Letter from F.H.C.Wimbledon
to Stanton Friedman
16 August 1978
Dear Mr. Friedman,
Thankyou very much for the comprehensive literature you sent me. I was puzzled to know how you got my address until your letter arrived with dollar for which many thanks. I apologise for not having typwed but I no longer can call on a typist and I cannot do the job myself. I hope you can read my writing! Incidentally, Philip Klass wrote to me on June 12 enclosing his "explanation" of, as he describes it, the "alleged happening" but I have not bothered to reply to him. Ian Ridpath has been on the phone to me several times but I have not yet arranged the meeting he so earnestly wants.
Now, unfortunately in this country, the Official Secrets Act is much stricter than in yours and as a retired Royal Air Force Squadron Leader (Major in your ranks) I am still bound by it, hence my anonymity in my letter to FSR. Charles Bowen rather let the cat out of the bag in his editorial so I am hoping Air Ministry don't put two and two together! Although at the time I remember the senior Officer sent down from A.M. to interview us was distinctly interested, Charles Bowen says that when he tried to get more information he was told AM "knew nothing about the incident".
I will try to answer some of your queries now:-
1. I have inserted an advert in Air Mail, which is a journal run by the R.A.F. Association (which exists to help the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund) and is run mainly by ex-Service personnel. I have appealed for anyone who was on duty with me at R.A.F. Neatishead on the night in question to get in touch with me. Unfortunately, the last issue ran into printing trouble as that section was omitted and the next issue doesn't come out until around November.
2. There is no chance whatsoever of seeing any Air Ministry files and they never release any information on the subject.
3. Although some of us knew of the existence of the U-2, this again was Top Secret and only those in the "need to know" category would be aware of it at that time. Obviously one did not discuss it.
4. The Venom night fighter was scrambled from R.A.F. Waterbeach, near Cambridge.
5. Speed would have been around 300 knots, I would guess.
6. Radar contact would first have been made about 1 1/2 to 2
miles closing to 1 mile or less. The word "Contact"
would in this case imply radar contact by the Radar Operator/Navigator.
Incidentally, I have flown the Vampire T11, the cockpit of which
is very similar to the Venom Night Fighter, and I can assure you
accommodation is very cramped and under no circumstances could
the pilot fly the plane and work the A.I. set.
Philip Klass still insists the pilot was alone, which is nonsense.
7. No difficulty would be experienced by any Fighter controller or Radar Operator in distinguishing between the tracks of the UFO and the Venom. We were all highly trained personnel.
8. If I remember rightly, sweep speed was 6 rpm. The manoeuvre took place in one sweep. My own theory was a loop but no conventional aircraft at that time was capable of looping without a dive to build up speed and then position itself about 1/4 mile behind the Venom. Besides which a dive followed by a climb would be highly dangerous, bringing the following aircraft mighty close to a collision - eg:
9. No estimate of size of UFO as it appeared as a normal aircraft response.
A few personal details now. I learnt to fly privately before WW2 and joined the RAF in 1939. I was transferred on medical grounds to Air Traffic Control in 1943 and specialised in Fighter Control in 1951, so know a little about radar! In 1957 I became an Instructor at the School of Fighter Control and in 1960 became a member of an Examining Team set up to examine the operational efficiency of Fighter Control units in the RAF at home and overseas - Royal Australian Air Force, Malayan and Hong Kong units, and the German Air Force Control and Reporting units. In 1962 I was appointed a Liaison Officer with the Luftwaffe and finished my RAF service in 1965 at H.Q. Fighter Command. I am now completely retired.
California is a big place I know, but I have a friendship dating from WW2 with -------, San Rafael and he commutes daily to San Francisco. He and his wife came to stay with me in England 2 years ago on vacation, and he would no doubt vouch for my sanity!
Let me know if there is anything more you require, but please respect my position re the Official Secrets Act.
s/ Freddie H. C. Wimbledon