Since first writing about this incident it has caused me more than a few (official) problems. I expect more after this re~post but I am not in this to make friends ~official or otherwise.
Sadly, since writing this piece I have heard that John Green has passed away. In fact, John died before he could send me photographs of the area he had taken along with witness statements and his own account of a rather official interrogation regarding his own investigation at Gatton!
Surprisingly, the person who contacted me I already knew so it wasn’t long before I had all the pieces.
This would just have been another “UFO landing” had it not been for what happened next. A local RAF man had mentioned that a team had been to the area to check things out and talk to some witnesses. The RAF man immediately asked the Field Officer not to mention this, however, when another officer mentioned the team it was considered an “open fact”.
The Field Officer contacted the base in question –MoD Boscombe Down. The MoD Boscombe Down is an aircraft testing site located south of Amesbury, Wiltshire. And it is run and managed by QinetiQ; the company created as part of the break-up of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency in 2001 by the UK Ministry of Defence. It is the home of the Empire Test Pilots' School.
At the time of the Gatton landing it was known as RAF Boscombe Down and since 1939 had evaluated aircraft for the British armed forces and a lot more. The Field Officer identified himself and requested confirmation that a team had been sent to Shropshire. There was a delay as someone else was passed on to field the call. This person asked a few questions and then stated: “We don’t just send people out anywhere you know. We are a busy establishment and I can’t recall anyone mentioning Gatton.” After an apology for not being able to help the conversation ended.
The Field Officer told me that it had been very interesting because: ”I never once mentioned Gatton –just an incident in Shropshire!” Made me wonder.
The RAF team who had visited the site were reported to Mr. Green who had not been contacted and vehicles had crossed land without permission. A Wing Commander who would not give his name but claimed to be from the Flight Investigation Unit, Boscombe Down, denied Mr. Green access to the area and stated that it was “for public safety”.
Green, and others, watched as coverall suited men began sanitising the area; picking up anything that was not going into “odd looking vacuum cleaner style devices”. A couple of other men were using devices that could not be clearly seen. Site integrity was maintained until they had finished and with a “thank you” they drove off.
All of this was duly noted down. The odd thing was that the object, according to all the witnesses, was far too small to have been manned.
When I later spoke to Dr. David Clark, at Sheffield University, he was brief and to the point: he had never heard of the Gatton incident and had certainly not contacted Mr. Green. That was that.
We could all speculate on who the caller might have been but it really was not important to the incident. I checked around, the Field Officer checked around and even Mr. Green tried his bit but we all reached a dead-end. One UFO group did claim that they were told “small bodies were removed and flown off in a helicopter” but this was pure fantasy.
To my mind, once everything had been collated, it was quite clear what had come down in Gatton and then flown away. A Remotely Piloted Vehicle [RPV]. The size and details seemed right and similar devices had been tested for assessment as battlefield intelligence gatherers. This was probably a far more up-to-date device than the one that created a huge UFO stir when it was sighted by a trainee pilot and instructor over Blackbush,Hampshire in the 1980s: that device had originated at Boscombe Down.
I sent everything to Squadron Leader Tarr and washed my hands of the whole affair. Why had I been contacted to look into a “possible UFO incident” if it was known from the start what the object was? To confuse the issue –or to find out whether anyone had spotted something that might give a clue to why it temporarily landed?
One thing I learnt with the AOP Bureau was that sometimes we were given leads that led to non-UFO events and the data we gathered was obviously useful to someone. So, if you read of a “UFO crash” in 1999, at Gatton,Shropshire, you know what it really was!