Berwyn Mountains Landing - North Wales 23rd January 1974
NEWLY-RELEASED documents on UFOs have shed fresh light on the “Welsh Roswell” incident and suggest Britain’s wartime leaders believed revealing the truth about another sighting would cause mass panic and undermine Christianity.
Locals heard a huge bang and saw a brilliant light in the sky over the Berwyn Mountains in North Wales on the evening of January 23, 1974.
Some have claimed the explosion was caused by an alien spaceship crash that was covered up by the authorities.
But the Ministry of Defence documents suggest the incident was caused by a combination of an earthquake and a meteor.
The details are recounted in declassified Ministry of Defence UFO files made available online by the National Archives.
A search and rescue team from RAF Valley on Anglesey was scrambled on the night in question to look for wreckage on the mountainside but found nothing.
MoD inquiries uncovered five other reports of UFOs seen over the UK at about 10 pm on January 23, three in the Home Counties, one in Lincolnshire, and one in Sussex.
The witnesses generally reported seeing a bright light in the north-west which seemed to fall towards the horizon.
An expert who carried out independent research into the Berwyn Mountains incident for the British Astronomical Society reported that a “fireball” was visible over most of the UK that night.
It descended from a height of about 120km to about 35km before disintegrating over Manchester, the expert found.
Then-junior RAF minister Brynmor John summed up the official position in a letter to MP Dafydd Elis Thomas in May 1974.
He wrote: “As suggested by the descriptions reported, it seems the phenomena could well have been caused by a meteor descending through the atmosphere burning up and finally disintegrating before it reached the ground. Such a hypothesis would also explain the absence of any signs of impact.
“It has also been suggested that at 8.32 pm that evening there was an earth tremor in the Berwyn Mountains which produced a landslide with noises like detonations.”
But the MoD’s conclusions did not convince many of those who witnessed the incident firsthand.
One wrote in a letter preserved in the files: “That ‘something’ came down in the Berwyn Mountains on that night I am certain ...”
One witness, district nurse Pat Evans, who has since remained silent about the incident on January 23, 1974, after initially speaking out, reported seeing a UFO when she traveled to the spot where it was thought to have hit the mountain.
And ufologists dismissed the account offered in the official documents released through the National Archive as a cover-up.
UFO researcher Russ Kellett said he has spoken to a fisherman who said he saw flying saucers emerge from the Irish Sea before the incident on the Berwyn Mountains.
Mr. Kellett, 47, from North Yorkshire, said: “There’s no doubt whatsoever that it was more than just an earthquake.
“I’ve got an affidavit from a group of men who were coming home from Bala when they found this flying saucer at the side of the road and the military came and took it away on a flat-back vehicle.”
Journalist and UFO investigator Dr. David Clarke, who is a skeptic on the subject, says the Berwyn Mountains incident is the most intriguing sighting in Wales, and elements of it remain unexplained.
Dr. Clarke, 42, who lectures at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “What we know is that on that particular night there was a nurse who heard the explosion and thought something had crashed into the hillside.
A stone circle near Llandrillo, Wales, close to where the 1974 sighting was reported
“She drove up onto Berwyn and she saw what she described as a big glowing object sitting on the mountainside with a load of lights circling around underneath it. There have been various attempts to explain what she saw, but even sceptics can’t fully explain what the nurse saw.”
Two years ago Geraint Edwards of Llandderfel, Denbighshire, told a Channel Five documentary, how he stood in amazement as a flying saucer hovered for 10 minutes above the mountains.
He said at the time: “It was definitely a flying saucer. It was a pity I didn’t have a camera because it was there for at least 10 minutes, just hovering. We were on the way to play darts when something caught our eye in the south-east.
“It looked like a rugger ball, but the ends were more pointy. When it took off, it just went like lightning.
“I wrote it down in my diary. It was 6.45 pm on the Friday night.
“If we were coming back from the pub, people would be saying, ‘they’ve had one or two [drinks]’ but we were going to the pub.”