Flt Sgt Roland Hughes was returning to base over West
Object, 100ft across, was 'gleaming silver, metallic disc'
Radar confirmed it was travelling at speeds far greater
than any aircraft at the time
UFO sighting was deemed so credible it convinced a government
minister who investigated it.
sighting by an RAF fighter pilot on a training mission
over West Germany in 1952 has been revealed for the first
time by papers released by the Churchill Archive at Cambridge
Sergeant Roland Hughes was returning to base when he was
followed by a 'gleaming silver, metallic disc' which flew
alongside him before disappearing at incredible speed.
Saucer Sam: Sgt Roland Hughes stands beside his fighter
with its UFO art painted
on by colleagues after he spotted a UFO that was confirmed
The object was caught by RAF radars, which confirmed it
was travelling at speeds far greater than possible for
any aircraft of the time.
reported the sighting and was sent to visit Duncan Sandys,
then aviation minister, to give his account in person.
described seeing a flash of 'silver light' which rapidly
descended towards him until he could see that it was a
'gleaming silver-metallic disc'.
said its surface was shiny, 'like tin foil', and 'without
a single crease or crinkle'.
could see, with 'astonishing clarity', the craft's 'highly
reflective and absolutely seamless metallic-looking surface'.
at high altitude in clear visibility in his de Havilland
Vampire, he estimated its size at 100 ft across
'about the wingspan of a Lancaster bomber'.
of the other three pilots - all returning to RAF Oldenburg
in northern West Germany - saw the object because they
were executing a 'banking turn' and not looking in the
Silver disc: A mock-up of a UFO similar to the one that
Sgt. Roland Hughes
said followed his craft before flying off at incredible
days later, Hughes was sent to RAF Fassberg in West Germany
to give his account to senior RAF officers and Sandys.
minister's first question was how many beers Hughes had
drunk the night before.
in the end he was so taken by the then 23-year-old Hughes'
story that he went on to brief senior civil servants,
telling them he was convinced it was true.
goes against what British governments have said regarding
UFOs in the past - in most cases, they have been keen
to downplay suggestions that UFO sightings are seriously
one newly released document, Sandys tells the government's
chief scientist Lord Cherwell that he found the story
and radar evidence 'convincing'.
Hughes reported the sighting and was sent to visit Duncan
then aviation minister, to give his account in person
reference to similar UFO sightings by U.S. pilots, what
became known as 'Foo Fighters', Sandys says in the document:
'I have no doubt at all that Hughes saw a phenomenon
similar to that described by numerous observers in the
Cherwell had previously dismissed the US sightings as
who later became Defence Secretary, went on: 'Until
some satisfactory scientific explanation can be provided,
it would be most unwise to accept without further question
the view that "flying saucers" can be dismissed
as "a mild form of hysteria".'
Hughes was flying at high altitude in clear visibility
on his way to RAF
Oldenburg in northern West Germany when he spotted the
added that there was 'ample evidence of some unfamiliar
and unexplained phenomenon'.
documents were investigated by David Clarke, a Sheffield
Hallam University academic, while researching for a book
Clarke was contacted by Hughes' son, who recounted his
father's version of events and gave him his log book.
the sighting, Hughes, who died in 2009 aged 79, was nicknamed
'Saucer Sam' and colleagues painted a flying saucer on
son Brian, 45, a Ministry of Defence civil servant said:
'We knew about the sighting in the family when we were
growing up but my father didn't talk about it a lot. We
learned about it more from prompting him.'
it was someone other than my father who had told this
story, I would be sceptical.'
once said to me "People think you're mad if you say
you've seen a flying saucer I've only ever seen
one once; I've never seen one since".'
Clarke said: 'There is absolutely no doubt that something
was seen by Hughes. He was not making this up.'
the only honest position to take is that we don't know
what it was. But there could be some sort of scientific
explanation, before you start jumping to conclusions about