Britain released hundreds of previously secret “UFO files” including a letter revealing that Winston Churchill, the late British PM, had ordered a 50 year cover-up of a wartime encounter between a UFO and military pilot.
The files were published by the National Archives and include scores of sketches, witness accounts and classified briefing notes documenting mysterious sightings across Britain.
The MoD subsequently investigated the case but found no written record of the incident, the files say.
“… the MoD does not have any expertise or role in respect of ‘UFO/flying saucer‘ matters or to the question of the existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial lifeforms, about which it remains totally open-minded,” it said in a 1999 note.
Britain has been slowly releasing long-classified files related to sightings of mysterious craft in the skies above its cities, compiled and investigated by the MoD over past decades.
Some cases subsequently received rational explanations, such as meteors burning up in the atmosphere, but many are unsolved.
One memo, dated 1997, contains reports of “sonic booms” and a mysterious plane crash in northern England. No wreckage was found in an ensuing search by the police and rescue teams.
Another incident refers to sightings of a “black triangular UFO” over the home of the shadow home secretary in Kent in the late 1990s. An investigation showed no breach of security.
It was also disclosed by the X-Files that the last of such scrambles was in September 1991, at the time of collapse of the Soviet Union.