The West Malling Visual-Radar UFO Sighting
In 1953 the flying saucer wave crossed the Atlantic when the West Malling Incident took place. On 3 November two RAF officers, T.S. Johnson and G. Smythe were flying a reconnaissance mission in their Vampire jet fighter. They were at 20,000 feet over West Malling in Kent when they spotted a round, brightly lit object high above them.
As the two airmen watched, the strange object dived toward their fighter. As it drew closer they saw that it was disc-shaped and that a ring of intensely bright lights glared out from its rim. The object flew around the Vampire, then made off at high speed. It had been in sight for about 30 seconds. Meanwhile the object had been picked up by a radar station at Lee Green, also in Kent, and had been seen from the ground by a member of the anti-aircraft gun crew at RAF West Malling.
News of the sighting leaked to the local newspapers, and was taken up by the national media. Three weeks after the event one of Kent’s Members of Parliament, Colonel Schofield, asked a question in the House of Commons about the incident. The Minister of Defence, Mr Birch, replied “Two experimental meteorological balloons were observed at different times on 3 November. There was nothing peculiar about either of the occurrences.” Another MP, Mr Isaacs, jumped up to ask a supplementary question “Will the Minister agree that this story of flying saucers is all ballooney?” The house dissolved in laughter, then moved on to other business.
Many suspected that Mr Isaacs had been fed his witty question in advance by the government to detract attention from the incident. If so, it worked. As in the Gorman dogfight sighting in America the authorities used weather balloons as an unlikely explanation of a very serious event.
from "UFOs" by Rupert Matthews
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