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Government not doing enough to investigate sightings, says Cumbrian UFO expert

Is there anyone – or anything out there? Are we journeying on a speck of dust spinning through time and space all alone? Does anyone care?

Solway Spaceman photo
Solway Spaceman

Absolutely they do, judging by the number of reports of UFO sightings and claims of visitors from outer space made to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in recent years.

Three recent sightings in Cumbria were reported to the authorities, according to newly-released Government documents.

The National Archives has just released another 34 ‘UFO files’ covering the period 1985 to 2007.

The files from the MoD contain top secret memos in which UFOs are discussed, as well as as sightings and incidents reported by members of the public, parliamentary questions, briefings and photos. In all, almost 9,000 pages of new material are now open to the public.

But according to one Cumbrian UFO expert, the new files don’t provide any new information and he says the Government should be doing much more to examine and investigate the evidence provided by the public.

Chris Parr, from Whitehaven, has been a ‘Ufologist’ for many years, and is the former co-ordinator of British UFO Hunters.

“I’m not impressed by the latest releases,” he said. “I know many Ufologists who have forwarded cases, sometimes with videos, sometimes with photographic evidence and they have not got a proper reply. The Government is not doing enough to investigate these sightings. There is enough history in the UFO subject to be worth scientific research.”

Mr Parr said that UFO sightings had dwindled in recent years after peaking in 1995 thanks to the popularity of The X-Files TV series.

“There was a global fascination for the subject and many UFO groups originated around that time. It all started to dwindle in 2001 which coincided with the end of the series.”

Mr Parr says he has witnessed “a handful of mysterious sightings”.

But he adds: “Nothing conclusive for me to believe in an alien visitation. My main sighting was in 1984 in Whitehaven. It was a stationary object which accelerated, I would estimate at between five and 10,000 miles per hour and shot across the Irish Sea.”

Sadly, the Cumbrian reports as stated on the files are somewhat vague. On August 6, 2005, a report was made of the strange phenomena of “about forty orange and red lights in the sky”.

A precise time is given – at 10.15pm – but it is not said where in the county these were seen.

And there is more vagueness surrounding another incident.

The claim states simply that “A UFO was witnessed” and was “Seen sometime in 2005” in Kendal.

There was more detail concerning something spotted at 10.45pm on May 10, 2004 at Storth, near Milnthorpe.

A report was logged of something that “looked like a bright star and was moving around like a kite”.

But while the public remains fascinated by the idea of aliens and keen to report strange phenomenon in the sky, the MoD certainly is not, judging by these latest file releases.

The papers show a lack of interest and resources to study the reported sightings in Cumbria – or thousands of others registered from across the UK.

The details of the Cumbrian sightings are revealed along with an explanation on how the MoD views such reports. It states: “The MoD examines any report of ‘unidentified flying objects’ it receives solely to establish whether what was seen might have some defence significance; namely whether there is any evidence that the United Kingdom’s airspace might have been compromised by hostile or unauthorised air activity.

“Unless there is evidence of a potential threat to the UK from an external source, and to date, no ‘UFO’ report has revealed such evidence, we do not attempt to identify the precise nature of each sighting reported to us.

“We believe that rational explanations, such as aircraft lights, or natural phenomena could be found for them if resources were diverted for this purpose, but it is not the function of the MoD to provide this kind of aerial identification service.”

Elsewhere, a military officer predicts embarrassment if the public discovered a “lack of funds and higher priorities” were stopping UFO investigations.

National Archives consultant Dr David Clarke said it was about time the data was released.

“One of the most interesting documents in the files is a piece from an intelligence officer who basically says that despite thousands of reports that they’ve received since the war, they’ve never done any study or spent any money or time on the subject, and they say that people just won’t believe that when they find out.”

The internal memo from a defence intelligence wing commander dated 5 July 1995 says the media’s portrayal of DI55 [a secret unit dedicated to UFO investigations within the Defence Intelligence Staff] as a “defender of the Earth against the alien menace” is “light years from the truth”.

The file shows the officer feared that if intelligence’s interest in UFOs was to be revealed it could cause “disbelief and embarrassment since few people will believe the truth that lack of funds and higher priorities have prevented any study of the thousands of reports received.”

A Freedom of Information request from Mr Parr was also made as to whether the infamous photograph by Jim Templeton in 1964 featuring a spaceman was of interest to the authorities.

Carlisle fireman Jim Templeton took three photographs of his five-year-old daughter Elizabeth on a day trip to Burgh Marsh.

When the photos came back, one of them showed what appears to be a space-suited figure in the background. The so-called Cumberland Spaceman has been a source of international fascination ever since.

An MoD official responded that the Templeton photo was of no interest to the MoD and added: “With regard to a photograph taken of a space-suited figure by Mr James Templeton of Carlisle in 1964, if such information has survived, it will now be open for viewing at The National Archives.”

MOD files were routinely destroyed after five years until 1967 when they were generally preserved for the National Archives. A few have survived before 1967 and these together with records up to 1977 are now available for public viewing.

The National Archives can be contacted at Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU or telephone, 020 8876 3444.

The National Archives also have a website giving information about the records they hold and how to access them at The Ministry of Defence

Freedom of Information website also contains some released information on UFOs. This can be accessed via the internet at:

The latest 34 UFO files can be downloaded free of charge for a month from the National Archives website.

Have your say

Say spaceman see spaceman. See the white sea bird fly from the ground inches from the girls head. Wings are down, breast feathers fluffed up. A beak not a face plate, picture is blurred, us photo shop to sharpen, it is clearly a beak. What a shame a picture like this could spark such interest.

Posted by Roger Kvande on 12 September 2013 at 16:56

I have read and watched some very interesting items concerning the UFO/Alien theories. Looking into the heavens at night it seems inevitable that we cannot be alone but whether we ever meet beings from another world is open to speculation. In my humble opinion, more advanced civilisations from across the universe would do well to give us a wide berth until such time that human beings are able to live in peace and harmony with each other....mankind could just not cope with alien visitors at this time or indeed the foreseeable future.

Posted by Shock And Awe on 20 August 2011 at 13:33

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