The Lakenheath UFO Chase Incident

First Published: July 26, 2018 Last updated: September 8th, 2020 Written by: Marcus Lowth Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes Posted in: UFOs, Cover-Ups
1 comment

On the evening of the 13th going into the 14th August 1956, one of the most well-documented and military-radar-confirmed UFO encounters took place in the skies over eastern England. As well as being tracked on three separate ground radar systems, further confirmation came from an airborne radar. And further still, visual sightings came from two pilots in separate planes, as well as from multiple personnel from two different control towers.

Lakenheath Radar blended into a superimposed UFO

Is the Lakenheath UFO incident genuine?

As well as the amount of military documentation of the incident, the fact that it stretched between US and UK intelligence networks shows that not only were both governments aware and actively investigating the instances, but they were apparently doing so, at least on occasion, through combined and coordinated efforts. This, despite public denials to both of their respective citizens. As the true “UFO history” is revealed through the persistent investigations of UFO researchers around the world, it is highly likely we will discover such coordinated efforts go out in many directions and under many directives.

Before we examine this most fascinating military encounter with an apparent other-worldly craft, check out the short video below. It features some of the better photographs captured by members of the public during the early-to-mid-1950s. A time when UFO sightings were more and more commonplace.

Not A Meteor, Comet, Or Conventional Aircraft!

At a little after 9:30 pm on the evening of 13th August 1956, the radar system at RAF Bentwaters (utilized by the US military) picked up an anomalous object on England’s east coast. It moved at a pace somewhere between 4,000 and 9,000 miles per hour. Aside from the abnormal speed, the size of the object was that of a standard jet fighter. As the object vanished from the radar screen “it diminished in size and intensity”.

Around 30 minutes later at 10 pm another mysterious object appeared on a radar monitor at Bentwaters. The distance it covered suggested a speed around 12,000 miles per hour. As well as the radar returns, which were again of a similar size to a conventional craft, those on duty in the control tower would report visually witnessing a bright light passing overhead at the same time as the radar was tracking the object. Further still, a C-47 craft was passing high overhead, also at the same time. The pilot would report a streaking white light below him.

Personnel at Bentwaters would notify the nearby RAF Lakenheath station, also a US military outpost at the time. They too managed to track the same objects on their systems. Several Lakenheath personnel also reported visual confirmation of the UFO from the ground. They would report a “luminous object” head in their direction which then came to an “abrupt stop”. It hovered for a moment before “streaking away” and out of sight.

Whatever the object was, it wasn’t a meteor or a comet, and it certainly wasn’t a conventional aircraft. That much was certain.

Pursuit By A UFO!

Shortly after midnight, following a call of a sighting near the RAF Station in Neatishead, a Venom night fighter jet scrambled from Waterbeach. It would first head towards a “target” which then vanished before the fighter could intercept it. Seconds later, however, the fighter would receive new coordinates, just north of Cambridge. This time, not only did he confirm the object on his own radar, he would send back visual confirmation. Furthermore, radars at Neatishead and Lakenheath would also confirm the sightings.

Several seconds following these confirmations, the object would appear just behind the Venom fighter. It continued to “pursue” the jet, maintaining a steady distance of only a quarter of a mile. The pilot of the fighter performed several maneuvers in an attempt to “shake off” this mysterious craft, but to no avail.

This would continue for around ten minutes. Although the craft was not aggressively chasing the fighter jet, it would maintain the close proximity. Then, it suddenly became stationary, simply hovering and allowing the Venom plane to increase the distance between them. Taking the chance, the plane immediately returned to base.

Several moments later, the UFO zipped northwards. Traveling at an estimated 600 miles per hour, it was soon out of range, its ultimate destination unknown. The radar system at Lakenheath, however, would continue to receive “echoes” of the craft until around 3:30 am. This would suggest that, even though the object was out of range, its effects were still being felt for several hours following its disappearance. Although purely speculation, perhaps this would suggest the craft was closer than many would think. Perhaps, as we have examined before, the North Sea and the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean contain the bases these apparent alien crafts come from.

A depiction of a UFO near a military jet midair

A depiction of a UFO near a military jet midair

Recent Sightings Over Lakenheath

The Lakenheath case has gone under close scrutiny from many different groups and individuals alike over the years. Perhaps not least from those behind the Condon Report, who would describe the case as “the most puzzling and unusual case in the radar-visual files”. They would go on to state that “at least one genuine UFO” was in the encounter was “fairly high”. Furthermore, the “rational, intelligent behavior of the UFO suggests a mechanical device of unknown origin”. They would, though, insert the caveat that “conventional explanations” couldn’t be dismissed as a possibility.

As credibly documented as the encounter is, it remains unexplained. Whether the intelligence behind the mysterious objects of August 1956 is the same as some of the many other sightings over the United Kingdom in the 1950s also remains unknown. It certainly isn’t that much a stretch of the imagination.

In 2007, over fifty years following the incident, two US pilots of a US Air Force F-15 were contacted by London Military Air Traffic Control with a request to “intercept an unknown target” in their vicinity and flying at an altitude of between 3,000 and 4,000 feet. Not only would the F-15 lock-in on the mystery object, they would perform two passes, both at 17,000 feet. The pilots would later describe the object as completely black and “unlike any aircraft they had ever seen”.

The video below features the audio exchange of the two pilots. It is an interesting few minutes. As always, make of it what you will.


The stories, accounts, and discussion in this article are not always based on proven facts and may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports and accounts available to us as provided by witnesses and documentation.

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About Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years experience. Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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1 Comment

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  • Ben Lovegrove says:

    Fascinating, particularly the radio chatter from 2007 in light of what we know from the USS Nimitz incident of 2004.

    And of course RAF Bentwaters came into focus again in 1980 when the Rendlesham Forest incident occurred.

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