PUBLIC RECORD OFFICE, AIR 20/12056
Letter to L.W. Ackhurst, S4 (Air) Ministry of Defence, London, from P.R. Smith, Vincent House, Pembridge Square, London W2 dated 25 March 1969:
"Dear Mr Ackhurst...
Thank you very much for your letter of 28th February concerning our sighting of a UFO near Lewes at 12.15 hrs on 30th January 1969.
I have no doubt at all that you are absolutely correct in that that we saw an 'aircraft' in unfamiliar circumstances. The question that is still unfortunately left completely unanswered is this - why didn't an aircraft of this size show as something unusual and worthy of note on your radar network? I am not trying to be in the least bit cynical over this matter, however the question of me misinterpreting this 'machine' as a conventional aircraft is absolutely out of the question.
I should be delighted to undergo any questioning on this subject as I am most interested to find out what we really saw in the sky.
I enclose a report from the Daily Telegraph, which you have no doubt seen, but if this is not a true report please deny it to me, as I am at the moment certain that what we saw was a similar object to that reported by the RAF pilot in question in the article.
I also assure you that the fact that I work for the BBC does not in any way oblige me to report any answer you may give me to it, nor will I do so. I give you my word on this.
Yours Sincerely, P.R. Smith.
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (London), 2 February 1969
CHASED BY FLYING SAUCER
By Our Staff Correspondent in Washington
The RAF is the only air force in the world to get a radar "gunlock" on an Unidentified Flying Object - flying saucer to the layman - according to a report published here.
It describes how two RAF Venom jet fighters attempted an interception after radar and visual sighting of a strange object travelling at about 4,000 mph over Lakenheath and Sculthorpe in East Anglia in the summer of 1956.
The incident is described by the former officer in charge of an American radar station in the voluminous "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects." It was carried out by the University of Colorado under contract to the United States Air Force.
The pilot of one Venom was guided by a radar station towards the UFO. When he was about half a mile away he reported, "Roger, I've got my guns locked on him." After a pause the pilot said: "Where did he go. Do you still have him?"
In a movement so swift that it was hard to observe on the radar scopes, the UFO made a circling movement and was sitting on the fighter's tail. The pilot said he would try to shake it off.
"He tried everything. He climbed, dived and circled. But the UFO acted like it was glued right behind him. Always the same same distance, very close."
For 10 minutes the pilot tried to shake off the object. Those on the ground could "tell from his tonal quality that he was getting worried, excited and also pretty scared."
Soon after he turned back to base as fuel was getting low.
The report concludes: "Although conventional or natural explanation certainly cannot be ruled out, the probability of such seems low in this case and the probability that at least one genuine UFO was involved appears to be fairly high."
Letter from L.W. Ackhurst, S4 Air, Ministry of Defence, to P.R. Smith, dated 31 March 1969
Dear Mr Smith,
Thank you for your further letter of 25th March about the object you saw in the sky near Lewes.
The Ministry of Defence investigates reports of UFOs because of their possible air defence implications. However, we do not undertake to pursue our enquiries until we have established in every case an absolute correlation with a known occurrence. Your report and our subsequent check of aerial activity did not provide sufficient information to enable us to tell you what you saw. But we are satisfied that there was no aerial activity in the area which had air defence implications.
I am afraid I am unable to comment on the press cutting covering a UFO report made in 1956 since details of reports prior to 1962 are no longer available. All Ministry of Defence papers are retained for periods relating to the importance of the papers and in the case of unidentified flying objects they may be disposed of after five years. Should it ever appear that a report was of special significance, then the papers would, of course, be retained for a longer period. This has not yet been found necessary.