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.