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The British Ministry of Defence has released the seventh instalment of their public dump of UFO files, which can be freely downloaded from the UFO page at the National Archives. Along with the files you’ll find a handy guide to the newly released files written by skeptical ufologist Dr David Clarke, as well as a short podcast.

Perhaps the most newsworthy item in the new tranche of documents is that a number of documents relating to the 1980 Rendlesham UFO sighting were destroyed, and the MoD were worried this might be interpreted as a “deliberate attempt” to “eradicate the records covering the incident”:

In searching for the DI 55 files from 1980/81 which related to the Rendlesham Forest incident which took place in December 1980…I observed the following.

…[T]he records…should have covered 1978 – 1983. On inspection…we discovered that the enclosures at the beginning of the file were dated from 1978, but then a huge gap appeared which covered the date of the incident. It appeared that the file had had the earlier papers from 1978 inserted afterwards. In the DI 55 Registry, there were no file record sheets for files 26 – 31 even though there were record sheets for files before and after that series. There were no record sheets showing destroyed files either.

…If this were to be made public, it could be interpreted to mean that a deliberate attempt had been made to eradicate the records covering the incident. All the DAS files covering the period of the incident have also been destroyed.

Another interesting section is some 2003 correspondence from a RAF pilot describing his 1990 sighting (not long after the Belgian ‘Black Triangle’ flap) of a fast-moving, unidentifiable craft in Dutch airspace over the North Sea:

I did not lock the UFO on radar. My navigator and I were so surprised that we did not think to do so. Indeed, for the majority of the sighting, the UFO was out to one side of my aircraft which would have required me to maneuver the aircraft to place within the radar field of view. Of more interest, despite repeated radio calls to Dutch Military Radar, the controller insisted that he could not see the UFO.

The UFO did not look like any aircraft that I know to be in service with any air force either today or at the time of the sighting… I would describe the UFO as being C-130 aircraft in size (certainly in length but much shorter wingspan).

The UFO was close to the same altitude, perhaps a little higher, and I could see detail in the area of the engine exhaust which contained a light blue afterburner type flame which was steady but changing in intensity.

Another…quite separate pair of aircraft were outbound from Laarbruch heading for the UK when they also saw the UFO at about the same time… [T]he UFO came down our right-hand side at great speed (ie. coming from the direction of the UK). We were doing 0.8 Mach and it readily overtook us.

Once again, in this case you’ll find an MoD note pointing out that the “departmental records for this period were destroyed some time ago in accordance with standard administrative procedures.”

David Clarke has his own summary of the file highlights on his personal website, and you’ll no doubt see stories popping up in various news outlets over coming days such as this one on the BBC site.

Lots more in there than can be described here, and even in a highlights guide, so dig in for some a behind-the-scenes look at the British MoD’s treatment of UFO reports and research. Also, for summaries of previous document releases, see the links below.

Previously on TDG: