SAILORS on a Portsmouth-based warship claimed to have seen a UFO but all evidence of the alien encounter was lost when the ship’s log was ‘blown overboard’.
Previously secret documents released by the Ministry of Defence reveal sailors on HMS Manchester and other Royal Navy ships reported seeing the unidentified aircraft off the coast of Norway in the late 1990s.
But MoD investigators asked to locate a record of the sighting discovered the ship’s log had been blown overboard while the ship was docked in Norway.
Lord Hill-Norton, who was head of the Armed Forces from 1973 to 1976, wrote to the MoD in September 2002 and asked if the department could confirm Manchester’s UFO sighting.
He wrote: ‘Apparently the ship encountered an unidentified craft during a naval exercise, with several hundred people in Manchester and other HM ships witnessing the event. At the same time, personnel on a Norwegian naval ship tracked the object on radar and were openly discussing the incident on the Operations Rooms communications network.’
Lord Hill-Norton, who has an interest in UFO sightings, said he’d been made aware of the incident by a former sailor. He said he was unsure of the precise date of the sighting but was ‘reasonably certain’ it fell between either October 26 and November 6 1998 or February 8 and March 3 1999.
Internal government discussion documents showed nothing was recorded on logs from the first dates – but the log for early February 1999 went overboard in Bodo.
Lord Bach, who was tasked to investigate the claims, replied to Lord Hill-Norton: ‘The log was positioned, as is the custom, at the head of the gangway when the vessel was alongside in port, and an unusually strong gust of wind carried it overboard.’
He went on: ‘In light of the missing document, my officials have contacted the commanding officer of the Manchester at the time.
‘He has stated nothing that could be remotely construed as an unusual event or sighting involving unidentified aerial craft occurred during this or any other of Manchester’s deployments while he was in command.’
No explanation was given for what the sailors saw.