Retired Colonel Charles Halt was at the centre of a mystery that unfolded outside RAF Woodbridge over two nights in late December 1980.
Next month he will fly back to Suffolk and address the local public for the first time since it happened. As deputy commander of the twin bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge, he prepared a memo to the Ministry of Defence describing “unexplained lights”, and recorded what became known as the Halt Tape – a documented investigation in the forest, during which Halt saw mysterious lights like those witnessed by airmen Jim Penniston and John Burroughs two nights earlier.
In 2010, Halt signed an affidavit claiming the encounter was extraterrestrial and had been covered up by the government. A conference on Saturday, July 11, at Woodbridge Community Hall, has been organised by John Hanson and Dawn Holloway, authors of a series of UFO books entitled Haunted Skies, and by Brenda Butler, a local resident who became embroiled in the Rendlesham incident and will speak on behalf of the British witnesses on the night.
Mr Hanson said: “The Rendlesham incident is undoubtedly one of the most controversial of its kind in history. Everyone involved has their own version of events.
“Charles Halt has never been back to speak locally. He is looking forward to being granted an audience.
“There are some things about the incident we may never know but we hope Colonel Halt will reveal more.”
Nick Pope, who was formerly in charge of the Ministry of Defence’s UFO project, said: “I’ve met Colonel Halt several times. He’s a man of the utmost integrity and is an unimpeachable witness.
“The Rendlesham Forest incident is one of the world’s most compelling UFO sightings and even us sceptics at the MoD failed to come up with any conventional explanation.”
The conference will be preceded by a book fair from 5pm-7pm, including a ‘meet and greet’ with Mr Hanson, Mrs Butler and another guest speaker, David Bryant. Lionel Beer, of the British UFO Research Association, will complete the line-up, headed by Colonel Halt himself and followed by a question and answer session. Tickets are £20 from Mr Hanson on 0121 445 0340 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.