John Warren’s 1943 Close Encounter in Norfolk

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RAF serviceman John Warren encountered a green-glowing figure and a strange object in Norfolk in May 1943. The still-unexplained event highlights pre-1947 UFO sightings in the UK, says guest writer PHILIP MANTLE

John Warren's UFO Experience in 1943 Norfolk. Artwork by Jason Gleaves.
John Warren’s UFO Experience in 1943 Norfolk. Artwork by Jason Gleaves.

The term ‘flying saucer’ came into popular culture in 1947 when Kenneth Arnold witnessed a formation of objects over the Cascade Mountains in the USA. As a result, the modern era of UFO sightings began with Kenneth Arnold.

Most, if not all UFO researchers know that there were sightings before 1947 and Kenneth Arnold and here is one from 1943 during WW2.

It is not a simply UFO sighting but is what we would term a close encounter and one with quite a large degree of high strangeness.

Mr Warren was serving in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during WWII. He was stationed at a small airbase near the village of Ludham, which was just a few miles away from Norwich in Norfolk. Mr Warren was responsible for arming the two squadrons of aircraft stationed at the base and also the anti-aircraft guns.

Photograph of Mr John Warren, taken in 1987 by Philip Mantle.
Photograph of Mr John Warren, taken in 1987 by Philip Mantle.

One night in May 1943, Mr Warren was returning back to base rather late after attending a dance at a local village some 12 miles away from the base. He had missed the last train so he had no option but to walk the 12 miles back to base. Once he had left the village there was nothing but open fields in front of him.

What did John Warren see?

After walking for several miles, and just on the outskirts of the village of Ludham, Mr Warren observed a ‘green glow’ in the road up ahead of him.

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On getting nearer to this strange glow he noticed that it was coming from a ‘man’ standing at the side of the road. This man had a peculiar sort of ‘diver’s helmet’ on his head and an oblong-shaped thing on his chest.

The green glow was coming from this thing on his chest and fanned upwards into the man’s face. The man had a peculiar ‘grin’ on his face and this expression never changed. The man never moved nor acknowledged the presence of Mr Warren. Behind the man was a hedge or fence which bordered the field. In this field stood an object which was the shape of a ‘bell tent’. Beside this stood two more figures who seemed to be wearing some kind of white ‘boiler suit’ and were moving around to the left hand side of this object.

Drawing of the encounter by Mr Warren, produced in 1987
Drawing of the encounter by Mr Warren, produced in 1987

Mr Warren was very frightened by this sight and walked past the strange man at the side of the road and never looked back. At no time did this man at the side of the road move or talk or anything, he simply stood there with a grin on his face and this green glow from his chest shining up into his face.

Mr Warren made his way back to base and went to bed still puzzled and frightened by what he had seen. His initial reaction, being war time, was that the German were invading, but if that was the case surely they would have killed him. Not long after he got into bed a friend climbed in through the window (Mr Warren had locked the door) and he too was in a frightened state and suggested that he had come across the same thing although he would not go into any great detail.

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Mr Warren was so frightened by the event that he stayed well clear of the area in question for over two weeks. On visiting the area, he could find nothing that could account for what he had seen.

Philip Mantle interviews Mr Warren in 1987

I personally interviewed Mr Warren in August 1987 at his home in West Yorkshire. He still remembered the event with great clarity and told me that he was still very puzzled by the whole event. He was de-mobbed in 1947 and he had reached the rank of Leading Aircraftman.

I have a full typed written transcript of my interview with Mr Warren on file. Mr Warren contacted me after seeing me in a local newspaper in the area. I found him to be a sober, sensible and reliable witness.

He had previously reported his encounter in 1966 and he was contacted in 1973 by the British UFO Research Association (Yorkshire Branch) and a copy of their letter is reproduced here.

Letter from the British UFO Research Association to John Warren
Letter from the British UFO Research Association to Mr John Warren

I speculated with Mr Warren if he could have misidentified some kind of military test or manoeuvre of some sort but he was sure this was not the case. He had seen many things during his service with the RAF during WW2 but nothing like this event in May 1943.

When I interviewed John Warren at his home in West Yorkshire, he was then retired and his memory was as sharp as a pin. There was no hesitation in his recall and retelling of this incident and you could still see the bewilderment in his eyes when he was describing it to me.

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So far as I’m concerned this is another classic case that up until now has never seen the light of day. How many more such incidents lie undiscovered? Thousands I reckon. But at least Mr Warren’s encounter is now available for your dissemination.

About Philip Mantle

The new book, UFO Landings UK, by Philip Mantle, is out now on Amazon.
The new book, UFO Landings UK, by Philip Mantle, is out now on Amazon.

PHILIP MANTLE is a long standing UFO researcher and author from the UK. He was formerly the Director of Investigations for the British UFO Research Association and the MUFON Representative for England. He is the founder of Flying Disk Press and can be contacted at www.flyingdiskpress.com or email: philip.mantle@gmail.com

The new book, UFO Landings UK, by Philip Mantle, is out now on Amazon.

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