Time has a habit of slowly erasing the fragile traces of history. Where the dry sands of the Roswell desert in New Mexico preserve faint traces of a metal object that fell to Earth 86 years ago in 1947, the unforgiving limestone rocks and frequently harsh wet weather of Lanillar in Mid-Wales have eroded all traces of the crash which took place there just 40 years ago at the beginning of 1983.
However, the crash did not go unnoticed at the time, and a small dedicated band of ‘ufologists’ acted with sufficient speed to preserve material from a little-known but highly significant incident that remains a mystery to this day. We don’t have an exact chronology for events surrounding this incident outside the sleepy village of Llanillar but we do have some significant clues.
Two weeks after the incident took place a newspaper report was published in the Sunday Express for 23rd January, which means the crash probably took place during the first week of January 1983, between the 1st and 7th, and was reported to the press by some unknown individual when the offices of the Sunday Express opened after the New Year. Possibly the individual was someone connected to the incident clean up teams, police, or the local North Wales press.
Author of the article, Andrew Chapman, has no record of the exact source in his archived notebooks and assumes it was just ‘passed to him’ to write up. The article reads:
“Strange debris out of the sky. AN ASTONISHING sight greeted farmer Irwel Evans as he trudged across his fields to tend his newly-born lambs. Hundreds of pieces of honeycombed metal foil were strewn over an area the size of three football pitches. Huge twisted alloy plates, painted green on one side grey on the other, lay every-where. And in a nearby copse branches had been sheared off trees.”
“Mr. Evans phoned the police. Soon his farm at Llanilar, near Aberystwyth, Wales, was like a set from a spy thriller. Police took away fragments of metal for analysis. A team of uniformed RAF men with plain clothes officers combed the land and nearby woods using flashlights as darkness began to fall.”
“Baffled. Among the pile of debris taken away was an aerial and a large chunk of metal with part of a serial number on it. Everyone concerned was convinced that whatever it was that covered Mr. Evans’s field had fallen out of the sky in dead of night. But after two weeks the riddle remains. Police are baffled. So, too, are the RAF. No one in the close-knit Welsh community heard a plane that night. Nothing unusual showed up on RAF radar scanners.”
“Mr. Evans, 29, who farms his 260 acres single-handed, said: “Whatever tumbled from the sky broke up on impact. It must have been a fair size. Wreckage was scattered across four fields. Had it hit a building there’s no doubt the devastation could have been terrific. It must have come down the night before I found it for the area was clear in the afternoon when I checked the flock. Yet I heard nothing at all unusual. Although the pieces themselves were extremely light they must have fallen with some force to sever branches off trees. It is all alarming”.”
“Mr. Emyr Hughes, secretary of the Cardiganshire farmers’ union, said: “I’ve asked the Ministry of Defence for an explanation, but so far have had no reply. The RAF says they had no aircraft out at the time this debris must have landed, nor were there any maneuvers. Not only that, their radar scanners picked up nothing unusual”.”
“Meanwhile, villagers are still speculating about the debris. Could it be part of a large weather balloon? “No,” say Aberystwyth police. “Too much metal.” Part of a satellite: “Unlikely. Any remains would be charred. We have no explanation as yet. It’s baffling.” An RAF spokesman said: “The debris certainly had nothing to do with us. We are examining the fragments to try to piece them together in the hope of a clue to where it came from and what it is”.”
It would have been during the first few days of 1983 when Irwel Evens, farmer and discoverer of the extensive crash debris, made phone calls to the local police and closest RAF base which resulted in a very thorough overnight clean up of his fields by a large military and civilian team.
No records of this operation were kept by the MOD according to a recent FOI (Freedom Of Information) request. In the week that followed, between the 24th and 31st, Gary Rowe received a copy of the above article, contacted Irwel, and investigated the crash site with his small team from ‘The Wales Federation of Independent Ufologists’.
They recovered about half a dozen pieces of metal and foil from the wooded area adjacent to the fields, where whatever it was had hit treetops and fragmented leaving an approximately 25-foot (8-meter) wide swathe of destruction and scattering debris before flying off apparently without a problem!
Despite what some subsequent sensationalist internet reports may say, the craft was never found, and the wooded area was cleared away by the Forestry Commission at some point early in February before Gary and his team could make a second investigative visit. But they had the newspaper article, a credible eyewitness, and the fragments.
So the new 40th anniversary book (released this year through AMAZON on ‘Flying Disk Press’) begins with the greatest missing piece of the entire international UFO puzzle still lying there physically before us demanding an explanation – the half a dozen fragments of a mysterious craft of some kind that physically existed and probably should not have been able to survive the extreme impact back in 1983.
Of the millions of books written on the subject of ‘UFOs crowding bookshelves the world over, this is that final missing chapter that no investigator has yet been able to produce. It’s not the actual ‘flying craft’ itself, but it’s about as close as we are going to get short of ‘full disclosure’ but, like the 1947 New Mexico incident so many years before, it remains a complete mystery despite scientific tests on samples undertaken internationally in 2023.
There have effectively been three independent analysis reports; the first was done by Gary Rowe and his contacts at British Aerospace UK back at the time of the crash, the second was done this year by a lab in Australia, and the third was done this year by a lab in the USA.
Each end report is approximately the same page length, although the original UK report lacks photographs, and all were done without the other labs knowing multiple tests were being undertaken. Broadly speaking the analysis only adds to the mystery.
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The UK concluded the sample was an advanced alloy of Duralumin/Aluminium, Australia that this was not the case and that their sample was Aluminium Foam, and the USA showed in detail that their sample was Lanthanum/Lanthium alloyed with other exotic elements. As far as is known, none of these materials existed in these forms at the end of the 1970s and should not have been ‘flying around’ in the skies of Mid-Wales early in the 1980s.
In a very recent twist of fate, a tiny fragment of honeycomb foil that looks exactly like the Llanillar fragments has been recovered from the Carona crash site in the USA further cementing a link between both incidents, a physical link unknown when the original documentary was titled and produced back in 2008.
In the new book you will find detailed first-hand accounts from those involved, the best images of the crash debris available to date, updates from those same sources, unreleased archive paperwork, how and where the original 25-year anniversary documentary was produced back in 2008, details drawn from the original UK report and the two recent international report results in full, and hopefully marvel at how, in this day and age, physical evidence can remain a mystery over four decades later.
As Gary himself concluded at the end of the 2008 production: “No aircraft was missing, no pilots were missing, no mechanical things were found on the site associated with it, there were no rivets in the construction of any of this material, and whatever this strange thing was that flew that night over that farm, it managed to explode all this material, cover four fields with it, and then fly off again undisturbed it appears! It’s quite remarkable.”
“And as this has not been identified in the last twenty odd years we can only conclude, and this is as far as I’m happy to go, that this remains debris from a UFO – an Unidentified Flying Object.”
Mark Olly is an internationally recognized author, TV producer/presenter, writer, lecturer, broadcaster, musician, and artist. He is a Visiting Lecturer at Wilmslow Guild and the University Of Chester, heads up his archaeological unit and runs a DVD production and props company MythCo. He lives in Cheshire, UK. ‘Europe’s Roswell – 40 Years Since Impact’ is out now on Amazon.