Case Histories : Howden Moor Incident> [prev ¦ 1 ¦ 2 ¦ 3 ¦ 4 ¦ 5 ¦ 6 ¦ 7 ¦ 8 ¦ 9 ¦ 10 ¦ 11 ¦ 12 ¦ 13 ¦ 14 ¦ 15 ¦ 16 ¦ next]


10.10pm A farmer and his mother at Edge End Farm, Bolsterstone, rang 999 after seeing what they thought was an aircrash. The police report describes how they saw “a low flying plane travelling in a west south westerly direction
and apparently having come from the direction of Deepcar. Both he and his mother commented on the low level of the aircraft and its low speed. He was able to see clearly the planes’ navigation lights. A short while later he saw an orange glow followed by several plumes of smoke.” The plane disappeared in the direction of the moorland ridge formed by Featherbed Moss and Margery Hill where the search was later concentrated. Both witnesses later told police they could detect “a strong smell of burning” following the appearance of the orange glow. The pair were later interviewed further by police and provided further details. Press spokes- woman Gillian Radcliffe later told us how Mr Morton said the aircraft he saw was “flying so low he instinctively dipped his head as it passed over his head...he said he had lived here 30 years and had never seen anything like it before.”

10-10.15pm Farmer David Robinson was attending to his lambs at Windybank Farm, Upper Midhope, when he saw what he described as “a light aircraft” flying over the nearby reservoir from the direction of Stannington towards
Langsett. He said: “It was lambing time and I left my house at 10pm, as I looked towards my left I could hear a plane. Then it flew across me towards Midhope. I could not see any lights except for two red lights on each wing. The next day two ordinary policemen called and interviewed me. I see planes flying low all the time and thought the whole thing was a charade.”

10-10.15pm Midhope Moor, near Langsett. Possibly the most detailed observation of the “mystery aiircraft” was by gamekeeper John Littlewood. He was out on the moor in his four-wheel drive vehicle when he saw two red lights in
the sky approaching from the direction of Stocksbridge. As he watched the lights approached and it became obvious they were attached to the wings of an aircraft. He said: “It was definitely a plane and it was a big one; it was like an old time plane but different to a Lancaster, and not a Hercules because I’ve seen these too. It came right over the top of me and
I could see there were no lights on it like you usually see on aircraft, just two red ones. It was making a loud humming noise and it came from Stocksbridge straight over the top of me and disappeared towards Dunford Bridge and Woodhead. It was very long, slow and low, probably about 500 feet in altitude.It was a clear night and I could clearly see the outline and it was making quite a noise. I just thought ‘What the hell is that?’ and took it to be a military plane, but I could not understand why it had got just the two lights on its wings. The planes I regularly see have the usual flashing strobes but this one was different. Later when I got home I found my neighbours little girl at Upper Midhope saw the lights through
the bay window of their house and had run out to tell her dad she thought she had seen ‘a flying saucer.’ It was only the next day when I heard that people had heard explosions and there had been a search that I thought any more about it.”

Mr Littlewood reported his sighting to Inspector Jack Clarkson at Deepcar police station some weeks later. His sighting does not appear onthe police log of the incident.

10.06? pm Hollindale Cottage, Strines. Gamekeepers Mike and Barbara Ellision are watching TV when they hear “a terrific explosion” in the sky outside their home on the moors. Mrs Ellison said: “We had just sat down to watch the news and we heard an almighty bang to the extent that it cut out the noise of the TV; you could not hear anything else but the ringing. It was a a very loud “boom or bang”...We immediately got up and rushed out and proceeded up onto the moor to have a look and see if we could see anything. The explosion was so severe I expected to see carnage, aeroplane, fire. But there was nothing - just nothing there to find.” After an initial sweep of the moors, Mick Ellision phoned 999 to report the explosion; call logged by Sheffield Police incident room and adds confirmation to suspicion that a plane has gone down. Mr Ellision sets off in his range rover to search the moors and notes “an eerie red glow in the sky to the south.” He is joined by community PC Mick Hague, who also saw the glow. He believed it was caused by the cement works in the Hope Valley to the south and suggested the clear weather conditions had
deceived witnesses into believing the plane they saw was close by when it could have been many miles away.

10.05-10.30 Peak Park Warden Hilary Ambrose spots a strange light on the moors as she drives eastwards over the Woodhead Pass towards her home in Penistone. As she arrived at Salters Brook Bridge at the top of the moors she said she became aware of a light on the moors to the south. Initiallyshe thought it must be a fire, but when it was still visible after driving for a further mile she decided to stop her car at Fiddler’s Green. The light was still visible and appeared to be hovering at ground level in the area of Featherbed Moss or the Shepherd’s Meeting Stones on Howden Moor.
The light was stationary and did not flash or project a beam, and appeared to be “bright white” in colour. Discounting fires, bright stars or planets,she thought the only other explanation could be someone on the moor with an extremely bright flashlight. When she heard about the search of the moors the next day she reported her sighting to the head warden and
returned to the spot the following night with Glossop Rescue Team commander Phil Shaw. The timing of the observation suggests Mrs Ambrose could have seen the lights of Mick Ellison or PC Mick Hague’s landrover who had begun to search the moors west of Strines shortly after 10.10pm; but the timing rules out the lights of the search teams who did not reach the moors until just before 11pm.

10.30-11pm Sharon Aldridge and a friend called Joanne, who were staying at the Strines Inn had decided to drive to Boot’s Folly which stands on a hill above the Strines Reservoir. to photograph the Hale-Bopp comet. While standing on the hill they heard what Sharon described as “a weird noise.”
She said: “It was very strange, the weirdest noise I have ever heard and very very loud and came from behind us. It was not a plane noise, and the nearest I could describe it was like a meteorite. The best way I can describe it was like a giant childrens’ windmill, very loud and longish. We both looked behind us but could not see anything. It was a freezing cold
night and it was very frightening. As we began to walk back to the car a helicopter appeared and circled us with a flashlight on. When we got to the pub [Strines Inn] there were fire engines there. They said there had been reports of a light aircraft going down. I went up to them and described what we had seen and heard. It was odd because at first the fireman said a light aircraft had gone down and then later when I asked he said it was a jet. Later in the night I saw a plain clothes police car come up and the police questioned Jo the next day about what we had heard.”

Sharon added: “We heard rumours about ghost planes and smugglers but the noise we heard was not like a plane and there was no splash or anything. UFOs were never mentioned until Max came to the pub andstarted asking us about it.” »

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