HC Deb 24 November 1953 vol 521 cc169-70
9. Lieut.-Colonel Schofield

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence what reports his Department has received of the flying object observed by two airmen over London or other parts of the United Kingdom and reported to him; and if he will make a statement.

13. Mr. Bellenger

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence whether he has been able to identify the flying saucer object reported by one of the members of Anti-Aircraft Command.

Mr. Birch

On 3rd November two experimental meteorological balloons were observed at different times, one by two officers in a Royal Air Force aircraft and the other by a member of Anti-Aircraft Command. There was nothing peculiar about either of these occurrences.

Lieut.-Colonel Schofield

Would my hon. Friend tell me whether a meteorological balloon will give a stronger echo on a radar echo-sounder than a large aircraft or some other solid object in the air, and, arising out of the reports which have been made to his Department, can he tell me what reports have been received from the Norwich Astronomical Society, which keeps a night watch on the sky and several of whose members on 6th October claimed to have seen a dome shaped object emitting light from the dome at the top of the object?

Mr. Birch

Meteorological balloons are fitted with a special device in order that they shall produce a large echo on a radar screen. I am afraid that I am not very closely in touch with the Norwich Astronomical Society.

Mr. Bellenger

Although the House will, no doubt, accept the explanation which the Parliamentary Secretary has given, which is not different to many other explanations regarding similar phenomena here and elsewhere, will he now take steps to warn the Royal Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Command when these balloons are in the sky so that these Services know what is happening and to prevent unnecessary alarm in other quarters?

Mr. Birch

The trouble arose because the two balloons were allowed to escape or were let off at an unusual time, but I hope we shall not have any more trouble like this.

Mr. Isaacs

Would the Parliamentary Secretary agree that this story about flying saucers is all "ballooney"?

Mr. Birch

I think that the right hon. Gentleman's appreciation is very nearly correct.