NEWSLETTER SIXTEEN SEP 2004
Combining the resources of all
Auspiced by the Australian UFO Research Network
PO Box 738, Jimboomba Queensland 4280
Tel 07 55487205
Secretariat: the Australian UFO Research Association
PO Box 786, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006
THE PROJECT INTERVIEWS HARRY TURNER
Over the months, as we have examined Government documents relating to the UFO phenomenon, a number of questions have passed through our minds. These included:
The impression we have gained from comments on the RAAF’s UFO policy file series 554/1/30 was that, for the most part, examining UFO reports was merely a job that had to be done:
In his earlier research, Bill Chalker interviewed a former Government worker, by the name of Harry Turner, who had a serious interest in the topic. Turner’s name crops up from time to time in documents on Government files in the Archives. Inquiries revealed that Turner was still alive and willing to be interviewed by the Disclosure Project. Therefore, in June of this year, Dominic McNamara and Bill Chalker spoke to Turner about his involvement.
Q. How did Harry become interested in the subject of “flying saucers/UFOs?”
He was undertaking research at
A number of local cases then occurred. The first was in a suburb of
Harry went to the RAAF Intelligence area and asked them what they were doing about these kinds of reports? Interesting, according to Harry, the RAAF told him that the day before they had been communicated with by the Secretary for the Department of Air who had asked them to “start giving answers” about the “flying saucer” reports that were coming in! RAAF intelligence asked Harry if he would like to become an investigator for them given his background. (5, 6) He agreed; the RAAF checked this out with the Department of Air who apparently upgraded his existing security clearance and even offered him expenses. He declined the expenses, believing this would allow him to remain more independent.
He went to work by investigating the sighting at Dandenong. He found that the newspapers had covered only a small part of the story, and there were in fact a series of witnesses and a series of sightings. The brother of one of the girls involved had found that the girl’s watch had stopped at the time of the observation and indeed was magnetised. The watch started running again after it was demagnetised. Harry interviewed the person who had checked the watch; and for the first time had found a piece of physical evidence associated with a flying saucer report.
At about this time, Harry says the Department of Transport measured the magnetic field of a fence the object was reportedly over. They measured the polarity of the fence posts-they are normally magnetised by the passing traffic the posts being of alternate polarity. In the vicinity of the sighting, all fence posts were reported as aligned in one direction-which was abnormal. Here again was another piece of physical evidence.
Harry prepared a report on the Dandenong sightings. He found the family convincing and the sixteen year old female witness to be competent. While Harry did come across other civilian investigators of this case, he knew of no other “official” investigations.
Aside from investigating the local sightings, Harry was given two RAAF files on sightings and allowed to take them to the University to analyse. He studied the files, prepared a report and submitted this to the RAAF (7,8.)
Q. Were files of any other agencies shown to Harry?
Harry’s recollection was that he was not shown any other files than the ones provided by the RAAF.
Q. I understand that shortly after completing your report you travelled to the
Harry did not conduct any research into UFOs while in the
Harry was aware of details of the 1952 mass sightings over
Q. In a letter dated March 1955 Peter Birch of the Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI) advised Harry that copies of his report were to go to
He could not recollect receiving any official feedback on this. He did however later meet the Secretary of Air who recalled Harry’s report. Harry was impressed that the Secretary for the Department of Air would recognise him.
Q. We understand that from 1956 to 1964 Harry was stationed at Maralinga in
Harry confirmed that he had indeed been stationed at Maralinga. The position he held was in charge of the Health Physics area with a role to ensure safety of staff, indigenous population and station owners. He did not conduct any UFO research while there. However, at one stage the range commander was a Dick Durant (phonetic spelling.) Harry learnt first hand from Durant that Durant had been an Army Attaché in
Q. In April 1957 the Director of DAFI wrote to the Director of the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB). DAFI asked if JIB would take over their role of collecting and investigating UFO reports. (10) We asked Harry if he had any personal knowledge of this?
Harry advised us that as he had not joined the JIB until 1964, he had no personal knowledge of this request or the response.
Q. We understand that in 1968 you were in the Directorate of Scientific and Technical Intelligence (DSTI) of the JIB. Also that you were the JIB liaison with DAFI concerning UFOs. Is this correct?
Harry confirmed that he was in the DSTI of the JIB in 1968. He was the (unofficial) liaison point between JIB and DAFI on the subject of UFOs.
Q. Was JIB officially involved in any kind of research on the topic of UFOs? If so, what?
JIB was “pretty cold” to the whole idea of UFOs and felt that they didn’t want to get involved in something so insubstantial. Harry didn’t have opposition to his involvement in the subject, but he didn’t have official support either. He was not aware of any other official Government investigation of UFOs, other than DAFI. Directors of DAFI came and went, and at least one Director considered that the subject was a nuisance, taking up time better spent on other matters and something DAFI would like to get rid of. It seemed to Harry that DAFI didn’t want to loose the role, but they didn’t want to do anything about it either. Down at the lower levels; of Squadron Leader and Wing Commander, Harry felt that these officers couldn’t afford to become too enthusiastic about incoming reports. He felt that when they received a report they looked for a simple explanation-they didn’t want to go out and investigate a case-but also didn’t want anyone else to do the work for them.
Q. We understand that in 1969 there was a proposal for a rapid investigation team within the DSTI.
We understand that four other people had a part in this proposed Team. We believe they were:
Can you tell us about this please?
Harry told us he was the instigator of the idea. A request was made to the Secretary of Defence, who referred it on to DAFI. DAFI reacted badly against it and it was rejected.
Symonds was an old friend of Harry’s from the early days, who was interested but not directly involved. He was on the fringe of interest in the subject.
Mike Duggin was the other main player with Harry. Together they had investigated a reported UFO landing on a
George Barlow was the number two man in Defence Science. He had an intellectual interest in the subject of UFOs and had read on the subject. He thought there was something to it which needed to be investigated.
DAFI rejected the idea, so it was dropped by DSTI.
Q. Did you see any serious level of interest inside the Australian Government about UFOs?
No. When Prof Allen Hynek came out from the
Q. Did you ever come across JIB UFO files?
Harry was in JIB between 1964 and 1982 and did not see any such files.
Q. We understand that in 1969 you participated in the investigation of a radar UFO case in Kalamunda. Can you tell us about this please?
This was a key issue in Harry being “expunged” from his liaison link with DAFI. The UFO investigator at Pearce RAAF base in
Harry’s report recommended that more be done to investigate UFO cases, which DAFI did not like.
Q. Could you please describe the UFO incident or incidents which most interested you?
One of the cases which impressed Harry was the Cressy,
A radar/visual case at Woomera most impressed him, (see full details in Disclosure Australia Project Newsletter three) although he added that he did not conduct a personal investigation on this one, but drew his information from RAAF files. This was the case where the velocity of the object had exceeded any aircraft of the day. He recalled it involved a
Q. Did you ever come across a USAF “Report 14?”
Yes. Report 14 was published in two versions. Version one was a military version and was complete. Version two was a public version with some sections deleted. Harry had access to the military version (14). Harry said he was impressed with an analysis of the experience of the observer versus the quality of the data they provided, The report said that the more experience you had as an observer the less an investigator could find a loop hole and a conventional explanation. He felt this went contrary to the official view that the “unexplained” cases in files were due to the low quality of the observers. If the observers provided more data, then investigators would be more likely to find a mundane explanation. Report 14 showed the opposite. Harry said he wrote a JIB report on “Report 14” pointing out that this line of argument was faulty.
Q. In JIB did you ever review documents on UFOs from other world governments?
Through DSTI’s connection with the
(1) National Archives of
(2) National Archives of
(3) National Archives of
(4). National Archives of
(5) National Archives of
(6) National Archives of
(7) National Archives of
(8) National Archives of
(9) National Archives of
(10) National Archives of
(11) The RAAF investigated a report of a trace on a golf course in 1969 details are as follows:
Jun 1969 St Michaels Golf Club La Perouse NSW Trace
Unusual ground marks discovered 0800hrs. Not there night before. When discovered grass of course had heavy dew but no evidence of footprints or tyre tracks. Assistant green keeper noted an “oily residue” which had gone by the time RAAF investigators visited on
pp42-44 of 580/1/1 part 12.
(12) The AURA summary of file 554/1/30 Part 3 indicates that pages 49-50 are two copies of the same typed file note of record of discussions on 24 Aug 1973 between Prof A Hynek; Dr M Duggin and Mr O Turner.
(13) National Archives of
23 May 69 Kalamunda WA RV
At 1101,1108,1115,1118,1136 & 1142z, ATC radar-strong stationary paint 300 deg 9NM from Kalamunda. Seen at same time as object like a “big street slight” reported over Cloverdale by a Mrs Cosgrove. Radar returns were strong-stationary. Met. Radar at
Mrs Cosgrove 1835hrs (1035z) of
pp238-241 of 580/1/1 part 11.
RAAF file series 580/1/1
As requested by us, the NAA have just made digital copies available of parts 13,16,17,18 19 & 20 of this series, on its web site. We have commenced work on summarising and cataloguing these parts and will report on them in due course.
Most of our requests to have previously “Not yet examined” files in the NAA examined, have been speedily meet. However, others do take time.
Two files we have asked to be examined are:
These have so far taken 4-5 months of processing and are still not available.
Normal NAA status classifications for files are “Open”; “Open with exception”; “closed”, or “Not yet examined.” The status of the above two files is “With held pending agency advice.” Both appear from the file numbers to be RAAF Darwin files. We await them becoming “open” with interest, as the only
Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOT) UFO related files
One of the players in the early days of the UFO phenomenon in
So far, in the NAA we have come across only two DCA files on RecordSearch. These are:
We have therefore recently taken two actions relative to potential DOT UFO files:
We will keep you posted on the outcome.
RAAF FOI number 2 request
Following our inspection of RAAF UFO files at RAAF Base Edinburgh, our subsequent request for photocopies of a small number of papers on these files, has been granted. We await their arrival.
Feedback and research
The documents we have examined and published details of so far, have started to stimulate others to comment or conduct their own further research. For example, one Australian researcher is now examining the 1938 Darwin “unidentified aircraft” saga; a recent enquiry from England asked us for the current Australian Government policy on UFOs; and two more witnesses to the 1966 CE2 Westall event have contacted us with their own accounts. This is a very encouraging development.
The recent ABC TV documentary on the “British X-files” was based, in part, on research into the official archives in the
We would however, be the first to admit that examining documents is but one step along the trail. As pointed out by members of UFOR(QLD) an essential part of the work is to fully analyse the material uncovered. We would therefore urge all who read this Newsletter to play their part in the analysis process by engaging in discussion on the contents of the Government’s UFO archive material and conducting and publishing their own research findings.