Rendlesham Forest UFO case —
the police evidence
This is the letter to Ian Ridpath from the Suffolk police which first demonstrated that Col Halt had reported the dates of the Rendlesham UFO event wrongly in his memo. The police who were called to the scene provided independent eyewitness evidence that the Orford Ness lighthouse was the culprit on the first night. The reference in the third paragraph to ‘aerial phenomena over southern England during that night’ almost certainly refers to the Cosmos 749 re-entry on the evening of December 25.
Ministry of Defence investigators never contacted the local police and so never knew the information contained in this letter.
A further remarkable fact is that subsequent statements by Col Halt reveal that he never knew the local police had attended the scene on the first night. Why did his men not tell him? Had Col Halt known that ‘the only lights visible to the officers visiting the incident were those from Orford light house’, as this letter says, would his reaction have been different on the second night?
The entire Suffolk Constabulary file on the case, including the Command and Control log entries on which the above letter is based, were released under the UK’s Freedom of Information Act in 2005 January and can be accessed on their website.
The final letter in the Suffolk Constabulary file, dated 28 July 1999, was written by Inspector Mike Topliss to Georgina Bruni, and is reproduced in Bruni’s book You Can’t Tell the People (pp. 135–136 of the hardback edition). In his point (2) Topliss reveals the little-known fact that two local police officers were in the Law Enforcement office at RAF Bentwaters on a subsequent night (no date given but evidently the night of Col Halt’s expedition) when lights were again seen in the forest. This time they did not attend as they received an emergency call to a break-in at a Post Office at Otley, a village some miles away to the northwest of Woodbridge which they considered as a higher priority than, as Inspector Topliss put it, ‘a recurrence of an earlier incident which was seen as somewhat frivolous’. Col Halt has spoken of police being called out on the night on which he was involved but not turning up due to an alternative call, and this confirms his story.
At the end of his letter to Bruni, Inspector Topliss comments: ‘The immediate area was swept by powerful light beams from a landing beacon at RAF Bentwaters and the Orfordness lighthouse. I know from personal experience that at night, in certain weather and cloud conditions, these beams were very pronounced and certainly caused strange visual effects.’ With this statement, Topliss leaves little doubt that he, too, thought the lighthouse was involved. (The landing beacon at Bentwaters was in the wrong direction and so not a factor; it might even have been switched off at the time as there was no flying over Christmas.)
Thanks to some remarkable detective work by Bruni, this photograph emerged in 2000 showing PC Brian Cresswell examining the site with USAF Captain Mike Verrano during daylight on the morning of December 26. Other photographs of the individual landing marks taken at the same time show them to be indistinguishable from rabbit diggings among the pine needles on the forest floor, as described by the police and forester Vince Thurkettle.
Content last revised: 2020 December
© Ian Ridpath. All rights reserved