23. Sep, 2020


WEDNESDAY 23-09-20

Well you don't get much for thirty-one pounds for the night. Just a piece a grass and a bit of electricity. Never mind, had I not lost the plot yesterday we could have arrived here earlier and saved parking fees on the seafront.

Yesterday evening we went for that walk towards Thorpeness. Though to be honest we turned around once we reached the outskirts of the village due to the fact that it was getting dark, and the Chef and I can get lost easily enough without the hindrance of darkness.

On the way back we noticed that a second small campervan had parked up between the two communities, which was fine by us, they were doing nobody any harm except - the second vehicle, with two male campers, probably in their thirties, had only gone and placed a disposable barbecue, contained within an alluminium foil tray, on a very nice railway sleeper-style wooden bench seat, supplied for the enjoyment of all, and then had the stupidity to light it. As we passed, I then understood why there was a smell of wood-burning in the air. Those idiots will have scarred the top of the seat for ever, and gone some way to giving responsible motorhomers a bad name.

So this morning was to be our last day. Had the weather held out I would have liked to soldier on for a couple more days to share our experiences of lovely historical oak beamed houses in Suffolk villages which grew rich from the wool trade (there was even to be a haunted hotel) but there would have been no pleasure in doing it instrong winds and pouring rain, which is forecast for the next few days.

Before leaving the campsite I popped 'next door' to where, presumably the owner, stood guarding the entrance to the farm's campsite with hand sanitiser and an AK47. I asked him where the rubbish bins were since we hadn't been given a plan of the campsite when we arrived last night, resulting in me walking round and round in the dark last night trying to find them without success.

My plan for the day, undisclosed to The Chef, was to visit Rendelsham Forest before going on to Flatford Mill, which I had told her about. But when I put the GPS co-ordinates' in to the satnav it informed me that it was about nineteen miles away with a drive time of one hour. Now our 'Snooper' satnav has many faults. Captain James Kirk of the starship 'Enterprise' would never have got past Southend if he'd had one for navigation, but the one thing it's pretty good at is the accuracy of the drive time. I couldn't justify that amount of time sat in the cab squeezing down narrow roads whilst The Chef held her breath. So sadly I gave up on that little excursion, but should you wish to take a look yourself here's the story:

In late December 1980, there was a series of reported sightings of unexplained lights near Rendelsham Forest, Suffolk, which have become linked with claims of UFO landings. The events occurred just outside RAF Wadebridge, which was used at the time by the United States Air Force (USAF). USAF personnel, including deputy base commander Lieutenant Colonel Charles I. Halt, claimed to see things they described as a UFO sighting.

The occurrence is the most famous of claimed UFO events to have happened in the United Kingdom, ranking among the best-known reported UFO events worldwide. It has been compared to the Roswell UFO incident in the United States and is sometimes referred to as "Britain's Roswell".

Rendelsham Forest is owned by the Forestry Commission and consists of about 5.8 square miles (15 km2) of coniferous plantations, interspersed with broadleaved belts, heathland and wetland areas. It is located about 8 miles (13 km) east of the town of Ipswich.

The incident occurred in the vicinity of two former military bases: RAF Bentwaters, which is just to the north of the forest, and RAF Woodbridge which extends into the forest from the west and is bounded by the forest on its northern and eastern edges. At the time, both were being used by the United States Air Force and were under the command of wing commander Colonel Gordon E. Williams. The base commander was Colonel Ted Conrad, and his deputy was Lieutenant Colonel Charles I. Halt.

The main events of the incident, including the supposed landing or landings, took place in the forest, which starts at the east end of the base runway or about 0.3 miles (0.5 km) to the east of the East Gate of RAF Woodbridge, from where security guards first noticed mysterious lights appearing to descend into the forest. The forest extends east about one mile (1.6 km) beyond East Gate, ending at a farmer's field at Capel Green, where additional events allegedly took place.

Orfordness Lighthouse, which sceptics identify as the flashing light seen off to the coast by the airmen, is along the same line of sight about 5 miles (8.0 km) further east of the forest's edge. At that time it was one of the brightest lighthouses in the UK.

26 December

Around 03:00 on 26 December 1980 (reported as 27 December by Halt in his memo to the UK Ministry of Defence) a security patrol near the east gate of RAF Woodbridge saw lights apparently descending into nearby Rendlesham Forest. These lights have been attributed by astronomers to a piece of natural debris seen burning up as a fireball over southern England at that time. Servicemen initially thought it was a downed aircraft but, upon entering the forest to investigate, they saw, according to Halt's memo, what they described as a glowing object, metallic in appearance, with coloured lights. As they attempted to approach the object, it appeared to move through the trees, and "the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy". One of the servicemen, Sergeant Jim Penniston, later claimed to have encountered a "craft of unknown origin" while in the forest, although there was no publicised mention of this at the time and there is no corroboration from other witnesses.

Shortly after 04:00 local police were called to the scene but reported that the only lights they could see were those from the Orford Ness lighthouse, some miles away on the coast.

After daybreak on the morning of 26 December, servicemen returned to a small clearing near the eastern edge of the forest and found three small impressions on the ground in a triangular pattern, as well as burn marks and broken branches on nearby trees. At 10:30 the local police were called out again, this time to see the impressions, which they thought could have been made by an animal.

 28 December

The deputy base commander, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt, visited the site with several servicemen in the early hours of 28 December 1980 (reported as 29 December by Halt). They took radiation readings in the triangle of depressions and in the surrounding area using an AN/PDR-27, a standard U.S. military radiation survey meter. Although they recorded 0.07 milliroentgens per hour, in other regions they detected 0.03 to 0.04 milliroentgens per hour, around the background level. Furthermore, they detected a similar small 'burst' over half a mile away from the landing site.Halt recorded the events on a micro-cassette recorder.

It was during this investigation that a flashing light was seen across the field to the east, almost in line with a farmhouse, as the witnesses had seen on the first night. The Orford Ness lighthouse is visible further to the east in the same line of sight.

Later, according to Halt's memo, three star-like lights were seen in the sky, two to the north and one to the south, about 10 degrees above the horizon. Halt said that the brightest of these hovered for two to three hours and seemed to beam down a stream of light from time to time. Astronomers have explained these star-like lights as bright stars.

In 2005, the Forestry Commission used Lottery proceeds to create a trail in Rendlesham Forest because of public interest and nicknamed it the UFO Trail. In 2014, the Forestry Service commissioned an artist to create a work which has been installed at the end of the trail. The artist states the piece is modelled on sketches that purportedly represent some versions of the UFO claimed to have been seen at Rendlesham.

In December 2018, Davis Clarke, a British UFO researcher, reported a claim that the incident was a set-up by the SAS as a revenge plot on the USAF. According to this story, in August 1980, the SAS parachuted into RAF Woodbridge to test the security at the nuclear site. The USAF had recently upgraded their radar and detected the black parachutes of the SAS men as they descended to the base. The SAS troops were interrogated and beaten up, with the ultimate insult that they were called "unidentified aliens". To enact their revenge, the SAS "gave" the USAF their own version of an alien event;

....as December approached, lights and coloured flares were rigged in the woods. Black helium balloons were also coupled to remote-controlled kites to carry suspended materials into the sky, activated by radio-controls.

Since we have yet to be invaded by little green men I'm inclined to believe Clarke's claim.