December 10, 1963
Location: Cosford RAF, United Kingdom
around 11.30pm on the evening of December 10, 1963, a
dome-shaped UFO touched down on the Royal Air Force base
facility at Cosford, near Wolverhampton, bathed the surrounding
area in a beam of green light, and was seen at close quarters
by at least two RAF apprentices. At least, that has been
the accepted story for the last three decades.
'Cosford: An Enduring Mystery,' Nick Redfern
An Enduring Mystery
by Nick Redfern
1995, the Royal Air Force facility at Cosford, near Wolverhampton,
is probably known for its huge museum which is home to
an impressive collection of vintage military and civil
aircraft. More than thirty years ago, however, Cosford
became briefly famous for an entirely different reason.
around 11.30 p.m., on the evening of December 10, 1963,
a dome-shaped UFO touched down on the base, bathed the
surrounding area in a beam of green light, and was seen
at close quarters by at least two RAF apprentices. At
least, that has been the accepted story for the last three
accordance with the British Government's 'thirty year
ruling,' the Ministry of Defence's eighty page file
on the case has recently been declassified and is now
available for inspection at the Public Record Office.
Its contents make for interesting reading.
that something extraordinary had occurred at the base
surfaced almost immediately, but it was not until early
January 1964 that matters escalated. On January 9, Wilfred
Daniels, a UFO investigator from Stafford, had the opportunity
to speak with Reverend B.G. Henry, the Chaplain at RAF
Cosford, and duly put to him a number of questions relative
to the alleged close encounter.
cannot be sure what was actually said during the course
of their brief conversation (both men recalled their 'chat'
in markedly different ways), but a controversy was created
which raged for months.
an April 13, 1964 letter to Waverney Girvan, editor of
Flying Saucer Review magazine, Wilfred Daniels reported:
"Flight Lieutenant Henry said that publication
of his name would cause him trouble; that it was 'more
than his job was worth' to arrange a meeting between me
and the two RAF apprentices; that he really ought not
to be talking to me about it at all; that security had
dropped right down on the whole thing."
his part, Reverend Henry's recollection were somewhat
opposed to those of Daniels. A letter from Flying Officer
R.A. Roberts at Cosford, to the Air Ministry at Whitehall,
stated that Flight Lieutenant Henry "categorically
denies all sttaments attributed to him." Flying
Officer Roberts further added that the chaplain was "seriously
considering taking legal action."
his credit, Waverney Girvan resolved to get to the bottom
of the mystery, and fired off a barrage of letters to
both Cosford and the Air Ministry. As Girvan pointed out
to the staff at Cosford, several contradictory explanations
had been offered by the authorities to explain the encounter:
'Nothing at all', 'two drunk apprentices',
'a hoax', and, somewhat amusingly, 'a British
Railways steam train' were the various theories mooted
by the Air Ministry in its attempts to squelch interest
in the case.
a rat, Girvan gave the incident pride of place in the
next issue of Flying Saucer Review, and wrote a lenghty
article on the case in the Kensignton News and West London
Times. Commenting on the Government's 'self-contradictory
explanations', Girvan said: 'What is it that the
Air Ministry is trying so desparately to hide?'
to keep its head down, the Air Ministry fumed behind closed
doors. Of particular concern to the Air Ministry, the
media persisted in promotong the case: '...the Express
and Star of Wolverhampton, in spite of seeking the Station's
views, reported the boys' claim....,' grumbled the
Ministry in an internal memorandum of March 12, 1964.
May of that same year, the controversy had begun to die
down and normality returned to RAF Cosford. The pro-UFO
facrtions continued to champion the case, while the Air
Ministry was more than happy to play the matter down.
what exactly did happen on that long gone winter's evening
in December 1963? On the plus side, Waverney Girvan was
a much-respected individual, well-known for his diligent
researches. In addition, Wilfred Daniels had served in
the military at the level of Captain - an equally credible
source. Moreover, it is a proven fact that the Air Ministry
did offer a variety of contradictory explanations in its
attempt to dismiss the case.
the other hand, the negative aspects of the case have
to be addressed. Flight Lieutenant Henry was adamant that
he had been mis-quoted by Wilfred Daniels; the possibility
of him taking legal action was discussed in inter-departmental
memos. Furthermore, a hand-written note which originated
with the Air Ministry stated that with respect to the
two apprentices who reported seeing the UFO: 'I believe
the two boys in question wanted to get out of the servive
- and we should not have been sorry to see them go.'
if nothing untoward occurred, why did the Air Ministry
feel the need to offer a variety of ever-changing explanations
as it sought to diffuse both public and media interest
in the event?
the final analysis, whatever truth lies behind the alleged
1963 UFO encounter at RAF Cosford, of only one thing we
can be truly certain: with the release of the Government's
eighty page file on the incident, the decades-old controversy
looks certain to re-surface.
Redfern is perhaps the UK's leading researcher into Government
involvement with UFO cases.