• Donkey Junk

The Moigne Downs "Craft" The 1967 UFO Incident Reported By Angus Brooks Over Dorchester

An in-depth look at the fascinating report of a UFO over Moigne Downs, Dorset, England, in 1967. This article details the correspondence between the Ministry of Defence and the man who witnessed the unidentified flying object.

In 1967, Angus Brooks reported seeing a UFO over Moigne Down, Dorset, England
In 1967, Angus Brooks reported seeing a UFO over Moigne Down, Dorset, England

The report came from Mr J. B. W. (Angus) Brooks, a former Comet Flight Administration Officer with BOAC. Mr Brooks, a family man in his fifties, is a prime example of a man of common sense who would not dream of inventing a sighting for the sake of personal publicity and has no history of suffering from hallucinations.

The report he submitted was not prepared without thought and contained the kind of details one would expect from a man skilled in administrative problems and familiar with intelligence work. He was, in fact, engaged in intelligence work with the Royal Air Force during the war. It went like this: REPORT OF UFO OBSERVED AT MOIGNE DOWNS 1 1/2 MILES NORTH OF



Date of Observation: 26.10.67. Time: 11.25 a.m. to 11.47 a.m. British Summer time.

Position: Grid Ref 755833 ordnance survey map (1 inch/1mile) Gt Britain sheet 178 (Dorchester).

Weather at Time: Clear sky with small amount of low cloud. Wind: SSW Force 8 (+-)

The report was of a UFO unlike any other described up to that time which Mr Brooks claimed to have seen while out walking with his dogs and which he sketched immediately after the sighting. Mr Brooks' story was that he saw a UFO while lying on his back to shelter from a high wind in a shallow trough on the hillside. He had hardly had time to position himself with his hands behind his head when he saw what appeared at first to be the beginning of a fine vapour trail over the Portland area - a trail such as any high-flying aircraft might make.

He very soon realised it was not a vapour trail because it did not grow in length or begin to spread out and disintegrate. Instead it came flashing down at an incredible speed until he could see that it was actually a curiously shaped craft. At a height of between two and three hundred feet it decelerated abruptly as if in response to a powerful reverse thrust, levelled off and remained hovering above the ground about four hundred yards away from where he lay. Now he could see it in detail.

There was a drum-like chamber amidships with four girder like "fuselages" sprouting from it. As the thing had swooped down, coming in from the sea, one of the fuselages pointed ahead and the other three trailed behind like the feather of a bird's tail. Then, as it hung in the sky, the trailing fuselages opened out like the spokes of a wheel equidistant from one another, forming a cross with the drum-shaped chamber in the middle.

While Mr Brooks watched, the craft slowly rotated ninety degrees in a clockwise direction and then remained motionless unaffected by the very strong wind. The craft seemed to be constructed of some translucent material. It had made no sound as it approached and remained silent throughout the time it was hovering equidistant between Winfrith Atomic Station and Portland Underwater Defence Station, and about a mile inland from the USAAF Communications Unit at Ringstead Bay.

The craft hovered for twenty-two minutes, then resumed its original shape with one fuselage pointing ahead (though not the same one) and the other three lined up behind, and a moment later it shot away at increasing speed to disappear high in the sky beyond Winfrith.

Moigne Down is located close to the small village of Owermoigne in Dorset, UK
Moigne Down is located close to the small village of Owermoigne in Dorset, UK

In his report to the Ministry of Defence, Mr Brooks said that although he had heard nothing, the visit of the craft had clearly affected one of his dogs, a twelve-year-old Alsatian bitch called Tana. The animal, normally perfectly happy to be with him on the Downs, seemed very distraught and kept pawing at him as if urging him to leave the spot. She would take no notice of his orders to "sit" though continuing to stay with him. The other dog, a Dalmatian, had gone off hunting game.

Several months after the sighting, an investigator met with Mr Brooks and recalled how impressed he was with his story, he said that he had an obvious sincerity and had a genuine regret that nobody else in the area seemed to have seen the craft. The reason for this was not difficult to understand. When walking on Moigne Downs to the exact spot that he claimed to see the UFO, you are overwhelmed with the feeling of immense loneliness.

Mr Brooks was in no doubt that he had seen an alien craft, although he saw no movement indicating that anyone was aboard it. There were dark shadows suggesting grooves under each of the fuselages, he said, but he had seen no portholes or form of "window" from which crew members could look out.

"When hovering, the craft looked about 175 feet in diameter," he said. "I judged that from the length of a Comet 4 which is 110 feet long. I am used to looking at Comets. To begin with I was apprehensive, wondering if I had been spotted. It even crossed my mind that I might be captured and I planned, if there seemed any danger of that, to leave my walking stick in the ground as a clue to where I had been. But after a bit I felt easier, even content, and it has since occurred to me that the green anorak I was wearing may have camouflaged me."

At first, Mr Brooks had explained that he decided not to say anything about his experience. Other people claiming to have seen UFOs had run up against ridicule and the suspicion that they were a little barmy. On reflection, however, he felt he had a duty to say what he had seen, and if it was going to be reported, he felt he would be in a position to give as clear an account of the thing as anyone - possibly clearer. He did not know then that he would be the only person to report the UFO. But first he went back to his bungalow in the little village of Owermoigne and told his wife Christine about the experience. "I have just seen one of those things," and got the reply: "Oh, No!"

Afterwards, Mr Brooks told his story to the local vicar who, before taking orders, had been a senior police officer and who advised him to make the initial report to the Weymouth Police. Mr Brooks also took the trouble to check with Winfrith to see if any odd effects had been noticed at the time, but nothing unusual had been reported and the American unit said much the same. But what was more disappointing was that nobody at all seemed to have shared his experience. At least if they had, they did not come forward, although the story was told on television and radio. Not long afterwards, Mr Brooks was interviewed by investigators from the Ministry of Defence who, after considering all the circumstances, came up with the explanation that all Mr Brooks had seen was a "floater" or piece of cellular debris in his own eye. Since he had been lying down and might have fallen asleep, this could have triggered a vivid dream. Was it not possible that the dog was simply worried by the fact that her master was lying down perfectly still and was anxious to get him on his feet again?

Such an explanation is certainly not devoid of common sense but Mr Brooks was still convinced that he saw nothing less than a flying machine unlike any to be seen on earth. He recalled the story, dating back to the time when jet air services across Africa started. An African village boy had been laughed to scorn for insisting that he had seen a strange craft passing overhead - until news of the service eventually reached the village. "Before the Moigne Downs sighting," he said, "I was only mildly interested in unidentified flying objects but now I am convinced there is something to be investigated and the sooner we find out what is going on the better it will be,"

For his own part Mr Brooks had circulated an account of his sighting to flying saucer research organisations all over the world in the hope that he will obtain confirmation for the Moigne Downs sighting from someone else who may by chance have seen the same sort of craft.

Design Engineer, Mr R. H. B. Winder commenting in Flying Saucer Review, probably the most objective publication of its kind in the world at that time, was clearly impressed by the integrity of Mr Brooks, but could offer no easy explanation to account for the shape of the craft.

He wrote: "I cannot at present recall any precedent, although I realise it could be associated with several of the "Flying Star" descriptions given by other witnesses around the same period. It is difficult to rationalise the four fuselages. They are certainly not aero-dynamic, and it is unlikely that they have anything to do with propulsion. I say this because the central disc is quite saucer-like and, as we know very well, a disc of that size would alone be fully capable of the performance described.

"In fact one way of looking at the problem is to regard this object as a modification of a standard saucer for some special purpose sufficiently important to justify obvious encumbrance. For example, if the craft was electrically or hydro-magnetically driven, the regions of intense ionization or high magnetic field strength close to its centre would interfere with certain radio type transmitters or receivers and upset any magnetic instruments. The extensions might therefore have been devised to remove such instruments from those regions. However, that does not explain the use of four arms. We would not expect one to be used because it might upset the balance of the craft, but it is difficult to understand why two should not suffice and, indeed, eliminate the folding procedure which is presumably necessary to reduce drag during flight."

Mr Winder, who had been studying UFO phenomena since 1952, clearly had no difficulty in accepting the notion that a craft was seen by My Brooks. In contrast it is interesting to see how a trio of investigators from the Defence Ministry approached the matter:

Dr Mr Brooks, 1 As promised at our meeting I am writing to let you know the conclusions we have reached on your report about the object you saw at Owermoigne on 26th October. 2 The information which you provided both in your written reports and our discussions has been most carefully checked. We have also examined all possible activities in the area which might have given rise to your sighting but have been unable to trace any other evidence of unusual or unauthorised aerial activity. In addition, in spite of the extensive local publicity on the television, radio and in the press no corroborating reports have been received. Whilst it is true that the spot from which you made the observation is relatively remote, we did see some human activity during our walk to and from it last month; a farm worker on a tractor and a van on the road on the opposite hillside. It seems unlikely that an object, which you estimated as having an overall length of 150 feet, could have hovered above the horizon for twenty-two minutes, unnoticed by anyone else. 3 We do not doubt that the experience which you have described was a very vivid one, nor have we overlooked your long association with aviation. However, we are unable to agree with your conclusion that you saw a controlled flying vehicle of unique design and performance. I know this may seem to contradict you, but I am sure you will understand that the information you have given us is capable of other interpretations which we believe are more likely explanations of what you saw. 4 The explanation is this. You have told us that on the morning of 26th October, 1967, you were walking with your dogs on Moigne Downs. There was a gale force wind blowing and you decided to shelter from it and at the same time to look for something unusual in the sky, that is to say, a bright star which you hoped you might see in daylight. You first saw a contrail which was the normal vapour trail produced by a high flying aircraft, but this had no physical connection with the subsequent sequence of events. The next thing you saw was a vitreous floater - a piece of loose matter (a dead cell) floating in the fluid of the eyeball. Such objects appear as rods and / or discs, are present in most peoples' eyes are are more noticeable when one is looking at a brightly lit source of even colouring such as a clear sky. The fact that you had an eye injury some years ago, since repaired by corneal transplant, makes it possible that there may have been some larger floaters than usual. There are several similarities between the object you described and the floater, particularly its translucency and the slightly darker centre line of the rod-like components. The downward and transverse movement of the object is compatible with the natural movement of a floater when the eye is held stationary and the direction and speed of departure of the object match the movement of the floater when the eye is flicked upwards. However, it is unlikely that the floater would have remained stationary for as long as twenty-two minutes. But, you will recall that you had the impression that the sighting lasted for a much shorter period than the twenty-two minutes shown on your watch. It seems possible, therefore, that on lying down, after walking over rough country in a force eight gale you were feeling a little tired and you fell asleep or entered a near sleep state. 5 There had been a great deal of publicity in October about UFO sightings and this, the floater and the fact that you had been looking for an object in the sky could have triggered off a dream in which the floater took on the more elaborate form you have described. Your instant knowledge and certainty of its size and distance and intent are all suggestive of the immediate and inexplicable awareness which are characteristic of many dreams. The distress of your Alsatian could be explained by her finding you in an unusual state, asleep in the open air, rather than by the presence of an unusual object. 6 I recognise that you may find our conclusions unsatisfactory but in light of the information available to us, we must form our own judgment about the object you have described. As I have said, we have no other evidence of any unusual aerial activity in Dorset that day nor, despite wide publicity, has any other witness come forward. While it would be intellectually arrogant to dispute the hypothesis that in the infinity of space, there could be no other intelligent life, we have no proof of this. Neither have the reports of unidentified flying objects passed to us provided evidence that extraterrestrial craft have visited earth. Our radar cover is such that we are also quite satisfied that there is no clandestine aerial activity over the United Kingdom under terrestrial control. With respect, your report does not give us cause to alter these conclusions. 7 Finally, I should like to thank you very much indeed for your extremely detailed and interesting report and for your kind welcome and whole-hearted co-operation you have to Mr Dickison, Mr Cassie, and myself when we visited you in February. Yours sincerely, L. Akhurst.

The investigating team were in fact, Dr John Dickison, a Farnborough scientist, Mr Alec Cassie, an RAF psychologist, and the writer, Leslie Akhurt, who belonged to the Ministry of Defence secretariat.

As an exercise in rationalisation their findings could hardly be improved upon and who is to say they are not perfectly correct. Unfortunately there is only one man who is in a position to evaluate the explanation with any authority.

Mr Brooks showed what he thought of it in a letter he wrote to Mr Akhurst on 28 April 1968. In the course letter he wrote:

I propose to take your report by paragraph and comment. Paragraph 2 1 Corroborative reports in the area were received. These were night sightings of "star" and "dart" shaped craft. Either format could be affected by the Moigne Downs UFO with its fuselage control. 2 On the day of your visit there was one farm worker on our side of the valley and one van passed along the far road on the other side. This confirms that the percentage of activity in such a large and remote area is so low that on the day of the sighting it was more than possible that I was alone in the area. This has been the case in the previous eight months. Paragraph 3 1 The report of any one person's experience can open interpretation permutations covering the range from frank disbelief to "Establishment" oriented conclusions and I cannot but think that your contradiction of my interpretation of the very vivid experience, that you agree I had, must stem from the latter. Your paragraph 4 only strengthens this thought. Paragraph 4 1 The "con" trail mentioned was not a normal vapour trail as it disappeared almost at once and must have been the craft's angled reflection in the sun. Vapour trails, as we know, continue with the aircraft and produce lengthy "streamer" effects. 2 The "floater" theory (what an unfortunate choice of name" means: Mistake, Bloomer, in dictionary slang. Muscae volitantes, my specialist informs me, moves upwards and downwards and, as the craft entered the vision circle at 030 def., moved across descending to centre of vision, hovered for twenty-two minutes, then exited vision circle at 320 def., this hardly conforms. As my eyes were not stationary during the observation the chances of the exact similar shaped MV being present in both eyes at the exact same time can be discounted. The corneal implant of two years before had only improved the vision and MVs had not been noticeable in the eye concerned. I understand that rod-like MVs are exceedingly rare and seldom, if ever, linked. 3 In our discussion, my comment was not that my impression of the observation was shorter than the elapsed time but that after a period I had lost the feeling of time due to the intense interest and admiration I was feeling for the craft's construction and of its non-aggresive appearance. 4 I walk daily for around two hours over rough country in all met conditions and wind forces. I do not stop for rest I look upon this walk in the same way as I used to run each morning for exercise when at the office, and, as for sleeping on route...please! The fact that the gale was howling and my Alsatian was painfully clawing at me to leave the spot was hardly conductive to "dropping off." Paragraph 5 1 It is normally contended that dream "triggers" are of more personal involvement than everyday news and I had not been particularly interested in the UFO "splashes" at the time. 2 My instant knowledge, certainly of size, distance and intent are indeed suggestive of the immediate awareness of the existence of the craft. 3 The Alsatian would not obey spoken or physical orders to remain still on the day and, on the two following days (with witnesses) at the site, showed distress which could only be attributed to having been pained or frightened at the craft's appearance. She could have received a high VHF signal. Paragraph 6 1 In your conclusions your disadvantage is, of course, that I was there at the time and any Investigation Commission can only work on the creditability of second hand report details combined with technical, medical and scientific assistance, so, with reciprocal respect, your conclusions have not given me cause to alter my opinion on the Moigne Downs UFO. Although, at the start of this experience, I had no wish to become involved in the UFO story, I now find I am interested enough to be doing some thinktank work on this. May I suggest that "Fatigue Mirages" and "Ghostings" be given some "lateral" thought by your department and, on completion of my studies, I will pass my results for discussion between us. We should be happy to see you any time you are in this area. I enjoyed our meeting and, next time, who knows, the Moigne Downs UFO may give you the doubtful "privilege" of seeing it. My best regards to John Dickison and Alec Cassie and, of course, to yourself. Yours, Angus Brooks. April 28 1968

If it does nothing else this letter clearly reveals the mind of a man who is normally pretty wide awake, a man who would be unlikely to fall asleep anywhere and then, on waking, fail to realise he had been asleep.

What Mr Brooks claims to have seen over Moigne Downs presents a truly remarkable puzzle and one cannot help being impressed by the coincidence that he should describe what amounts to a flying cross seen in broad daylight.

There may, of course, be an explanation that nobody has thought of yet. But meanwhile, we can only suggest, the Moigne Downs sighting must be regarded as a "genuine" UFO in the sense that it was in the sky and not simply in the eye of the beholder.

Now you have read about the Moigne Down UFO, make sure you read about the untold Australian UFO incident