Message from AC to Martin Shough, spring 1987
. . . I told [RW], the MOD-accredited
photographer, that you were doing some private research into
radar effects and that you had spent a lot of time looking into a
very remarkable case of possible AP etc at Lakenheath years ago.
He immediately said "the UFOs, of course," and off we
1) He spoke to a [DJ], a serving officer in the USAF, about the case at Mildenhall in 1960 ([RW] is now mid/late '40s). He ([RW]) volunteered the year and month to me, and offered to contact [DJ]. [DJ] claimed to have observed some or all of the LH events on the ground. [DJ] was a U-2, F4 and subsequently SR-71 pilot. [RW] believes he may now be a General - has not spoken to him for some years, but met him many times after 1960.
[RW] knew a bit about the LH events (believed they took place over a period of 6½ hours, but unclear at what time of day), but seemed to know little about any other UFO sightings. (I mention this because I suspected initially that he may have been a secret ufologist with an ego problem, but I now think not.)
[RW] was surprised and impressed by my mention of Venoms/Neatishead/Wimble. He knew no details of this at all, but had previously stated, casually, that USAFE had launched F100C aircraft from RAF Wethersfield (just north of Stansted - loosely a 'London' airfield?), these aircraft being on detachment from Cambrai in France. Did not remember any further details.*
2) He offered to speak to Sqdn Ldr Joe LeStrange, about whom he is currently writing a three-part article for an av. mag. LeStrange commanded a Venom night-fighter squadron in the mid 1950's. [RW] expressed the view that, even if LeStrange knew nothing personally, he would have numerous contacts who may. [RW] also reckons 'Eric Watts' and Tony Rawlins of AIR BRITAIN could know something.
3) [RW] and [JF] (aviation photographer from Swindon, quite well known), spoke a couple of years ago to a SR-71 crew at Mildenhall who claimed to have photographed a UFO that flew alongside them.
4) He did hear about Lightnings at Brize, and has photo's of them, but didn't want to talk on the 'phone. Claims Lightning has almost identical radar signature to MiG 23, assumed that I knew that, but didn't want to discuss over the 'phone. Much more said about this (perhaps some useful), but more later.
* Except that "Heads had rolled" in USAFE over handling of event.
Note: Although this is merely hearsay information, I consider the immediate source to be completely reliable. Names have been initialised to protect confidentiality.
Dave Clarke has suggested that this story relates not to the Lakenheath incident but to another 1956 incident which is known to have involved radar at RAF Wethersfield. This case is mentioned in a May 1957 DDI(Tech) ministerial briefing minute alongside the Lakenheath case, where both are listed as 'unexplained'. This is very possible. However the Wethersfield case appears to be the subject of an Air Intelligence Information Report dated October 7 [FOIA request pending] which would not suggest a date of occurrence in August, whereas my informant's informant did volunteer the month of August 1956. Also, the duration of '6½ hours' mentioned happens to be exactly the time elapsed from the first Bentwaters radar sighting (re-timed here on the basis of internal and new external evidence to 2100Z) and the 0330Z time of the last radar sightings at Lakenheath given in BOI-485. So there is some evidence to connect the incident to Lakenheath, but this is far from conclusive.
The reference to Lightnings at RAF Brize Norton concerns another hearsay story told to me, again in confidence, by an electrical engineer working for what was then the General Post Office. During a visit to London Air Traffic Control Centre in the late 1970s as part of a GPO training course the engineer had been told by a controller that a squadron of English Electric Lightnings, otherwise retired from visible RAF service, was maintained at Brize for the specific role of intercepting suspected UFO targets. Any plausibility of this tale rested entirely on the fact that the impressive initial rate of climb of a Lightning might well have suited it for such a fast-reaction role, especially if stripped for non-combat intelligence-led operations. However the use of Lightnings in 'dissimilar air combat training' would also sufficiently explain their presence at Brize, and the UFO story was never more than another rumour.