THE Hungerford UFO mystery has deepened as a man claiming to be a former Ministry of Defence policeman has broken ranks to declare: “I saw it too.”
The retired officer said an object, identical in appearance to that photographed by Vanessa Cloete over the town’s Charnham Park area last year, terrified him and a colleague as it swooped down on them above the Greenham Common nuclear missile silos.
He said an American officer dressed in black later swore him to secrecy and he has not spoken of the incident publicly until now.
We have agreed to withhold his identity because the man, who signed the Official Secrets Act for life, was warned never to speak of what he and colleagues saw that night during the late 1980s.
But the retired officer said: “It looked exactly the same as the photograph in the paper.
“I want the people in Hungerford and Lambourn who saw it to know they’re not alone and that someone believes them.”
Ms Cloete snapped this image, and many more like it, of an unidentified aerial phenomenon above her home in June last year.
Since then, others have reported seeing a similar object above the town and, subsequently, above Lambourn.
The retired officer, now in his 70s, said: “I was on patrol near the missile silos with a colleague when we tried to fill up with fuel from the pumps.
“They suddenly failed for no apparent reason and then we saw it – just like the photograph, a big, glowing ballbearing with a halo round it.
“It swooped down and my colleague said: ‘What the hell is that?’
“I know what aircraft and balloons look like. It was neither.
“It was just floating above the runway.”
After the object sped off at “an impossible speed” the officer reported it to the control room.
He said: “The control room immediately said: ‘Right – have you seen a UFO?’ before I could even tell them. How the hell did they know?”
He said the following day he was grilled by a senior army official and warned never to speak of the incident.
He added: “As I left the room I heard voices, looked back and saw a high-ranking Royal Air Force officer in conversation with a man with an American accent, wearing a black suit and carrying a black briefcase.
“They looked at me and I knew they were discussing what I’d seen.”
The retired officer said a young colleague on patrol later confessed he had seen it too and had been so terrified he had jumped over a wall and hidden.
He added: “That man told me that, when it left, it was like watching the dot on the television screen disappear – that’s how fast it went.
“It’s been on my mind ever since and the photograph brought it all back.”
Greenham Common was used by both the RAF and the United States Army Air Forces and stored nuclear warheads in silos there.
After the Cold War ended, it was closed in 1993.