infamous memo; the object he describes as having been seen is the object described by Penniston in his 02 January statement.

Meanwhile, for local people and the majority of personnel at RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge- and their families- life, and work, continued as per usual (to the best of our current knowledge).
 
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They're trained and experienced with regard to their job, not with regard to UFO hunting.
They can be good at one thing and bad at another.
If you're trying to appeal to authority, you need to establish credentials in the field, but that's difficult because, until today, nobody has successfully identified a confirmed UFO.

No, and its odd that you claim 'appeal to authority' fallacy whilst actually presenting 'false dilemma' fallacy as your own argument.

The argument is surely not whether Halt and his men were good at 'identifying UFOs', especially given that UFO by definition means 'unidentified'. The argument surely has to be just how bad Halt and his men were at identifying common or garden stars. You know, those things that would have appeared in the sky thousands of times in the lifetime of a 41 year old deputy base commander and the half a dozen or so men who were with him.

At the very least we're being asked to believe that our nuclear security against the Soviet Union was in the hands of men ( in Halt's case a former flight engineer ) who could not recognise lighthouses or stars. I find that more concerning than any alien invasion.
 
No, but Sirius was south of Halt, and gradually losing altitude, as described in the tape. At 0400 it was approximately the same height off the horizon as Halt stated ('five to ten degrees' ) . Note that any object that hangs around in the sky for at least three quarters of an hour, gradually moving lower over time is almost certainly a star or planet moving towards the horizon.

No....not if you actually look at Stellarium. Sirius was not 'directly south' at the 3.15 time Halt says an object was there to the south.

Here is the actual night sky on that night and time...

rendlesham.jpg
 
At the very least we're being asked to believe that our nuclear security against the Soviet Union was in the hands of men ( in Halt's case a former flight engineer ) who could not recognise lighthouses or stars. I find that more concerning than any alien invasion.
It was the day after Christmas, a holiday famous for overindulgence in a good many things. Has the question of their sobriety been addressed?
 
At the very least we're being asked to believe that our nuclear security against the Soviet Union was in the hands of men ( in Halt's case a former flight engineer ) who could not recognize lighthouses or stars.
No, I don't think so. I think we're being asked to believe that under a certain set of circumstances, including the circumstances of how their errors in perception fed into each other's errors of perception, they did not recognize some combination of a lighthouse and some stars/planets. This is not equivalent to a claim that they were not capable of recognizing mundane phenomena, including these specific items -- it is merely claiming that, on this occasion, they failed to do so. After all, they would be presented with mundane phenomena every day of their lives, but we only have a UFO report from them related to this one incident.


I find that more concerning than any alien invasion.
Possibly, but I find it MUCH more likely than an alien invasion.
 
A very small number of Security Policemen, mainly new to the area, see strange lights on the night following Christmas Day.
Three pursue those lights, only one (Penniston) doesn't agree that the lighthouse was at least possibly partly responsible.
Penniston is the only one described as agitated in his responses to his line-of-command officer.

The following night, Col. Halt leads a small party to investigate an apparent recurrence of the lights.

My understanding is that it was not the 'night after' the Penniston and Burroughs incident but actually 2 days later, and that various staff had been messing about in the woods all the intervening time and had even set up various lights and equipment at the alleged 'landing site'. When Halt got the infamous ' they're back' call, there were already people in the woods. Of course...the obvious question is what on earth were they doing there in the middle of the night in the first place.
 
On the night of Saturday 1980 December 27 Lt Col Halt was at an officers’ dinner at RAF Woodbridge when Lt Bruce Englund came in and said: ‘The UFO is back’. A group of men had reportedly seen unexplained lights in the forest, although we have no first-hand accounts from these witnesses, unlike with the witnesses on the first night. Halt returned to his quarters at RAF Bentwaters to change and joined the group out in the forest some time after midnight on December 28. The investigation initially focused on the supposed landing marks that had been found on the morning of December 26. [...] Throughout the events recorded on the tape, it is Bruce Englund who is guiding Halt around the site and he is also the person who first points out the flashing light. Englund himself has never gone on record about the events of that night.

Given the officers' dinner and the late hour I also wondered about the question of sobriety like @Ann K. I don't recall seeing that addressed anywhere.

Also, Lt Englund seems to be the main one pushing for extraordinary events that night. He's the one who told Halt the UFO was back, and he's the one on the tape making a point any time there was a difference in radiation readings and trying to correlate them with the "impressions" and "center" of the site, he's the one claiming that the axe marks on the tree bark are pointing at the center of the site, he's the one claiming radiation readings while pointing at the light(house). Odd that he never went on record.

Given the interruption of the party and the nature of the events, many others on base were monitoring Halt's reporting over the radio, including his commanding officer Col Ted Conrad. They went out to see the lights being reported but saw nothing.
The rest of [27 December 1980] saw Lt Col Halt assemble our meagre assets. These were a Geiger counter, starlight scope (night vision device) and trained SP investigators out at the site in Rendlesham Forest. The investigation lasted until late evening where the site was starlight scoped, after which all went home except Lt Col Halt and some unknown SP’s. This was the night of Halt’s famous audiotape. He also had a two-way communication radio, which allowed me, and the SP’s to monitor his reports. [...] Lt Col Halt’s report of more lights both on the ground and in the sky brought quite a few people out of their houses at Woodbridge to see what was there. These people included myself, my wife, Lt Col Sawyer (the Director of Personnel), his wife, and several others listening to my radio and looking for the lights Halt was describing. Despite a sparkling, clear, cloudless, fogless night with a good field of view in all directions, we saw nothing that resembled Lt Col Halt’s descriptions either in the sky or on the ground. This episode ended in the early morning hours of [28 December 1980].
 
I think I have finally solved the Rendlesham 'UFO' mystery....an explanation nobody has ever yet come up with yet it can be backed up by actual data. Not even Ridpath spotted this....

The lighthouse, from the East Gate, is at 94 degrees from north. Everyone has always assumed that the lighthouse was the ONLY explanation.

But...lo and behold, the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn around the nights in question in December 1980 rose in the east.....at exactly 94 degrees from north. In other words, right behind the lighthouse !

It would all have looked quite weird. Not only the lighthouse lights but also Jupiter and Saturn very close together, rising up above the lighthouse at around 00.30 hours. We know the Halt tape actually covers several hours....though I have not anywhere seen an exact time it starts ( maybe someone has that info ) he'd been called from a dinner so it can't have been middle of night when it all started, and probably was around 00.30 or so....

Here's Stellarium for that night....Jupiter and Saturn conjunction rising at 94 degrees...same angle as the lighthouse.

rendlesham_2.jpg
 
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External Quote:
Britain's most famous UFO mystery was a prank played on the Americans by the SAS, according to insiders.

The truth about the Rendlesham Forest incident in Suffolk has been kept under wraps for 38 years. But now it is claimed the US air force was fooled by the SAS in revenge for capturing a squad and subjecting them to a brutal interrogation.

The SAS men spent the autumn nights reconnoitring the perimeter of the base where it met Rendlesham Forest. As December approached, lights and coloured flares were rigged in the woods. Black helium balloons were also coupled to remote-controlled kites to carry suspended materials into the sky, activated by radio-controls.

“The USAF was ‘reassured’ at a very senior level and no UK investigation was undertaken – for obvious reasons.”
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/20...sh-ufo-mystery-prank-played-us-air-force-sas/

I've looked through the thread, have not seen anyone bring up this explanation.
 
David Clarke's new material is at https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/rendlesham-forest-ufos/ , the blogspot content is out of date.


It is apparent that Col Conrad’s recall of the precise chronology is slightly different from what has been established from the contemporaneous documents. Charles Halt’s famous memo to the Ministry of Defence, dated 13 January 1981, dated the sightings as 27 December and 29 December 1980. But contemporaneous documents show beyond any doubt that the first “sighting” of lights falling into the forest occurred shortly before 3 A.M. on Friday, 26 December. Halt’s expedition into the forest began late on the night of Saturday 27 December and ended in the early hours of Sunday, 28 December 1980.
The precise chronology of the events, agreed with Col Conrad in September 2010, is:
Date Time (approx) Events
Thursday 25/12/80 Christmas Day
Friday 26/12/80
0300 GMT Lights seen in Rendlesham forest
0310 Penniston, Burroughs, Cabansag sent to investigate
0411 Amn Armold, CSA calls Suffolk police
0430 Approx termination of forest sojourn
0700 SP shift ended
1900 Suffolk police revisit ‘landing site’ (unimpressed)
2130 SPs arrive at party, ‘they’re back’; Lt Col Halt commences ride along with shift leader
Saturday, 27/12/80
0230 Halt returns home after seeing nothing unusual
0730 Col Conrad and Major Zickler talk about previous day’s events, blotter entries etc
0930 Sgt Penniston gives narrative of events on 26 December, interviewed by Col Conrad
1100 Team identified, briefed on investigative efforts, including Lt Col Halt, SP investigators, SSgt Nevels as Geiger counter and Starlight scope operators and photographer
1330 Col Conrad visits ‘landing site’
2200 Personnel still in place, including Lt Col Halt
Sunday, 28/12/80
0200 Halt begins reporting by radio 2nd set of sightings. No lights or objects seen by Woodbridge residents who were outside looking. Alerted SP’s at Bentwaters, but they saw nothing unusual.
 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/20...sh-ufo-mystery-prank-played-us-air-force-sas/

I've looked through the thread, have not seen anyone bring up this explanation.
There's a lack of sources. From the Telegraph:
External Quote:
Historic British UFO mystery was 'prank played on US air force by SAS'
Telegraph Reporters, 30 December 2018 • 8:14pm

British X-Files expert Dr David Clarke, who has been researching the story for three years, revealed: “After their release, the troopers made no complaint at their rough treatment but were determined to get their own back on the USAF for the beating that they had received.
I've mentioned https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/rendlesham-forest-ufos/ in my previous post, it says at the bottom:
External Quote:
The contents of this paper are Copyright David Clarke 2011 (revised version 2020). Permission to use extracts is granted provided the source of the material is clearly acknowledged.
This 2020 content makes no mention of the 2018 SAS narrative. It rather sounds like a warmed-over April Fool's joke, and would be at odds with existing interviews and MoD documents.
 
remote-controlled kites to carry suspended materials into the sky, activated by radio-controls.
Assuming for a moment there is some truth in that, just dfor sake of discussion...

Never heard of such a thing, but it would be possible, I guess. Steerable, controllable kites on multiple strings date back at least to the second world war, with steerable "Garber Target Kites" used to train AA-gunners.

garber target kite.jpg


I cannot find any reference to Garber kites being used by the British on their side of the pond, but it would not surprise me, other war-adapted kites did make it into use on both sides. However, these were heavy kites ill-suited for night flying normally...

By 1980 steerable sport kites were moderately popular (very popular within the population of kite hobbyists) and were beginning to be more lightweight and able to better handle lighter winds, such as are expected most nights.

So it is POSSIBLE that controllable kites would have been involved in such a prank.

The idea that you'd affix black helium balloons to kites is just odd, though. To lift stuff, you'd be better off leaving the kites at home and using the balloons, or leaving the balloons at home and going with the kites, as the balloons would create all sorts of aerodynamic issues attached to a steerable kite. Perhaps, if the story is true at all, it is a conflation of using balloons AND ALSO using kites, or having both ready to use depending on wind conditions on Prank Night.

Non-steerable kites might be more likely, especially if mixing with balloons, in which case the "remote controlled" "radio controls" stuff might just be an embellishment

The idea of radio-controlling the kites seems very odd anyway, not sure what that would gain you -- it would be simpler just to fly the kites by hand then run off giggling when the Yanks started to get too close. You'd have to be right there anyway to tote off the radio controlled flying rig, since those were not reported to have been found, so simplest procedure would be to fly them by hand directly.

As I prepare hit "post," it occurs to me that "kite" was also a slang term for "aeroplane," perhaps this was just a reference to early drone/RC plane type things?
 
Britain's most famous UFO mystery was a prank played on the Americans by the SAS, according to insiders.
Found the "source".
Some time ago a person who claims to be a SAS insider wrote to me after he saw me talking about Rendlesham on a TV documentary. I will call him Frank. His motive? It was ‘about time that the truth is revealed’ about the incident.

I investigated his incredible story by talking to trusted (and open) sources in the British military, including some high profile former SAS troopers. I reached my own conclusions. Then I sat on the story for three years, waiting to see if Frank would cast his fishing rod elsewhere. Now I call his bluff.

[...]

One man who should know the truth is Robin Horsfall, a former SAS sniper. Robin took part in the famous Special Forces operation that stormed the Iranian Embassy to free hostages – just six months before the alleged ‘prank’ in Rendlesham forest.
Horsfall tells me the letter-writer is someone dangling a fishing rod. The language Frank uses provides ‘no evidence of a military background’.
The letter, he says, ‘is written by a person with a solid grounding in grammar which in my opinion excludes most SAS operatives during this period including the commissioned officers’.
More conclusively, as the alleged events happened during his time based in Hereford with 22 SAS he felt sure he would have heard about it via the grapevine.

Statement by Col. Conrad, US Base Commander at the time of the incidents, follows. Conclusion: just a tall tale.
 
I'd dismiss that [Telegraph] story out of hand.
As far as I know the British forces don't do unannounced security evaluations on their own establishments with "opposition forces" due to the very real chance of someone getting killed. Can't see them doing it to USAF bases for the same reason.
Some ---- in the dark starts blatting away with what you don't know are blanks, you'd return fire.

Can't see British troops based on the other side of England leaving the wife and kids/ girlfriend/ dog on Christmas evening and travelling for hours to set up some lightshow for a handful of USAF personnel.
It just seems nerdy. And a bit sad. Not their style.
 
Not only the lighthouse lights but also Jupiter and Saturn very close together, rising up above the lighthouse at around 00.30 hours. We know the Halt tape actually covers several hours....though I have not anywhere seen an exact time it starts ( maybe someone has that info ) he'd been called from a dinner so it can't have been middle of night when it all started, and probably was around 00.30 or so....
first time mentioned on the tape is "ENGLUND: At approximately 01.25 hours...", and they hadn't seen any lights yet. Col. Conrad put the start of the tape at 0200 (see above), which may be approximate. Either way, not 0:30 by a long stretch.

I also note you skillfully cropped out the moon.
 
At the very least we're being asked to believe that our nuclear security against the Soviet Union was in the hands of men ( in Halt's case a former flight engineer ) who could not recognise lighthouses or stars. I find that more concerning than any alien invasion.
Nope, that's the fallacy combination of a straw man containing a hasty generalisation. Accepting that they may make a mistake once, a reasonable stance to many of us, doesn't imply that they would always make that mistake because they are incapable of getting it right, what you appear to be accusing us of believing.
 
But contemporaneous documents show beyond any doubt that the first “sighting” of lights falling into the forest occurred shortly before 3 A.M. on Friday, 26 December
The timing, just a few hours after the celebrations of Christmas Day, would perhaps make the possibility of inebriation of the witnesses somewhat greater at that time than it would be if it were a day later.
 
that's the fallacy combination of a straw man containing a hasty generalisation

No. If I state that tomatoes taste horrible that is not a logical fallacy, it is a personal opinion. If you reply with what is effectively your own personal opinion, you are not negating a fallacy but rather cleverly swapping one :)
 
first time mentioned on the tape is "ENGLUND: At approximately 01.25 hours...", and they hadn't seen any lights yet. Col. Conrad put the start of the tape at 0200 (see above), which may be approximate. Either way, not 0:30 by a long stretch.

I also note you skillfully cropped out the moon.

But.....the guy who reported 'they're back' had to get to the party Halt was at. Halt then had to find a private room in which to discuss the matter with the guy. Halt then went home, got himself kitted out, found the geiger counters, etc, and also arranged to meet with others at the gate, and then they had to drive into the forest, tell the guys there to switch off the floodlights, etc, etc.

You don't suppose all of that might have taken an hour or so ? In which case the origin of the 'they're back' claim would have been an event/observation at 00.30

Oh, and I didn't crop out the Moon. At the zoom in required to show how close the rising of Jupiter/Saturn was to 94 degrees the Moon is simply out of the field of view. The emphasis was on Jupiter/Saturn, not the Moon.
 
No. If I state that tomatoes taste horrible that is not a logical fallacy, it is a personal opinion. If you reply with what is effectively your own personal opinion, you are not negating a fallacy but rather cleverly swapping one :)
and here I was, thinking you intended to present a logical argument

if your stance is, "don't argue with me, I'm beyond logic", there's really nothing in the way of dismissing your hypothesis directly
 
But.....the guy who reported 'they're back' had to get to the party Halt was at. Halt then had to find a private room in which to discuss the matter with the guy. Halt then went home, got himself kitted out, found the geiger counters, etc, and also arranged to meet with others at the gate, and then they had to drive into the forest, tell the guys there to switch off the floodlights, etc, etc.

You don't suppose all of that might have taken an hour or so ? In which case the origin of the 'they're back' claim would have been an event/observation at 00.30
According to Col. Conrad's recollection cited above (he was the base commander at the time), the party was interrupted at 21:30 on the night before Halt undertook his expedition; he had a whole day to get his team and equipment together.

I expect that if the horizon was at the bottom of your frame, the moon would be in shot.
And I know you do this to emphasize your idea, but my point is that planets near the moon are a) easily identified as celestial objects, and b) not so easily taken as moving erratically, since the moon anchors them.
 
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The timing, just a few hours after the celebrations of Christmas Day, would perhaps make the possibility of inebriation of the witnesses somewhat greater at that time than it would be if it were a day later.

A reply sent by Suffolk police to an unidentified person asking questions about the incident implies they might have suspected that, but it was sent in 1999 (19 years later), I don't think we've got evidence of contemporary suspicions.


Capture.JPG


Last line,
External Quote:
This contrasts sharply with the views of the local police who attended at the time and did not perceive this occurrence as being anything unusual considering the festive significance of the date and expected high spirits.
(Full letter in this post).

The Inspector writing this reply says he's a friend of one of the officers (name redacted) who attended in 1980 and discussed the matter with him (I think we can take that to mean in connection with this 1999 letter, although that's not explicitly stated).
He also says

External Quote:
PC Brian Cresswell's... ...visit to the alleged landing site would not have generated more than a standard incident log unless he was convinced that something worth reporting had occurred.
The incident logs seem to be the brief findings/ impressions given under "Result" on the Suffolk Constabulary Station Record Forms in post #66. These don't make any mention of suspicions of drinking/ high jinks, so the Inspector's reference to "...expected high spirits" is either supposition or based on his talking with one of the attending PCs c. 19 years later.

Personally, I don't think alcohol (or drugs) played any significant role in the Security Police reports, but that's just my hunch.
They were young-ish men, but young men can be diligent and responsible. The armourer (or whoever) who clerked out their weapons at the start of the shift might have advised any bleary-eyed serviceman to take a sick day (supposition by me though).
Some of Col. Halt's actions are arguably questionable; I can't remember if he was formally on duty at the time of his forest expedition.

Maybe the USAF hierarchy had concerns about sobriety/ morale etc. re. the Rendlesham claims, and/ or were concerned about possible public image repercussions in the host country; if so this might have affected their handling of the claims.
 
But.....the guy who reported 'they're back' had to get to the party Halt was at. Halt then had to find a private room in which to discuss the matter with the guy. Halt then went home, got himself kitted out, found the geiger counters, etc, and also arranged to meet with others at the gate, and then they had to drive into the forest, tell the guys there to switch off the floodlights, etc, etc.

You don't suppose all of that might have taken an hour or so ? In which case the origin of the 'they're back' claim would have been an event/observation at 00.30

Oh, and I didn't crop out the Moon. At the zoom in required to show how close the rising of Jupiter/Saturn was to 94 degrees the Moon is simply out of the field of view. The emphasis was on Jupiter/Saturn, not the Moon.
Quite plausible.

However I note that (in Dr Clarke's timeline) the guy who reported 'they're back' actually stated this on Friday night;


site’ (unimpressed)
2130 SPs arrive at party, ‘they’re back’; Lt Col Halt commences ride along with shift leader
Saturday, 27/12/80
0230 Halt returns home after seeing nothing unusual
0730 Col Conrad and Major Zickler talk about previous day’s events, blotter entries etc
0930 Sgt Penniston gives narrative of events on 26 December, interviewed by Col Conrad
1100 Team identified, briefed on investigative efforts, including Lt Col Halt, SP investigators, SSgt Nevels as Geiger counter and Starlight scope operators and photographer
1330 Col Conrad visits ‘landing site’
2200 Personnel still in place, including Lt Col Halt
Sunday, 28/12/80
0200 Halt begins reporting by radio 2nd set of sightings. No lights or objects seen by Woodbridge residents who were outside looking. Alerted SP’s at Bentwaters, but they saw nothing unusual.

A bit too early for Jupiter and Saturn, but maybe Dr Clarke is wrong.
 
However I note that (in Dr Clarke's timeline) t
Col. Conrad's timeline. Clarke says he saw supporting documents, and I doubt Conrad misremembers when their Boxing Day party was.

https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/rendlesham-forest-ufos/
External Quote:
It is apparent that Col Conrad’s recall of the precise chronology is slightly different from what has been established from the contemporaneous documents. Charles Halt’s famous memo to the Ministry of Defence, dated 13 January 1981, dated the sightings as 27 December and 29 December 1980. But contemporaneous documents show beyond any doubt that the first “sighting” of lights falling into the forest occurred shortly before 3 A.M. on Friday, 26 December. Halt’s expedition into the forest began late on the night of Saturday 27 December and ended in the early hours of Sunday, 28 December 1980.
External Quote:
“Sometime between 2100 and 2200 on [26 December?] members of the Woodbridge SP shift appeared at a Christmas party at the O’Club where Lt Col Halt and myself were in attendance. They reported the events of the previous night and thinking there might be a recurrence, Halt decided to ride along with the shift leader, which he did. Aside from that, nothing unusual happened.
External Quote:
“The rest of [27 December 1980] saw Lt Col Halt assemble our meagre assets. These were a Geiger counter, starlight scope (night vision device) and trained SP investigators out at the site in Rendlesham Forest. The investigation lasted until late evening where the site was starlight scoped, after which all went home except Lt Col Halt and some unknown SP’s. This was the night of Halt’s famous audiotape. He also had a two-way communication radio, which allowed me, and the SP’s to monitor his reports.”
 
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“The rest of [27 December 1980] saw Lt Col Halt assemble our meagre assets. These were a Geiger counter, starlight scope (night vision device) and trained SP investigators out at the site in Rendlesham Forest.
But no compass. (edit, it does appear they took one, but may not have used it much in the dark).

What is a 'trained SP investigator', and what would they be trained in? Security policemen?
 
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No....not if you actually look at Stellarium. Sirius was not 'directly south' at the 3.15 time Halt says an object was there to the south.

Here is the actual night sky on that night and time...

View attachment 68574

If the argument is that what Halt saw was "directly South" and this is the sky at the time and place, then NO celestial object could account for what he saw. In the UFOlogical world that means aliens. Either he saw something that was not a celestial body, like an aircraft, or he was not looking "directly South". His descriptions don't really match an aircraft, so one can then pick a celestial body to the right or left of where he was looking and make their argument for their candidate.

Honestly, by this point on the tape, I don't think they're exactly sure where they are looking. They look at the light house and take a compass reading of 110* while in the farmers field 150-200 yards from the "crash site". After proceeding to the next field, they look north and then look south and north again:

1715805250440.png


Here's the relevant parts from the transcript. I've edited out talk about the Gieger counter and other stuff


External Quote:
ENGLUND: Now it’s stopped... Now it’s coming up... Hold on. There we go... about approximately four foot off the ground, at a compass heading of 110 degrees.



HALT: We’ve just bumped into the first night bird we’ve seen. We’re about 150 or 200 yards from the site.



HALT: There is no doubt about it – there’s some type of strange flashing red light ahead.



VOICE (NEVELS?): Two lights – one light just behind [?] and one light to the left.


HALT: Strange! One again left[?] Let’s approach to the edge of the woods up there. Do you wanna do it without lights? Let’s do it carefully. Come on.



HALT: We’ve passed the farmer’s house and are crossing the next field and now we have multiple sightings of up to five lights with a similar shape and all but they seem to be steady now rather than a pulsating or glow with a red flash.



HALT: 2:44. We’re at the far side of the farmer’s...the second farmer’s field and made sighting again about 110 degrees. This looks like it’s clear off to the coast. It’s right on the horizon. Moves about a bit and flashes from time to time. Still steady or red in colour. Also after negative readings in the centre of the field we’re picking up slight readings, four or five clicks now, on the meter.

[Ian’s note: These readings are the same as they reported at the supposed landing site – i.e. normal background.]

HALT: 3:05. We see strange strobe-like flashes to the... rather sporadic, but there’s definitely something there. Some kind of phenomenon.

HALT: 3:05. At about ten degrees, horizon, directly north, we’ve got two strange objects, er, half moon shape, dancing about, with coloured lights on ‘em. At, er, guess to be about five to ten miles out, maybe less. The half moons have now turned into full circles as though there was an eclipse or something there for a minute or two.

HALT: 03:15. Now we’ve got an object about 10 degrees directly south, 10 degrees off the horizon.

NEVELS: ... to the left...

HALT: And the ones to the north are moving. One’s moving away from us.

BACKGROUND VOICE: (indistinct, but includes ‘moving’)

NEVELS: Moving out fast.

BALL(?): This one on the right’s heading away, too.

HALT: They’re both heading north. Hey, here he comes from the south, he’s coming toward us
But no compass.

See transcript above. It does sound like they had one and took at least on heading towards the light house form the farmer's field, but it's unclear if they took any more, or just estimated after that. IF they found the lighthouse at 10* south of due east, then when they looked or turned to their right, they would think they are looking south, but maybe not "directly south".

From the Dr. Clark timeline @Mendel posted above, I'm confused. Penniston and the others head out and have their encounter in the early hours of Friday December 26:

External Quote:
But contemporaneous documents show beyond any doubt that the first “sighting” of lights falling into the forest occurred shortly before 3 A.M. on Friday, 26 December.
Then the Christmas party is interrupted later on Friday evening?

External Quote:
Thursday 25/12/80
External Quote:
Christmas Day
Friday 26/12/80
0300 GMT Lights seen in Rendlesham forest
0310 Penniston, Burroughs, Cabansag sent to investigate
0411 Amn Armold, CSA calls Suffolk police
0430 Approx termination of forest sojourn
0700 SP shift ended
1900 Suffolk police revisit ‘landing site’ (unimpressed)
2130 SPs arrive at party, ‘they’re back’; Lt Col Halt commences ride along with shift leader

External Quote:
“Sometime between 2100 and 2200 on [26 December?] members of the Woodbridge SP shift appeared at a Christmas party at the O’Club where Lt Col Halt and myself were in attendance. They reported the events of the previous night and thinking there might be a recurrence, Halt decided to ride along with the shift leader, which he did. Aside from that, nothing unusual happened.

So, the events of the "previous night" referred to very early the same day? And Halt goes with the men on a ride along on Friday evening and nothing happened.

Then Halt takes part of Saturday December 27 to get some stuff together to back out again and look at the landing site?

“The rest of [27 December 1980] saw Lt Col Halt assemble our meagre assets. These were a Geiger counter, starlight scope (night vision device) and trained SP investigators out at the site in Rendlesham Forest.

External Quote:
Saturday, 27/12/80
External Quote:

0230 Halt returns home after seeing nothing unusual
0730 Col Conrad and Major Zickler talk about previous day’s events, blotter entries etc
0930 Sgt Penniston gives narrative of events on 26 December, interviewed by Col Conrad
1100 Team identified, briefed on investigative efforts, including Lt Col Halt, SP investigators, SSgt Nevels as Geiger counter and Starlight scope operators and photographer
1330 Col Conrad visits ‘landing site’
2200 Personnel still in place, including Lt Col Halt
It's later on Saturday night into Sunday morning that the tape is made:

External Quote:
The investigation lasted until late evening where the site was starlight scoped, after which all went home except Lt Col Halt and some unknown SP’s. This was the night of Halt’s famous audiotape. He also had a two-way communication radio, which allowed me, and the SP’s to monitor his reports.”
External Quote:
Sunday, 28/12/80
External Quote:

0200 Halt begins reporting by radio 2nd set of sightings. No lights or objects seen by Woodbridge residents who were outside looking. Alerted SP’s at Bentwaters, but they saw nothing unusual.
https://drdavidclarke.co.uk/rendlesham-forest-ufos/

In this version, the party was on Friday night, Halt went on a ride along on Friday night then went home. He prepped a team on the following Saturday and started investigating, with base commander Conrad himself going to the landing site. Then after some of the men, and presumably Conrad leave, Halt and few others hang around into the night and the morning of Sunday the 28th making the audio recording.

The usual version as I understand it and the way Ripath tells it, the party is on Saturday night and the events with Halt all happen on the same night. He leaves the party, goes out with a team and makes the recordings:

External Quote:
On the night of Saturday 1980 December 27 Lt Col Halt was at an officers’ dinner at RAF Woodbridge when Lt Bruce Englund came in and said: ‘The UFO is back’. A group of men had reportedly seen unexplained lights in the forest, although we have no first-hand accounts from these witnesses, unlike with the witnesses on the first night. Halt returned to his quarters at RAF Bentwaters to change and joined the group out in the forest some time after midnight on December 28. The investigation initially focused on the supposed landing marks that had been found on the morning of December 26.
http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/halttape.html

There is no Halt going out on a ride along, then returning after nothing happened, then heading back out the NEXT evening on a separate investigation. Hmmmm.....
 
But no compass. (edit, it does appear they took one, but may not have used it much in the dark).

What is a 'trained SP investigator', and what would they be trained in? Security policemen?
Yes, Security Police. The USAF has two different police organizations, Security Police (SP) and Law Enforcement (LE). The SP are responsible for facility security and protection. The LE guys are basically small town cops, enforcing traffic regulations and dealing with petty crime.

I don’t know enough about the SP tech school curriculum to comment on how they are trained. Not sure what they'd "investigate," other than security breeches or suspicious activity by some perceived threat.
 
Then the Christmas party is interrupted later on Friday evening?
So, the events of the "previous night" referred to very early the same day? And Halt goes with the men on a ride along on Friday evening and nothing happened.

I think there's a discrepancy between David Clarke's timeline, which he pieced together in 2010 with Colonel Conrad,
and Ian Ridpath's account. I think Ridpath's makes more sense

Clarke: (With some editing, not of dates/ times)

External Quote:

Friday 26/12/80

0300 GMT Lights seen in Rendlesham forest
0310 Penniston, Burroughs, Cabansag sent to investigate
0411 A1C Arnold at the CSD calls Suffolk police
0430 Approx. termination of forest sojourn
0700 SP shift ended
1900 Suffolk police revisit ‘landing site’ (unimpressed)

2130 SPs arrive at party, ‘they’re back’; Lt Col Halt commences ride along with shift leader

Saturday, 27/12/80

0230 Halt returns home after seeing nothing unusual

1330 Col Conrad visits ‘landing site’
2200 Personnel still in place, including Lt Col Halt

Sunday, 28/12/80
0200 Halt begins reporting by radio 2nd set of sightings.
According to Clarke, on the night of the 26th-27th Halt is at a party. Security Policemen arrive and say "they're back".
Halt decides to ride with the shift leader for approx. 5 hours.

External Quote:
“Sometime between 2100 and 2200 on [26 December?] members of the Woodbridge SP shift appeared at a Christmas party at the O’Club where Lt Col Halt and myself were in attendance.
Apologies to @NorCal Dave, when I read this in his post #155 I thought the parentheses were his, but they're David Clarke's:
Clarke appears unsure about the date of the Officer's do.

(Incidentally, why are the SPs interrupting an officers' party? There must have been a chain of command in place which didn't include partygoers at that time. And a 'phone in the Officer's Club. Seems very odd).

We don't have any descriptions of anything unusual seen on the night of the 26th-27th.
Unlike the airmen who made the claimed sightings in the early hours of the 26th, those who contacted the "they're back" SPs don't seem to have been asked for statements, even though their supposed reports led to the deputy base commander, a Lt. Col., leaving his party and riding around in a police car for 5 hours on a December night.
Nor do they feature in the list of names known to those interested in the RF incident, and unlike Halt, Penniston, and to a lesser extent Burroughs none have come forward since.

Clarke doesn't give a reason for Halt venturing into the forest late on the evening of the 27th/ a.m. of the 28th.
Ian Ridpath puts the "...they're back" (well, "The UFO is back") claim on the evening of the 27th. Unlike Clarke, there is no implied doubt.

External Quote:
On the night of Saturday 1980 December 27 Lt Col Halt was at an officers’ dinner at RAF Woodbridge when Lt Bruce Englund came in and said: ‘The UFO is back’. A group of men had reportedly seen unexplained lights in the forest, although we have no first-hand accounts from these witnesses, unlike with the witnesses on the first night. Halt returned to his quarters at RAF Bentwaters to change and joined the group out in the forest some time after midnight on December 28. The investigation initially focused on the supposed landing marks that had been found on the morning of December 26. Not until two-thirds of the way through the tape is an unidentified flashing light sighted
http://www.ianridpath.com/ufo/halttape.html

This does adequately explain why Halt went out when he did on the night of the 27th-28th.

If Halt really was at Officer's club events two nights running (I guess possible given the season) and on both occasions was disturbed by SPs claiming that the lights were back, I might suspect that someone was having a laugh at his expense- probably several people.
Considering the trouble that Halt took to investigate in person (according to Clarke- leave the Officer's "do" on the 26th, sit in a police car for up to 5 hours, then lead his expedition into the forest the following evening and into the small hours of the 28th) it's very strange that he didn't insist on statements from the claimed witnesses.
And somewhat strange that a more junior officer wasn't tasked.

Another possibility might be that Clarke's timeline is flawed. Maybe Col. Conrad, speaking with Clarke nearly 30 years after the event, conflated another occasion when Halt went out in an SP car with the events of 26-28 December.

Other accounts seem to state that sightings were made on the 26th and 28th, with no mention of the 27th (e.g. Wikipedia,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendlesham_Forest_incident), but there's the old problem of how many of these accounts rely on Ridpath or Clarke's work, or indeed on less reliable sources.
 
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Unlike Clarke, there is no implied doubt.
that's not really an indication of truth
the question is, what are the sources (log entries etc.) that back either version up?

I have no problem believing that Halt was out all night finding nothing in the dark, and then resolved to get equipment and a team and investigate properly the next night. Remember, they hadn't seen any lights at first on the night of Halt's tape, either. It took being on the ground in the forest and fields, and possibly being tired from investigating two nights in a row, for the spookiness to emerge.

And to hark back to what @Scaramanga wrote, it's well researched in aviation that fatigue causes pilots to make mistakes and judgment errors they wouldn't have made if rested. People who are experts when rested can still mess up when fatigued.
 
Another possibility might be that Clarke's timeline is flawed. Maybe Col. Conrad, speaking with Clarke nearly 30 years after the event, conflated another occasion when Halt went out in an SP car with the events of 26-28 December.
It seems that Col Conrad is not particularly certain of his dates, but he repeats the general sequence of events as being accurate.

[DC]: What is the source of the dating/chronology of the events set out in your letter?

[Ted Conrad]: I believe the chronology…is the correct one. It is based on Halt’s letter and my own rather tenuous recollections of those days. If the known time line is respected, a shift of a day one way or the other shouldn’t matter much. Just to reiterate, if Penniston’s encounter on day 1 was at approximately 0300 hrs. the notification at the party was 18 hours later at approx. 9:00 PM, also on day 1. Penniston’s interview occurred the morning of day 2, and shortly there after we decided to investigate. Halt spent most of that day with the investigators, the starlight scope and Geiger counter. After sundown he went back to the forest with his tape recorder, and reported seeing lights that night. This was actually early morning of day 3 and approximately 48 hours after Penniston’s encounter. Take your pick for day 1,either 0300 26 Dec. or 27 Dec.


Assuming that is correct, I find it bizarre that Halt doesn't mention the first night at all on the tape, at least to say that they had not seen the lights the previous night. Assuming it's right, perhaps another explanation is that Halt just rode around the edge of the forest in a jeep for a short time the first night and it wasn't worth mentioning.

I don't think it ultimately matters whether one night/two nights is right though. Both lead to interesting lines of speculation, like if he only went one night was alcohol involved at the party? Or if he went twice was there excitement/anticipation building up through the day after Penniston's interview? Or was fatigue involved that second night? But those are ultimately just speculations either way.
 
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