UK UFO Cases : The Little Rissington Incident

Little Rissington UFO

The Topcliffe UFO received a lot of media attention. However, the Little Rissington incident did not become public knowledge until 2002 when the pilots were interviewed on BBC radio*.

The story has since appeared on TV documentaries in the UK. The sighting involved then Flight Lieutenant Michael Swiney and a Royal Navy Lieutenant David Crofts on a training flight from Little Rissington, Gloucestershire on 21st Oct 1952.

Swiney was piloting a Meteor training aircraft. It rose through a layer of cloud just below 15,000 feet and right in front of the jet were three nearly white, circular objects.

It was something supernatural. I immediately thought of course, of saucers, because that’s actually what they looked like. They were not leaving a condensation trail as I knew we were.”*

Independent radar plots backed up the visual report from Swiney and 2 interceptors were scrambled. However they spotted nothing unusual and returned to base.

After the incident, Swiney and Crofts were separated until interviewed by intelligence officers. Once the officers had left base, the incident was officially ‘closed.’ Neither witness was warned not to discuss their sighting. However, a few months later in 1953 the Air Ministry issued new instructions to all RAF aircrew that reports of ‘aerial phenomena’ were classified and restricted.

“Personnel are warned that they are not to communicate to anyone other than official persons any information about phenomena they have observed, unless officially authorised to do so.”

HQ No 11 Group letter ref 11G/0.2802/8/Int. 16 December 1953. *



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