By Nick Pope

Ever since Georgina Bruni first broke the story concerning the release of MoD documents on the Rendlesham Forest incident, I’ve found myself on the receiving end of numerous questions concerning the papers: Did they prove that in my previous statements on the case I’d withheld information from UFOlogists? Was I implicated in a cover-up? Had I seen all of the papers? Had I been involved in the decision to release them? Skeptics and believers alike trawled through my previous comments on the case, and I found myself quoted, misquoted and selectively quoted. Everyone, so it seemed, had an opinion or an agenda. But what was the truth? In this article I’ll address all these issues and offer a personal view on what is already proving to be the biggest and most significant urological story in many years.

I should first pay tribute to Lord Hill-Norton and Georgina Bruni, whose tireless efforts over the last few years have culminated in the release of these documents. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, anyone with a genuine interest in UFOlogy should applaud the hard work that these two dedicated individuals have done, in their quest for the truth.

I will not go into a detailed summary or analysis of the documents themselves, because this has already been done by Georgina Bruni in her comprehensive article in the September edition of UFO Magazine, and in the various newspaper, television and radio interviews that she carried out after having broken the story. Instead, I’ll confine myself to observations based on my personal involvement with this case.

Are The Documents Genuine?

The first point I should make is that the documents are genuine. Readers may think this goes without saying, but I disagree. UFOlogists are well-used to debates about whether documents are genuine or bogus, the MJ-12 papers being a case in point. I can confirm that there are no question marks over the provenance of the Rendlesham documents. I say this for two reasons: firstly, I’ve seen the covering letter from the MOD under which these documents were released to Georgina, and know that it’s genuine. Secondly, and on a far more personal level, I recognise most of the papers from my time in Sec(AS). Indeed, I wrote some of them! (But more on that subject later.)

How Many Files?

Another point worth making is that the papers do not come exclusively from one file. Some people are already talking about “The Rendlesham File”, but this is misleading. In fact, the papers come from two main files, D/DS8/10/209 and D/Sec(AS)/12/2/1. The first of these was a general file on which miscellaneous UFO briefs, reports and correspondence were placed. There were seven “parts” to this file (i.e. different folders bearing the same reference, designated parts A to G). Generally speaking, a part should be closed when it contains one hundred enclosures or when it becomes over an inch thick, although this doesn’t always happen. Initially, papers on the Rendlesham Forest incident were placed on this general file, which explains why “E109” is written on the top right hand corner of Charles Halt’s memorandum, as opposed to E1 as one might expect.

It was only in 1982 that a discrete file on the Rendlesham Forest incident was opened, but as late as 1983, papers were still being incorrectly placed on the general file. To further complicate matters, DS8 ceased to exist in 1985 and was replaced by Sec(AS), following a major reorganisation of the MOD. The files were re-titled accordingly. Therefore although the MOD’s discrete Rendlesham file (D/Sec(AS)12/12/1) bears the date of October 1982 in the top left hand corner, as the date it was opened, Sec(AS) did not exist in 1982!