Bentwaters-Lakenheath Incident Tests Cold War Allies Over 1950s Suffolk


The Bentwaters-Lakenheath Incident saw a UFO appear to US and Royal Airforce personnel over England in 1956, RICK HALE reports…

The decade following the horrors of World War II were a tense time for the nation of Great Britain.

After defeating Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime, the United Kingdom concerned itself with rebuilding its infrastructure as well as its military strength.

While keeping a watchful eye on a new threat that loomed far to the east, a former ally, the Soviet Union.

As the cold war between the western allies and the Communist bloc nations heated up, the United Kingdom and the United States solidified its friendship.

Bentwaters-Lakenheath Incident

And that friendship resulted in the air forces of the respective nations working together in keeping a vigilant eye on the skies over Europe.

They feared that one day, the Soviets would mount a sneak attack to try and take the west.

And it was a quiet night in 1956, where the allies thought the worst case scenario was taking place.

But what they got was something truly otherworldly.

Perseids and Radar Returns

The night of 13 August 1956 was like any other night over Great Britain.

The night was clear of any clouds and the yearly Perseid meteor shower treated the country to a dazzling display of shooting stars lighting up the night.

Even the United States Air Force tenanted RAF Bentwaters in the Suffolk countryside was relaxed.

Nothing had appeared on their radars leading the operators into a false sense of security. Something they would soon wake up from.

At approximately 21.30 hours, radar operators at the base picked up a fast moving object similar to an aircraft return coming in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Typically such a thing might not be cause for alarm except for one major detail, whatever this object was, it was flying at a speed unheard of for any known aircraft.

The craft was flying in excess of a 1000 miles per hour. Even a missile doesn’t fly that fast.

The concern became greater when suddenly appearing from the east were several smaller craft that moved off to the north and vanished.

Fearing the Soviets were making their move on western Europe, it was time to scramble the pilots and get planes in the air.

What The American Pilots Experienced

Moments after the second set of radar returns, Lieutenants Metz and Rowe of the 512th Fighter Interceptor Squadron were in the air to investigate the objects that infiltrated their air space.

Once in the air, all they could see was a single amber coloured ball of light they determined to be Mars.

The veteran pilots were about to return to base when they were notified of another object on quick approach at an estimated speed of 2,000-4,000 mph.

The craft traveling at the unimaginable speed suddenly vanished and reappeared further to the west.

Ground personnel reported several brightly lit objects moving across the sky making course corrections that would be impossible for any known aircraft to make.

The ground personnel, the pilots and radar operators watched in stunned awe as the craft dwindled into small pinpricks of light and vanished.

What The Royal Air Force Experienced

Around the same time the USAF radar received the anomalous hits, nearby Lakenheath got the same radar returns and quickly scrambled their pilots to investigate.

Two De Havilland Venom Interceptors were sent up to investigate what their American counterparts had encountered.

According to Technical Sergeant Forrest Perkins, who served as watch supervisor reported that one of the interceptors made contact with one of the unknown craft.

Perkins watched as the unknown craft vanished and reappeared behind the fighter plane and proceeded to chase the fighter for 10 minutes.

The pilot reported that he was scared as he couldn’t shake the unknown craft and his fighter appeared to be experiencing engine problems.

The pilots were ordered back to base. With the planes safely on the ground the base watched as the unknown craft disappeared off to the north.

Condon Committee Investigates Bentwaters-Lakenheath incident

The Condon Committee and Project Blue Book became involved in the investigation after receiving a letter from Forrest Perkins.

The letter carefully detailed the strange events that put both the USAF and the RAF on high alert that night in 1956.

Anyone familiar with the Condon Committee and Project Blue Book knows they were not fond of calling UFOs “extraterrestrial.”

However, they concluded the Bentwaters-Lakenheath Incident was an unusual case.

Whatever these lights were appeared to suggest  they were mechanical craft of an unknown origin.

And, they were guided by an intelligence still unknown to mankind. A conclusion I wholeheartedly agree with.

The western allies were so worried that their defenses would be tested by an earthly foe, never expected it would be an unearthly one that would break through.


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