Unidentified aircraft over Papua & New Guinea and the Drury film
Readers will recall the famous incidents at Boiana Papua on the 26 and 27 Jun 1959 involving the Reverend Gill's observations of UFOs and humanoids. Recently a file was uncovered at the NAA titled "Unidentified aircraft Papua & New Guinea 1958-1959." File series MT 1131/1 control symbol A31/1/133. It was a five folio Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) file. Unfortunately' although of the same time frame as Boianai it did not contain any documents relevant to the Gill incidents' but did however have one UFO related item.
Folio 3' dated 17 Jun 1959 was from the Department of Territories' Canberra to the Department of Defence (DOD) regarding a "falling object."
"Apparently unidentified object sighted from Baniara 1900 Sunday 24th May in westerly direction appeared high in the sky but commenced to descend erratically in SW direction. Colour was of brilliant blue alternating at long intervals to a reddish glow and ending with a green flash. Object disappeared at 2015hrs."
Folio 4 is a 29 Jun 1959 memo from the DOD to the Department of Air (DOA) and DCA referring on the report of folio 3.
A second file' labelled "Secret" and titled "New Guinea F.I.R.-Operation of Unidentified and foreign aircraft" file series MP1279/1' control symbol 99/1/478' is also a DCA Head Office' Melbourne file. This file has a date range of 1948-1965 and deals with reports of unidentified and foreign aircraft. It also featured a number of folios relating to the 1953 Drury sighting and film.
Firstly' folio 66a was a 31 Aug 1953 memo from the Regional Director' DCA Port Moresby to the Director-General' of Civil Aviation Melbourne. It was headed "Secret" and titled "Unidentified aircraft sighting 1200hours 24 August 1953." It was a report of the Drury sighting in Drury's own words. The 24 August date is incorrect' as immediately below in Drury's own words the date is given as 23 August 1953. This confusion of 23 or 24 occurs through the rest of the file on folios referring to this case. The memo states "We do not know of any aircraft of the operational performance implied by this observation operating in this area" Copies of the memo were sent to 1) the resident RAAF Officer' Port Moresby; 2) HQ RAAF Townsville; 3) the Government Secretary' Port Moresby.
On 5 Sep 1953 another secret memo went from the DCA Port Moresby to the Director-General DCA' Melbourne transferring the film "herewith undeveloped film."
On the 22 Sep 1953 there was yet another secret memo' from DCA Melbourne to the DOA with a covering memo titled ""Flying saucer" – New Guinea." In part it read: "herewith is a photographic film"
On 12 Jul 1954 a memo (reference 114/1/197(52a) ) recorded that the DOA referred the film back to the DCA Melbourne. "We have subjected the film to detailed study and processing' but have been unable to establish anything more than the fact that a blur of light appears to move across the film." Memos then show the film being returned to DCA Port Moresby for return to Drury.
All was quiet on the file until 1958 when an American citizen Max B Miller wrote to DCA asking to have a copy of the film or borrow the original to copy. The expressed intent was to photogrammetric ally analyse the film. The response letter' signed by one
T P Drury' (who identified himself as the photographer of the film) of DCA Melbourne' dated 19 Feb 1958' included: " Immediately after taking this film it was handed over to the Commonwealth Security Branch for processing and investigation' and it has not been sighted by me since."
This 1958 statement by Drury himself that he had not seen the film since 1954 is at odds with the earlier Jul 1954 memo stating that the film was returned to Port Moresby for Drury.
NAA Darwin files
After waiting over one year for the NAA Darwin office to release two RAAF files' they have finally arrived:
E1327/25' control symbol 5/3/air part 1 is titled "Maritime and air incidents/contacts" with a date range of 1966-1992' and contains 21 folios released to us between 1966 and 1973. These papers all related to suspected sightings of submarines and aircraft.
E1327/25' control symbol 5/4/air part 1 with a date range of 1960-1968 titled "Unusual sightings-incidents" turned out to be a RAAF HQ Darwin UFO file. One that has not been sighted before. It contained numerous low level interest UFO reports over the period concerned. Perhaps the most interesting folios were those where the USAF Air Attaché at the US Embassy Canberra was asking for assistance in "…securing any debris from the satellite." This refers to a 1964 satellite re-entry where "…It is the official opinion that the rocket body of this satellite may have fallen in the area between Carnarvon and Darwin." This seems to be a reference to the USAF "Project Moon Dust" (refer to Newsletter Nine from January 2004 for further details on Moon Dust and the Australian link.)
Further section 40 applications to ASIO
Previously the Project had applied' through the NAA' to ASIO requesting that ASIO search their records to determine if they held files on a number of Australian UFO organisations or individuals. The end result was the release of one file and the confirmation of the former existence of another.
In response to a piece in the 1965 Australian book "Flying Saucers Over Australia" by James Holledge' which spoke of Australian Security services involvement in UFO research' our Canberra associate David Hearder' conducted some newspaper searches.
He looked at eight Melbourne' Sydney and Canberra papers for the period 2 May to 11 May 1952. As a result of what he found there' David submitted section 40 applications for information ASIO might hold on:
- - James Holledge
- R M Seymour (DCA)
- Liaison with the CSIRO –Dr Piddington
- Media items related to "Security Officers."
The reply from ASIO was "We have searched our open access period records and found nothing on the subject requested."
The search for DAFI file "SEC. CD2/2"
The project has been looking for pre 1953 DAFI UFO related files. There are references to such a file numbered "SEC CD2/2" on:
- 1) PP474/1 item 5/5/Air – RAAF HQ Pearce UFO file
A confidential memo dated 16 Jan 1951 from the Chief of Air Staff to the then five HQ Command areas attached a pro forma to be used in gathering information about flying saucer reports. The reference on this memo is SEC.CD2/2(3a).
2) A11339' item 5/7/air part 1
Memo 21 Nov 1953 from HQ Penrith to various locations. Pro forma of Jan 1951 superseded. SEC.CD2/2 (54A).
3) A703 554/1/30 part 1
Memo 16 Nov 1953 from CAS to HQ Commands forwarding a revised UFO proforma. Reference of the memo is SEC.CD2/2 (54A).
In March 2005 David Hearder found file A1196' item 29/506/13 part 1 "Security-special instructions to area commanders." It contained top numbered documents from a DAFI file CC1/3. It had some top numbered documents' in exactly the same format as the Jan 1951 directive. David therefore deduced that SEC CD2/2 was an early DAFI file. His NAA search led him to believe that the NAA doesn't hold the file.
However' in the meantime while browsing the latest part of the RAAF's UFO policy file to be released' via the NAA' another reference to SEC CD2/2 was found.
Folio 37 of 554/1/30 part 2 is part of an internal RAAF memo summarising the RAAF's involvement in the UFO phenomenon:
"Research into this subject has come up with some unrewarding answers' firstly the inquiry can not go back any further than the 11th November 1953. The cause of this blockage is the loss of Part 1 of file 114/1/197 (ex CD2/2) in the move of the department from Melbourne to Canberra. Two searches through records and the archives have failed to trace this file. One search was carried out in March 1966 and the other on 15th and 16th July 1969. As the first UFO report was received in America in July 1947' there would be up to six years of correspondence dealing with UFOs unaccounted for."
Papers relating to the 1966 search were located by the project on the 580/1/1 series. The search was actually conducted regarding aspects of the Drury case. The investigating officer's findings were:
- 1) 580/1/1 part 1 revealed that it was the re numbered version of file 114/1/197 opened on 16 Sep 1955
2) The original 114/1/197 file was opened on 30 Oct 1953 and titled "Photographs of Unexplained Aerial Object over New Guinea forwarded by Mr T C Drury."
3) It was 114/1/197 part 2 which became 580/1/1 part 1
4) File 114/1/197 part 1 was passed to DAFI in 1957 and was lost
5) "Incidentally the old internal DAFI file on UFOs is also apparently missing-this old file may' in fact have been a recovering of 114/1/197 part 1."
The Project then looked in the NAA and found that the NAA does have a file numbered 114/1/197 but an inspection of this revealed that it was opened in Aug 1953 and there are no references to file CD2/2 contained in it. It is titled "Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects Oct 53 Apr 55." The top right hand corner says "Part 1."
A look at the file cover of 580/1/1 part 1 does have special instruction in its file cover to close file 114/1/197. Its cover also says 580/1/1 was opened on 16 Sep 1955. The original cover says it was file 114/1/197 which is crossed out ( in red someone has written part 2?) and 580/1/1 written in.
In summary' the bottom line in all of this is that nowhere have we found any references to say "Close file CD2/2" etc. on any of the files we have located. The above suggests that the date range of this file CD2/2 was at least 16 Jan 1951 to 16 Nov 1953.
If the NAA doesn't hold the file is it still in the DOD? The Project has submitted a request to the RAAF Historical Section to enlist their assistance. Their reply is awaited.
It's a small world
The Project recently received an e-mail from Robert Frola' Editor of "The Australasian UFOlogist" as follows:
- "During a recent visit to the United States' Diane and I were quietly
eating our breakfast at a hotel in Roswell when a nearby couple' asked
where we originated from. As soon as he realised we were Australians'
he commented that he had served in all three armed forces (Army' Air
Force and Navy - in that order) as an engineer. During his time with
the USAF' he was based in Laverton for three years servicing U2s. He
further stated that these aircraft were used over the Antarctic with the
intended purpose of detecting Russian forces in that area. At no time
did we mention that we were part of an Australian UFO Group or part of
a FOI attempt in retrieving UFO reports. This might explain some UFO
reports over southern Victoria and Tasmania."
Interestingly' the one part of the series of over a dozen Government files available at the NAA on "Operation Crowflight" (radioactivity monitoring) which has been digitized at our request' indicates nothing of this use for the U-2s involved. The reason given by the US Government to the Australian Government was that the U-2s would be monitoring upper air radiation levels from nuclear tests. Folio 327 of file series A1838 control symbol 604/7/22 states that the mission was operating between latitudes 40 and 60 degrees South.
Part 2 of RAAF UFO policy file digitized
File 554/1/30 part 2 was sighted at RAAF Edinburgh last year during our FOI inspections of RAAF UFO files. Now it is available as digitized images on the NAA website-www.naa.gov.au –go to RecordsSearch and type in 554/1/30 part 2 in the relevant search area. The Project has now examined all three parts of this file' which provides a continuous review of RAAF policy relating to their role in the UFO phenomenon.
Funding this research
Recently' the project was asked where do the funds come from to cover the expenses involved? So far' the purchasing of hard copies of NAA files; costs associated with FOI requests' and miscellaneous expenses is in the neighborhood of $3'000. This amount has come from the pockets of the eight members of the Adelaide based Australian UFO Research Association (AURA) who have personally funded the Project for the benefit of the Australian UFO research community.