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.