Thursday, 17 December 2009


Back slightly sooner than expected! But with the New Year soon to arrive on our door step I thought it more appropriate to bring this particular blog forward and mark both the Anniversary of Leonard Stringfield's death (18th December 1994) and the standards that he adhered to throughout his research and investgative career in the field of Ufology.

Leonard maintained the highest historical and forensic standards in his research, and shared much of his most critical work with other researchers whom he deemed trustworthy and professional in their approach to the UFO subject.

In addition Leonard also emphasized certain ethical priorities that we should always strive to achieve and maintain:

1) Never violate the promise made to a witness to protect his/her identity from public disclosure.

2) Stand for the highest quality of work and research. Do not become complacent with the media, or with people who substitute their own belief systems for genuine research.

3) Maintain meticulous, organized research notes that can be passed along to the next generation of researchers.

Leonard placed considerable faith in his sources, whilst maintaining their anonymity - with this in mind the Penkridge Incident was clearly deemed worthy enough to have been included within the pages of his Status Report Series. Stringfield, a former US intelligence Officer himself had clearly believed there was an element of truth in this story and that the small town of Penkridge, South Staffordshire did indeed play host a extrordinary event wayback in 1964.


Extracts (Italics) taken from the thoughts of Forensic artist Bill McDonald who talked extensively with Leonard Stringfield in the last week of his life.



Sunday, 13 December 2009


The year's end is now fast approaching, with Christmas nearly upon us this Blog entry really is a case of just keeping the shop ticking over. This year as been one of great sadness for me personally. Although I started the year with great intentions, events have over taken me and subsequently its been a year of missed opportunities and while much of my research as been placed on the back burner I have to admit I've struggled at times to be motivated with my Blog. That said the year end will be one of contemplation.
Whilst I shall be kept busy over the Festive Season, hopefully the New Year will herald a return with a new and improved Blog with some long overdue investigative fieldwork following on from my research, with 2010 being a more productive year.

Best Wishes to all


Monday, 16 November 2009

The Riddle of Penkridge

This particular Blog's more of a timely reminder as to why if at all pursue or indeed continue research into what most people would undoubtedly call the Incident that never was, because in essence there is little or nothing to suggest that anything out of the ordinary ever happened along the New Penkridge Road back in 1964 save the testimony of one individual whose recollection of events only emerged following an article that was published in the Burntwood Post back in 1996. Its not the intention of this Blog to question the veracity of this eye witness account but merely to place it alongside the undeniable absence of further testimony, which is so badly needed to propel this story from its otherwise virtual obscurity.

While Harold South's testimony lends, albeit unverified credence to Leonard Stringfield's account there is however the recorded account of two other independant eyewitnesses to an event that whilst not providing a direct link to Penkridge itself. Nevertheless paints a more disturbing picture that sits rather neatly between South's time frame of events and Stringfield's Unidentified Object...

The following notations are derived from the chapter UFO Down (Cosmic Crashes - Nick Redfern) and originates from the Public Records Office.

19th March 1964
Captain E D Morrison pilot of a London bound Boeing Clipper Jet en route from New York and Captain R A Botthos, a DC-8 pilot independent of Capt Morrison, two hundred miles from Lands End, at an altitude of 29.000 feet. Both pilots witnessed something entering the Earths atmosphere. Captain Botthos reported the object as travelling on a north to south trajectory - explode in a large flash with trailing columns of smoke.

It woke up the sky in a great white flash, observation quote: it was not a natural phenomena.
Captain Morrison
AIR 2/17526 Public Record Office file.




Sunday, 15 November 2009

Space Phantoms?

This is a area I've explored before although it stems from an article which was first published in 1975. Following the link below you'll see it was updated a few years ago by James Oberg.

Although conjecture on my part Leonard Stringfield's source stated that his primary task was the translation of intercepted Soviet military transmissions, during which he recalled one particular instance when decoding a message received at the ships ‘crypto-machine room'.The intercepted transmission related to a Unidentified object over-flying Europe.
Initially I took this to mean that the Soviets were tracking a "Unidentified" Object over Europe, now "What If" the object was actually known to the Soviets but the objects true origin was lost in translation leaving the Spyship to classify the object as Unidentified?

Whilst today much of the former USSR's Space program is now in the public domain we can see from the article that in the years leading up to Yuri Gagarin's successful manned space flight in 1961 the question of mystery surrounding possible missing or failed (manned) space flights appear to have been answered although could the same be said of unsuccessful unmanned space flights during the early 1960's?

In some respects the notion of a space vehicle going astray would lend credence to Stringfield's source and South's testimony regarding a partially covered Delta wing craft being loaded onto a flatbed truck. Its not beyond the realms of possibility that the vehicle in question could have been an early prototype unmanned Russian version akin to NASA's lifting body program.

Equally though the drawbacks to this speculative theory are themselves in abundance, officially the History of USSR's Space Program for the period in question tells us that with the success of Sputnik 1 in 1957, the USSR had a considerable number of ambitious projects under development with the goal of sending space probes to the Moon Mars and Venus. Certainly by the end of the 1950’s other Design engineers had entered the program with an additional further array of ambitions - including Manned Spaceflight to both the Moon and Mars, Orbiting Battle Stations and Combat Spacecraft.

By the beginning of 1960 there were no fewer than thirty Space Systems on the drawing board, admittedly few of these designs ever reached the hardware stage largely because of internal wrangling that existed within both the political and military mindset of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless the Military overall asserted control, with the research programs of 1962 to 1964 code-named Shchit (space systems), Osnova (space equipment), and Ediniy KIK (ground systems) thus defining what would become the first generation of Soviet operational space systems. Although many of these systems would not be realised until 1966.

Arguably one of the most contentious projects during this period was the considered need for a Space Plane and while work continued on winged spacecraft for launch by ballistic missiles. The first such program, the VKA of 1958-1960, resulted in developing designs launched by means of the Korolev R-7 rockets. In 1960. this work was cancelled, and development commenced on Kosmoplan and Raketoplan space planes. Whilst ultimately these projects would also be cancelled there nevertheless - was a considerable amount of research and development afforded the concept - while officially no manned version of the VKA was ever manufactured.

Would it be considered to outrageous to ponder the question… was there an ill-fated unmanned prototype version of this winged spacecraft carried aloft on a Korolev R-7 Rocket that possibly malfunctioned whilst in orbit back in 1964?

Saturday, 31 October 2009

The Crash Site

Having been not so much strangely but emotionally absent from my blog for sometime, this article is somewhat of an introduction; namely for myself and to mark a return to writing by removing that mythical block writers so often mention when faced with a sudden loss for words.

During this period I quite selfishly took time away from everything including my partner and visited the area surrounding the New Penkridge Road. In essence the scene of Harold South's alleged encounter with a Military Road Block wayback in 1964.

What follows are my observations and thoughts of that day.... having arrived in Cannock early that morning and with the sun shining I made my way along the New Penkridge Road quickly passing the residential properties to reach Sandy Lane (the scene of the only known Road Closure which occurred on the 10th May 1964) along with its Public House "The Shoal Hill Tavern" Here I left the road and walked through the wooded area on the opposite side of the road passing the War Memorial. Afterwards emerging further along on to open land which ran parallel to the New Penkridge Road. Ultimately this brought me onto Cocksparrow Lane, pausing on an isolated heavy wooden bench within this area my thoughts were two fold "Was this the field South Crossed with his Camera?" and had he at this point "In effect by passed the Road Block?" Although its unclear as to the exact location of the Crash Site, for the purpose of this and future blogs or until a time further information becomes available the Crash Site, which based on Harold South's testimony resides somewhere in the region between Cocksparrow Lane and Mansty Lane on the right hand side of the New Penkridge Road.

Having emerged onto Cocksparrow Lane at the Junction with the New Penkridge Road I crossed the road to the other side and briefly watched the traffic which was occasional and light, this was around mid-morning on a weekday (Tuesday) as it would have been forty five years ago although I would surmise traffic in 1964 would've been considerably modest by today's standards.

Here I made a number of observations. Looking at the road as it stands today along with the hedge row and tree's the field only really becomes visible when virtually on top of the Junction with Cocksparrow Lane in addition the grass verges either side of the road are raised and would offer a limited view being seated low down in a car or van, although having said that the hedge row and undergrowth over the perimeter fencing may not have existed back in 1964 and the view may have been unrestricted but nevertheless Harold South would have almost certainly had to have reached this point to view the field when he encountered the Road Block.

Furthermore having travelled around the perimeter of the open farm land there were indeed several access points that would've allowed unhindered access into the field presenting little problem to maneuver a transporter or crane in a retrieval operation.
Travelling down Cocksparrow lane towards Shoal Hill I noticed a Nature Reserve on the right hand side more or less directly opposite an entrance to the open farm land but did not follow this through and continued on towards Shoal Hill and Huntington, Having reached the base of the hill I took a short break before ascending up to the top, which did indeed afford me a greater view of the surrounding area.
It was immediately clear that looking towards Huntington many of the new developments would not have existed back in 1964 and the area itself looking towards the New Penkridge Road had remained largely undeveloped. Nevertheless if something of a unusual nature did occur here back in 1964 its descent should really have not gone unnoticed and if we acknowledge there maybe additional witnesses to the Retrieval Operation, someone, somewhere must have bore silent witness to its arrival....

Sunday, 9 August 2009

RAF Melksham

Essentially this is a hypothetical blog in-so-far as Harold South's recollection of events are concerned, with regards to his confiscated camera, which was allegedly returned to him in a parcel, post marked "Melksham, Wiltshire" three weeks after his encounter along the New Penkridge Road back in 1964.

As South points out there are a few RAF Bases within this area in addition to RAF Melksham, the most immediate and noticeable (as far as Ufology is concerned) being RAF Rudloe Manor, along side RAF Lyneham there is also another complex of particular interest, Hawthorn is the location of a number of defence related underground facilities in the vicinity of Corsham, established during the Second World War and later used as the Central Government War Headquarters throughout the Cold War. A further part of this complex was developed as an aircraft engine factory, to act as a fallback should the then Bristol Engine Factory at Filton be destroyed by bombing. The engine factory was never used officially.

Naturally I first looked at RAF Melksham with the view, why would the confiscated film have been sent here? A first look at the History of RAF Melksham revealed it to primarily be the Number 12 School of Technical Training (24 Jun 1940 – 26 Feb 1965) resuming the major role after the Second World War of training Aircraft Fitters in the field of Electrical and Instrumentation, although there were a number of other specialised training courses covering engine trades and motor transport these were also held at Melksham and were conducted over shorter time periods.

In addition Melksham was a exceptionally large base, which at its height accommodated over ten thousand personnel, housing No 10 School of Recruit Training, which averaged 100 a week of mainly National servicemen until its final intake arrived in June 1953.

There are however two points of interest with regards RAF Melksham, the first being although it was never an operational flying base because it had no runway. The aircraft (which were on display during open days) were used for training purposes for ground crew and technicians and were transported to and from the base in dismantled form.

Secondly there appears to be some confusion over the actual date of closure, most official sources place the year as 1965. Yet the official commemorative stone (see photo above) and the unofficial website with the Squadron emblem place the closure date as 1964.

Which if true could well mean the base was virtually closed at the time of the Penkridge Incident (assuming the date and month are correct; 26 February) this at first glance might appear to rule out RAF Melksham as playing any role in the events at Penkridge.

For a moment though lets consider the possibility that RAF Melksham didn't play any active role in handling the confiscated Film or Camera and these items were more than likely processed and analysed at RAF Rudloe's Photographic Laboratories along with the camera to see if there was any specialised equipment being used by South, purely as a security measure, conjecture of course.

But what if, RAF Melksham instead played host to a downed object retrieved from a field alongside the Penkridge New Road? Clearly if Melksham was in the process of closure with no further intake of RAF personnel, is it feasible that a small contingent of Senior Officer's, NCO's, Qualified instructors; specialist's in Engine's, Airframe's, electrics and instrumentation be assembled and dispatched to oversee the retrieval and transportation of an unidentified object?

Furthermore the transportation of aircraft was a common enough occurrence and would not have attracted undue attention, providing the ideal opportunity to house securely the object in one of RAF Melksham's vacated hangers, whilst pending transportation to its final destination, possibly via RAF Lyneham and out of the country as part of a co-ordinated NATO exercise.

Its a hypothetical scenario, but not beyond the realms of possibility.

Friday, 31 July 2009

The Police Interview and the Telephone call

Following on from my previous thoughts on Harold South's testimony and his recollection of events at Bloxwich Police Station, (Pictured above, 2009) something else recently occurred to me. Although there is a reference in "Cosmic Crashes" that Harold South's original letter mentions he was warned to stay silent by the civilian Police (p77) Its unclear as to whether during or throughout the interview he was asked to sign the Official Secrets Act or if the Police sought his co-operation in remaining quite and requested he did not discuss with anyone his encounter along the New Penkridge road or the subsequent confiscation of his camera and film.

Yet, during his interview in 1996 with Nick Redfern and Irene Bott. Harold South makes a remarkable if somewhat unusual statement, prior to the interview he alluded to a mysterious telephone call from the Ministry of Defence Police. Although I must confess here this is one area I originally intended to stay away from largely because it is virtually impossible that this could ever be verified beyond the established fact that there had been a call placed to Harold South's home number from a Midlands based operator service utilised by the Military.

Although It could well have been the case that along with Nick and Irene, SUFOG's activities in the local papers of the time had given cause for concern somewhere within the establishment that the subject might come under the spotlight again, especially at a time when the UFO phenomenon was enjoying unprecedented media attention worldwide and a serious concerted effort on behalf of local UFO researchers might indeed unearth a few skeletons.

All though South's letter to Irene Bott was received a week after the article was published in the Burntwood Post referencing the Penkridge Incident, its highly unlikely that the intelligence community would have been aware that Harold South was about to come forward (bearing in mind thirty years had elapsed and as far as we know he had not shared his experience with anybody else) and re-iterate his story, unless there was a surveillance operation already in place on SUFOG members, which is not beyond the realms of possibility. But a more likely scenario would be that if Harold South had indeed witnessed something of importance to National Security back in 1964, he would have remained on file somewhere, with a risk assessment being made, which would have been downgraded as the years passed.

Again any surveillance I would have thought been strictly routine and low key, since it wouldn't have been to difficult to keep tabs on Harold South (or anybody for that matter) as he moved around over the years through his National Insurance number, State Pension and Driving Licence etc. So at what stage did the alarm bells start ringing within the MOD if they thought he was about to be unearthed?

Because there appears to have been a considerable lapse in time from the initial contact made with Irene Bott and the subsequent interview in December of 1996, likewise there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the mysterious call because the call serves no purpose when you consider that South was a retired civilian in his late sixties, he was hardly a threat to National security even if he had elected to tell his story at this late stage, thirty years had elapsed, given that no one else (that we know of) as come forward to corroborate his testimony. Why interfere and risk greater exposure by placing a telephone call which if anything would only lend greater credence to his story? Here again the timing is impeccable, why wait until the day of the interview?

In his interview South tells us he was flustered by the call, but there is no mention as to whether he was warned off from speaking to both Nick and Irene. Instead there is a reference to a complaint the nature of which is unknown in addition to being given a number to call, which turned out to be the Guard Room at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield.

Here the horns are really going to grow out of my head!!! But just before they do, I thinks its only fair to point out that never actually having met Harold South the following comments are purely conjecture and therefore should not necessarily be seen as a true reflection of his integrity or character, but seen through the eyes of natural scepticism only.

Harold South did indeed have a telephone call from a Midlands Based operator service controlled by the Military on that morning in December 1996 prior to the arrival of his two guests, but did he instigate it himself? Lets face it, its not to difficult to make a telephone enquiry, then ask them to return the call. was his enquiry for Whittington Barracks telephone number by any chance? On the face of it we know very little of Harold South's background, presumably he did his two years National Service? Did he complete his training with the Staffordshire Regiment based at Whittington Barracks? Is this why he chose Whittington Barracks? Why didn't he return the call when he was asked to do so, more importantly if he was concerned why did allow Irene Bott to return the call on his behalf if he thought he was being subtly advised not to speak about his experience?
Furthermore what was the complaint about? Was this another subtle attempt on behalf of Harold South to reinforce the link between the alleged call made by MOD Police and the pre-text for which he was allegedly told to report to Bloxwich Police Station in 1964; namely that a complaint had been made about him "cutting up a motorcyclist" ???

Finally If the Police had traced Harold South through the registration number of the van he was driving that day, surely this would have been registered to his place of work, being a company vehicle, they would have also had to obtain his name address and telephone number from his employer Bendix where he worked. Then after which they quite astonishingly call his home leaving a message with his mother to ask him to report to Bloxwich Police Station?

Right that's enough healthy scepticism for this blog!!! Regardless of whether or not we choose to accept Harold South's story further research will continue and hopefully redress the balance of his testimony in future blogs in a more positive and favourable light.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Road Block Theory

If and when a Road Block becomes necessary, I would have thought the primary factor to consider would firstly be the traffic flow. Which would obviously be cause for concern, therefore it would be logical in the first instance to create a diversion at the junction of the Road either end, informing of the Road closure, keeping any disruption to a minimum by the use of diversion signs.

It would make no sense whatsoever to allow traffic to travel partly down a closed Road then force them to reverse their route. Even more so if the reason for the closure was to avoid unwanted attention and to keep away prying eyes.

In the case of Harold South's testimony, we assume an object had impacted in a field adjacent to the New Penkridge Road and whilst being relatively intact, lets assume for the sake of argument there is no debris from the fallen object scattered across the Road itself. Why is the Road Blocked, especially at a point along its route where motorists are still able to visibly ascertain a flat bed truck in a field with a crane and a heavy military presence in the background all behind the Police Road Block?

Thus creating, allegedly, the unwarranted attention of Harold South. Had the Police been unable to close off the junction(s) to the New Penkridge Road for whatever reason. Surely it would have been better to keep the traffic flowing (assuming their is no physical obstruction blocking the road), the motorists moving and hence their curiosity to an absolute minimum allowing nobody to stop along that particular stretch of the road.

If on the other hand, there was indeed Debris scattered across the road and leading up to the impact site itself the road would have had to have been cordoned off, but from a secrecy aspect it would have been far better to set any Road Blocks at the junction(s) to allow the retrieval operation unhindered (and unseen) access without having to deal with possible on lookers and traffic congestion which would surely result from such a relatively close Road Block.

From Harold South's description, the recovery operation appeared to be well underway taking place around mid-morning (10.00am) so the Roadblock(s) would have been well established.
Yet they're positioned so that the operation is well within sight of any motorists travelling along this road, instead of actually diverting the traffic away from the area. Why?

And all of this would have been happening on what might have been at the time private land, would the owners have been informed? As would nearby residents?

The Penkridge Incident raises many baffling and inexplicable questions. Undoubtedly an ariel search of the area to pin point the crash location would have been required to facilitate a quick recovery, if S M Brannigan's testimony is also to be believed? Were the local emergency services alerted along with the Police? How long had the downed object been on the ground before the arrival of the Authorities? Why are they're no witness reports of the object descending like in the Kecksburg Incident? The Cosford Incident the year before had appeared in the media creating attention yet there is not one iota of press coverage relating to the Penkridge Incident, were the local press subject to "D" Notices? Harold South had said initially he told no one of his encounter with the Road Block and did not return to the area for two weeks, yet he maintained that at the motorcycle club night at Hednesford there were rumors circulating about UFO activity in the area along with a crashed UFO; RAF personnel from Melksham were also believed to be residing temporary at the Red, White and Blue Public House at Featherstone.
Its all very intriguing, but additional corroboration is further required to elevate this story from the realms of virtual obscurity and to establish whether their is indeed a factual basis, not only to Harold South's testimony but that of the original custodian; Leonard Stringfield.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Lost in the Passage of Time?

The New Penkridge Road appears to fall outside of Cannock Chase Council's responsibility, the boundary ending with the junction of Sandy Lane (which ironically was the subject of a road closure on the 10th May 1964) Land to the west of this falls within the jurisdiction of South Staffordshire District Council.
The Council does not own any of the land along this road, unfortunately all records pertaining to individual planning applications (which are numerous), tree planting and preservation orders date back to 1971 only, no records exist beyond this date.
This in effect means that if Harold South's testimony is to be believed then a more precise location of the impact site along the New Penkridge Road would be required in order to establish whose land the incident occured on back in 1964.

On a broader search the Urban Forestry Officer for Cannock Chase district Council could find no records that exist locally for the period in question.

Staffordshire Police

Unfortunately there are no records of road closures of the types I requested that go back this far. The usual retention period for these types of records is only around 7 years and thus they would have been routinely destroyed many years ago.
In essence and at this moment in time while there appears to be no records held locally its not beyond the realms of possibilty that any significant event would have been transfered to the National Archives at Kew whether pending release or already declassified only time will tell.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

The Art of Secrecy (Part 2)

Following on from the first part of this article where I briefly touched up on some similarities between the Penkridge Incident and the Cosmos 954 Satellite crash back in 1978. One further example which lends credence to the belief that orbital debris could have laid the foundations for the Penkridge Story (although cannot be directly linked to it) can be found within the pages of Nick Redfern's Cosmic Crashes...

The stories of Captain E D Morrison pilot of a London bound Boeing Clipper jet en route from New York and Captain R A Botthos, a DC-8 pilot whom both on the 19th March 1964 witnessed something entering the Earth's Atmosphere. Morrisson had stated that " It woke up the sky in a great white flash" Whilst Botthos himself stated "I saw the object, which was travelling on a North to South trajectory, explode in a big flash and trailing columns of smoke on re-entering the Atmosphere.I was flying at 29,000 feet. It was a spectacular sight."

Ironically fourteen years later the Cosmos 954 satellite would make a remarkably similar final journey entering the Earth's Atmosphere over the Canadian continent from its 150 mile high orbit on a North to South trajectory impacting in the Northwest Territories of Canada, although quite alarmingly had the satellite managed to achieve another orbit before plunging into the Atmosphere its impact area would have been very different, falling instead just outside of New York City.

Oddly enough the one thing you can't keep is a secret...or is it?

Given the nature of the problem and the size of the Northwest Territories, combined with the fact that the fallout was scattered over a 124'000 square mile area. Its not surprising that a considerable search effort was required by both American and Canadian aircraft to facilitate the the location and recovery of the fallen satellite's scattered debris or more appropiately its power source (110lbs of enriched uranium), followed by a clean up operation which continued until October of the same year.

In stark contrast to the Northwest Territories. Cannock Chase quite literally pales into insignificance, although it as to be said here that a significant debris field such as that produced by the Cosmos 954 would have had dire if not fatal consequences for the towns surrounding the Chase and therefore there could be little dispute that such an incident could not be kept out of the public domain. Even a well placed contingency plan and cover story would have been unavoidably publicised within the local and national press and later retained for posterity within the archives, hence leaving a footprint in the pages of history.

However, in order to preserve the conspiracy theory surrounding the Penkridge Incident we have to stray a little to another event which took place a year later and in many ways is more closer to it than the Cosmos affair. On the 9th December 1965 an alleged Unidentified Object crashed within the vicinity of the small town of Kecksburg,Pennsylvania.

Although unlike Penkridge the event was quite remarkable in that not only were there an abundance of eye witness testimony but also media coverage from a local Radio station all bearing witness to an alleged retrieval operation by the military of a downed object.

Still there are some pretty remarkable similarities here, a witness testimony placed a flat bed truck at the scene of the impact being used by the Military to remove the mysterious object (whilst the Military themselves claimed they found nothing in their search of the area) further testimony is presented by another witness who (arrived prior to the Military) actually took photographs but later had his film confiscated.
Whilst finally the crashed object itself, being positively described as very similar to an acorn shape had (more importantly) allegedly remained virtually intact with no discernible debris field other than the point of impact.

Despite this body of testimony and far from being lost in the passage of time (as appears to be the case with the Penkridge Incident) the Kecksburg UFO Incident pertains that something out of the ordinary did actually occur back in December of that year. Yet we unfortunately still continue to find no such tell tale signs of something unusual happening at Penkridge, which dare I say it should be there. While on the other hand one of the theories put forward to explain the Kecksburg UFO is the question of Space debris, which interestingly enough continues to raise its head. This time in the form of another Soviet satellite Cosmos 96 (Although ruled out in some quarters because of a timing difference when compared with other observations) nevertheless this still presents an underlying theme of orbital space debris on a North to South trajectory that might have inspired if not laid the basic foundations for Leonard Stringfield's story.

So where does all this leave us? Both the Cosmos 954 satellite affair and the Kecksburg UFO Incident present two opposite sides of the secrecy coin in the sense that Debris scattered over a large area is indeed bad news for the Men in Black. Whilst a relatively intact falling object might possibly escape unwanted attention (however this would have to be more luck than by design) or at the other end of the scale, present the Men in Black with a feasible damage limitation exercise in concealment....

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Art of Secrecy (Part 1)

The dictionary defines the word "Secret" as "Knowledge kept from others" nowhere more so could this definition be applied so aptly than to the subject of UFO's. The bone of contention here, being that for those who subscribe to the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis and acknowledge that such Visitations do indeed occur are faced with what as to be a remarkable success rate in concealment in particular those aspects of the phenomenon which involve alleged evidence in the form of... Crash/Retrieval sites.

The Secrecy aspect of the Penkridge Incident is one that I sometimes have difficulty with in the sense that while the evidence available to date suggests nothing out of the ordinary happened
back in 1964. On this basis should we allow ourselves to really believe that the series of events described by the late Leonard Stringfield and later elaborated on by the alleged eyewitness testimony of Harold South did actually occur? And then quite successfully be removed from the pages of history?

History V Conspiracy

On January 24th 1978 the Soviet Nuclear powered Satellite Cosmos 954 re-entered the Earths atmosphere impacting across the Northwest Territories of Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada. While this high profile event occurred fourteen years after the alleged recovery of an object from a field near Penkridge in Staffordshire 1964 the event itself offers us a useful insight into the problems of recovering a downed spacecraft and offers some interesting parallels.

The Cosmos 954 was already deemed to be a troubled satellite a month prior to its fiery descent into the Earths Atmosphere having been tracked from its initial launch by NORAD. This advanced notification of the satellite's unscheduled re-entry had already been pr emptied by talks between the two superpowers when it became obvious that attempts to prevent the satellite's disintegrating orbit had failed; prior to public knowledge of the satellite's demise both nations had addressed (in secret) the issue of how best to allay public fears over what could be a potential disaster.

With this in mind if we look back at Stringfield's source (S M Brannigan) its unclear how long the Soviets had been tracking the unidentified object before its malfunction, would it therefore be unreasonable to assume that had there been sufficient time in the interests of Safety and International Diplomacy to forewarn the British Government of the impending crash of a Foreign Object on not only mainland UK but also West Germany?

The issues here are two fold. If the object was indeed manufactured by the USSR then its a fairly safe bet that the object was tracked from its initial launch until its final descent. therefore the answer should be yes there would have been sufficient time as clearly was the case with Cosmos 954 for dialogue to take place between the two Governments. Likewise the scenario would be the same if the object had been manufactured in the United States.

If we consider the other possibility that the object was indeed unidentified and its detection was at a late stage with insufficient or very little time to react or issue a warning. The Soviet's would undoubtedly have been little more than observers whilst the United States on the other hand would according to Brannigan's testimony play a more active role, Possibly by other means of detection (NORAD) or as a direct result of the intercepted communication. There are, however a number of other similarities between the two incidents, Cosmos 954 showed that the Americans have a capability to operate search and retrieval operations within the sphere of friendly nations. Furthermore while the Cosmos affair itself was very much in the public eye, the nature of the satellite's power source was primarily the reasoning behind the intense publicity. Although recognised as major concern there is a element of secrecy within this episode namely that of the intelligence aspect. While the USSR had perhaps begrudgingly admitted the loss of their satellite, all three nations nevertheless worked together responsibly The United States and Canada for their part very much playing down the affair and the true nature of satellite's purpose.

In the second part of this blog a more in depth look is taken into the similarities between these two incidents. While sceptics would no doubt place the Penkridge Incident into the realms of Science fiction, further asserting that as the Cosmos 954 satellite showed, Secrecy could not be maintained in a real life situation.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


I found it really strange. Almost difficult to write the opening sentence to this blog and whilst time appears to have moved on so rapidly, this year seems to have raced on ahead without me!
Although I started the year with good intentions, unfortunately the last few months have been tinged with a great sadness and having taken time out from work it really does feel like I've now just stepped back into the world from a place where time as stood still for me.


I recently filed a number of requests through the forestry commission on Cannock Chase and the local authority regarding Road Closures in and around the area during the period in question. While I have received a holding reply it appears that it is going to take some time to locate the information i have requested. This may hopefully afford a greater insight into the events of 1964 although having said that I have a feeling this maybe a long drawn out tedious process with further requests being made, with so little information regarding the Penkridge Incident readily available this line of research I feel should at least unearth some form of tangible evidence that otherwise continues to point towards a non existent event.

RAF Penkridge as unfortunately yielded little results at present beyond its operational value during the Second World War. I will be looking at Pillaton Farm in the near future.
Finally reading through an interesting article recently a thought had occurred to me with regards to Leonard Stringfield's original story, while speculation, sceptics often subscribe to Occam's Razor when dealing with the subject of UFO's and if the latter is true of the Penkridge Incident are we actually looking at a Cold War episode which as quite literally remained hidden from us all these years?

This article will appear in a future blog.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

RAF Penkridge & Pillaton Farm

The focus of further research into the Penkridge Incident currently remains very much based on Harold South's testimony and therefore continues to provide a guideline to the vicinity of the alleged crash/retrieval site.
Although has I have said before, this eye witness account may or may not not be related to Stringfield's version of events.
Current area's of interest in the coming months will be RAF Penkridge, more commonly refer ed to as Otherton Airfield and currently used by the Staffordshire Areo Club (circled on map).

The airfield was created as RAF Penkridge in 1942 during the Second World War and was the base of RAF 51 Group EFTS. The airfield, which is known by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) designation code X3PR.
The other site of interest is Pillaton Farm, currently a Caravan Site with small industrial units for rent, these area's may quite possibly throw new light onto Harold South's testimony with heavy motorway construction development going on at the time any additional activity of a unusual nature, such as a military presence in the area should really have been noted by more than a single observer.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

PC Robert Bull, Fact or Fiction?

There is an element of truth in the old saying "The Devil makes work for idle hands". Whilst it is true that my hands have recently been turning the pages of Nick Redfern's Book "Cosmic Crashes" it is actually my thoughts that are more likely the recipient of the Devil's mischief.

A healthy dose of scepticism should always be present when considering the subject of Extraterrestrial visitation, even more so when the nature of the research involves the alleged retrieval of a unidentified object from a field near Penkridge, Staffordshire thirty five years ago.

Even so, I still feel something of a complete ogre when in the company of Harold South's testimony, which on the face of it, is quite remarkable indeed, although in order to view Mr South's testimony fairly, objectively and impartially any thoughts presented here are little more than supposition based on a modicum of research, knowledge of the local area combined with a devilish desire to test the veracity of this eyewitness account.

One aspect of the storyline that niggled away at me when I first read "Cosmic Crashes" was the detailed account given at Bloxwich Police Station, South's testimony describes his interview at the station in the presence of three people... "A Police Inspector... Reid, PC Robert Bull and a female plain clothes person taking notes" aside from the assertion that the Police Constable was the shortest officer he had ever seen and that no other observations (at least not referenced in the book) were made of either the Police Inspector or the female note taker, PC Robert Bull actually as another distinction.... his name.

Throughout the interview a number of reasonable assumptions can be made, in the first instance its not unreasonable to assume that "Reid" is conducting the interview with the "female plain clothes person taking notes" whilst presumably "PC Robert Bull" remains in the background.

A further assumption can be made that upon entering the room, formal introductions are made, here however the roles are reversed. Both "Reid" and the "female note taker" are relegated to the background in-so-far that they're only partially identified (despite "Reid" leading the conversation) while on the other hand "PC Robert Bull" is fully identified, yet his role throughout the interview is unspecified.

Before I let the Devil cast my idle aspersions, It as to be said that South's reference to "PC Bull's" stature offers a plausible reason as to why this officer should stand out in his recollection of events, although the name still niggles away at me, because down the road, just a stones throw from Bloxwich Police Station resides two Public Houses... Sir Robert Peel & The Bulls Head.
Before its closure the Bulls Head in its heyday, if my memory serves me correctly was a haunt favoured by Bikers.
Whilst not quite the last word on the subject and as point of reference this could well be a mere coincidence and therefore my observation should not be seen as a attempt to ridicule or dismiss this eye witness account.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Stringfield & UFO Investigators

Whilst recently thumbing through Nick Redfern's "Saucer Spies" Book, published back in 2006. Chapter 14, entitled "British Roswell" re-iterates Nick's interview (along with Irene Bott of the Staffordshire UFO Group) with Harold South in 1996, whose eyewitness testimony into an alleged road block along the New Penkridge Road in 1964. Involved the retrieval of an unidentified object from a field, an incident, which apparently continued to prompt the attention of the authorities over thirty years later in the form of a sinister phone call to the witness prior to his meeting with Redfern.

While these events are fairly well established, Nick interestingly adds a foot note to this chapter in the form of a declassified file from the Ministry of Defence dated 1966 relating to a enquiry by an American UFO researcher named Robert S Suter, on the 27th April, Suter had apparently contacted the MOD with regards to a persistent rumor in the United States that a UFO had been "shot down" over the UK several years prior, which allegedly contained the remains of a "Once living organism" rather unsurprisingly the MOD replied that they were unaware of any such occurrence, effectively bringing Mr Suter's enquiry to a close.

What's interesting here is not so much the possibility of a link to verify the claims made by Leonard Stringfield's source but that the rumor itself might well indeed originate with the very same source. If so, does this compromise the integrity of his source? Did "S M Brannigan" confide in other UFO researchers before or during is association with Leonard Stringfield?

Has I have said on a previous occasion, the notion that Stringfield may have been the target of a carefully orchestrated deception, may be purely conjecture although it is not beyond the realms of possibility. Its unclear exactly when "Brannigan" first disseminated his story, whether to Stringfield alone or others within the UFO community. There are slight differences in these accounts and Stringfield may well have been the first to publicize this storyline.

But was he the only recipient of this strange tale?

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Motorway Traffic Row

Further to the current research into the Penkridge incident, a review of back copies of the Cannock Advertiser (which amalgamated with the Cannock Courier in April 1964)
To form the Hednesford Advertiser-Courier; located at Cannock Library produced little new information.
Although there is an interesting footnote covering the period in question a front-page article in the paper dated 24th April 1964 under the heading…
“Motorway Traffic Row”
The article related to an ongoing complaint about the frequent use of the New Penkridge Road by motorway construction traffic, in particular lorries apparently for no reason leaving the road and ending up in ditches on what appeared to be a regular basis with most traffic occurring around midnight; early hours of the morning.
While Penkridge Police stated that unless the lorries were in collision with another vehicle or persons were injured these incidents did not have to be reported by the drivers concerned.
Nevertheless the residences of nearby Pillaton Farm were considerably unhappy with the nuisance caused by the construction lorries that had been using the road for the last three months.
The M6 Motorway extension under construction (Dunston-Laney Green) designed to relieve the traffic congestion through Penkridge and Gailey Island tends to dominate the local paper albeit indirectly through a series of road traffic accidents over the early months of 1964 including fatalities caused by the high levels of traffic around these areas.
Back in 1964 I would have thought traffic would be considerably modest by today's standards, although this did make me wonder about the volume of traffic in the area at the alleged time of the crash/retrieval. The mystery surrounding the lorries could be little more than fatigue or the drivers being partial to the odd tipple when on nights, although given the three month time period over which these events occured i would have thought at least one collision with another vehicle would almost certainly have occured had this been the case.

Penkridge Re-visited

A timely reminder of my blogs original aim! Here's a recent article in the Sunday Mercury regarding UFO sightings over Cannock Chase, with a brief nod to Leonard Stringfields' "Penkridge Incident" back in 1964.
Still building a profile of events in and around the area during the early part of 1964 sourcing Stafford and Hednesford libraries for their local knowledge, whilst Penkridge is refer-ed to by Stringfield in his Book "Situation Red the UFO Siege" the woodland area of Cannock Chase appears to be the more likely recipient of this storyline.

Poppy over Penkridge?

Purely a theoretical line of thought, but I'm sure its not gone unnoticed that way back in 1962 the then fledgling National Reconnaissance Office launched a series of Highly Classified Satellites between 1962 - 1971. These highly sophisticated Spy Satellites were placed in orbit to monitor Soviet ground and Ocean Radar Ships. Code named Poppy (No 3) was launched on the 11th January 1964. Could one of these have malfunctioned and is this what the Russians were tracking?
Since Stringfield's Source had stated that the intercepted transmission refer-ed to the Russians tracking a Unidentified Object at high altitude. With the USSR's Space Tracking capability comprised primarily of sea faring vessels its not unreasonable to assume the Soviets were monitoring and tracking Satellites in orbit whilst being under scrutiny themselves.
At the height of the Cold War secrecy was at its utmost, however one aspect of this story throws doubt on its authenticity, would the Petty Officer on the Spy Ship really have been privy to the alleged retrieval operation details which resulted from the intercepted transmission? Gathering Intel is one thing, Compartmentalisation is another unless of course it was a dis-infomation exercise.

Penkridge Incident 1964

This story is based on the account of one S M Brannigan, a former third class petty officer with the US Navy, stationed aboard a “spy ship” as part of a naval amphibious force at an undisclosed location in either the Caribbean or the Atlantic.
Brannigan’s primary task was the translation of intercepted Soviet military transmissions, during which he recalled one particular instance when decoding a message received at the ships ‘crypto-machine room`.
The intercepted transmission related to a Unidentified object over-flying Europe
Which, for unknown reasons had malfunctioned and plummeted to Earth breaking into two parts upon its descent the main section of the object crashed at Penkridge, Staffordshire, while the remains hurtled onwards impacting somewhere in West Germany…
Further to Brannigan’s story it was alleged that US Air Force Intelligence were present at the retrieval of, not just the downed UFO, but it’s additional three dead occupants who were also recovered in conjunction with NATO forces.
Stringfield (a former US Air Force Intelligence officer himself) was often criticised for not revealing his source of information, thus leaving the incident to remain obscure and unverified over the years until it resurfaced in Nicholas Redfern’s book “Cosmic Crashes” published in 1999 were it came to the authors attention via a colleague after it reappeared on a internet bulletin board in the United States.
In addition Redfern presented in his book a remarkable eye witness testimony to the alleged recovery operation in February/March 1964 who claimed he encountered a roadblock, and was forced to turnaround and leave the area, the witness however returned on foot to photograph the event but later had his camera confiscated.
Even so the incident once again lacks corroboration from other much needed sources, while the idea that a retrieval operation of such enormity could be carried out in secrecy remains highly contentious, is there any element of truth in this story?.

Leonard Stringfield

Following on from my Blog's original aim. my current research into the alleged events surrounding a crash/retrieval wayback in 1964 in or around Penkridge, Staffordshire is focused into two main area's (1) Leonard Stringfield (1920 - 1994) the source himself. This is to see whether Stringfield had any connections to the area himself, or any other third parties which would explain his unspecified source's claim or association with Staffordshire.
The second area (2) currently focuses on the Penkridge New Road and the area surrounding, at the present moment the Library at Cannock as provided some useful insight into local events at the time. Although nothing of major significance as surfaced there are a few articles that are noteworthy with one of particular interest.