UK UFO Cases : 1997 South Armagh

1990s UFO

In July of 1997 the People newspaper alleged that a team of 8 British soldiers had been lying in ambush in South Armagh hoping to catch IRA gunmen and came across 4 small grey beings who stopped and stared at each other for a brief moment. Then the entities vanished and minutes later a flash was seen in the sky. The soldiers were so unnerved they broke from their mission only to be derided by their superiors. The incident actually occurred in 1993 but it seems no further information of the account has ever been released.

The full report said

SAS In Alien Riddle Troops saw "four little grey men" walk into ambush - then vanish


SAS soldiers waiting to ambush IRA gunmen were stunned when aliens
walked in front of their gun-sights, it was claimed yesterday.

The undercover troops - hiding near an arms cache on a hillside in
South Armagh - say they saw up to four small grey figures.

The "aliens" and soldiers stared at each other for a minute. Then the
"spacemen" disappeared - and seconds later the eight SAS troops saw a
flash in the sky.

They were so disturbed by what they had seen that they took the rare
decision to abandon the stake-out.

Their commander was furious - and their comrades in the elite Special
Air Service Regiment laughed or accused them of being high on drugs.

But the eight stuck to their story and it was accepted. Now, four years
later, it has been revealed to a Ulster UFO study group by a former
Army intelligence officer.

Belfast-based expert Hugh O'Brien said: "We are trying to interview the
soldiers even though some may be too embarrassed to come forward.

"We have learned that on that morning they were convinced they saw
three, perhaps four, small grey figures in human form.

"At no stage did the soldiers feel threatened. They simply could not
believe what they were seeing.

"The alien forms made no move towards them but judging from what the
soldiers told their regimental priest and commanding officer, the
aliens knew the soldiers were there. It was like a stand-off. Within a
few minutes, probably much less, the aliens disappeared.

"All the men can recall is that in a very quick space of time they saw
a brief flash of light in the sky."

Mr O'Brien added: "These men were fit, highly-trained observers and to
put it down to some flight of imagination would be absurd."

The weapons cache was recovered by other soldiers

Source : The People (UK newspaper), July 13, 1997 page 29 By Joe Brady

There is no clue as to who the Intelligence Officer within the British Army who leaked the story was. The date of the encounter and the unit involved are unknown. Nor does it seem has any further information come to light since the late 1990s.

To put things in historical context, South Armagh was an area of Northern Ireland seen as hostile territory by the British Security forces and dubbed as “bandit country”. A republican stronghold where hundreds of lives were lost as a result of the troubles in the province. In 1993 there were a number of IRA bombings notably in Warrington and the City of London on the UK mainland and the Shankhill Road bombing in Belfast. So it is without doubt that British forces would be operational in the area and that many of these operations will remain secret for a long time.

With such sparse information it’s difficult to decide whether the story has any validity.

There are a number of possibilities.

  • The story is totally bogus and/or was there to fill white space in the silly season (it was printed around the same time as the 50th anniversary of the Roswell event).
  • The story is disinformation to fool the public. The British Army and MoD managed to cover up an embarrassing incident involving a number of SAS troops with a prepared cover story.
  • A bizarre encounter really did occur with unidentified beings and a tight clampdown was put in place to conceal the truth.

If the SAS troops really did encounter alien beings in hostile territory then it throws up a number of odd questions as to why they were there. Were they searching for something or had they landed in the wrong place?

If the whole episode was a cover story for something else then why was this leaked 4 years after the event?

Face to face close encounters with alien beings involving our military are almost unheard of in the UK which makes this story almost unique. An unconfirmed source stationed in Northern Ireland in the summer of 1993 has confirmed that UFOs were being sighted by the regular British troops at the time on night patrols. But unless other information comes forward on the case though it remains just another bizarre alien encounter to which we have no real answers.

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