“….Over the four decades the photo has been in the public domain, I have had many thousands of letters from all over the world with various ideas or possibilities – most of which make little sense to me!” Jim Templeton 2002
Jim Templeton’s place in the history of Ufology is well assured, having his name attached to the famous Solway/Cumberland Spaceman photo, which he took on Burgh Marsh with his daughter Elizabeth, in May 1964.
However behind this, is the story of a remarkably well travelled man who was held in some high regard, especially in the county of Cumbria where he was something of a local celebrity.
Jim, who lived in Carlisle, was just as well known as a keen photographer, author and collector of photo’s. The News And Star newspaper regularly used Jim’s extensive collection of local historic photo’s in their pieces and Jim had released a number of books, on local history.
Jim was born at Belmont Terrace in the former village of Belle Vue, Carlisle in 1920. The village then was completely separate to Carlisle but was subsequently swallowed up by the spread of the city, in later years.
Jim’s father Daniel Templeton worked at ‘Solric Fabrics’ Textile Factory in Shaddongate, Carlisle (beside Dixon’s chimney). His mother, Mary, was a stay at home mother (as was the norm in those days) and kept many animals, including dogs, hens and otters.
Jim attended Newtown school, Carlisle and then moved to Ashley Street Boys School also in Carlisle, where he showed early promise as a footballer.
Jim was taken into gainful employment in 1934 at the age of 14, quite by accident with ‘Solric Fabrics’, where his father worked, after popping round to drop his dads sandwiches off one morning.
To accept the job, Jim had to leave school early, something he later stated he was glad of as he loved working at the Textiles factory and later after working at a few different locations, qualified as a textile designer/engineer and became an Associate of the Textile Institute.
In September 1937, Jim joined the St Johns Ambulance service and qualified for a First Aid Certificate, a St John Medallion and a Nursing Certificate.
In May 1940, Jim received call up papers to help the war effort. He was sent to Newbattle Abbey for military training and then onto the Royal Army Medical Corp (RAMC) at Edinburgh Castle.
Jim was then dispatched to Liverpool on December 8 1941 to board the ‘Andes’, a brand new ship which was part of a convoy of 37 ships that were headed to the Azores.
Jim eventually hopped ships to the Mauretania and sailed onto the Suez Canal and disembarked before sailing onto Tripoli where the crew received battle orders. The crew then filled landing craft and made for Salerno, Italy, where the Germans were waiting for them.
It was during leave from the Army back in Carlisle that Jim met his wife, a young girl Jim had had his eye on for a while called Annie Rutherford, he vowed to pickup his aquaintence with Annie in the future as he returned to the Army.
Further tours took Jim all over the world and he was finally demobbed in 1946, having attained the rank of Sergeant.
Jim returned to Carlisle where he reapplied to the Carlisle Fire & Ambulance Service and got the job despite reservations about his then young age.
Jim then joined the Fire Service, where he worked for 25 years until his eventual retirement in 1973.
He also picked up where he had left off with Annie and they were married in 1953, after a years engagement.
The couple gave birth to first daughter Frances, in 1955. Followed by Elizabeth in 1958 and third daughter Anne, who was born in 1968.
Jim was a keen painter and had amassed a huge collection of photographs, having took many of the photo’s himself over 70 years. He wrote many books some with his good friend Charlie Emmett, mainly about the history of Carlisle, putting using his extensive collection of photographs to good use. He also had many local exhibitions of his photographic work at the local art venue; Tullie House.
He photographed and met many Royals in his time, more recently he met Prince Charles during his visit to the city after the 2005 floods.
Jim’s wife Annie sadly died in 2003, after 51 years of marriage.
Despite being in failing health, Jim was still going strong into his 90′s, more recently in 2007 releasing his autobiography which he wrote himself, followed up by a personal appearance to sign books in the local Waterstones Bookstore.
Jim received and many letters from all round the world regarding the Spaceman Incident and he used to reply to as many correspondence personally, as he could.
He died on 27th November 2011 and his death closes a chapter on one of the most remarkable UFO incidents in modern history, which is still unexplained.
You can read more of Jim’s fascinating life in his autobiography, which you can buy here on amazon.
The “Real” Cumberland Spaceman – Background to the event
Investigations Into The Solway Spaceman Photo- My Own Investigation
Spaceman/Woomera/Blue Streak incident – The Spaceman On The Launch Pad In Australia
The Men In Black Visit Jim Templeton – A look at the MIB incident
Below is a letter Jim wrote to the Daily Mail in 2002, in somewhat of a reply to questions over the Spaceman incident :
“Photographer Comments On Cumberland Spaceman Picture”
by James Templeton
Daily Mail, London / England – Dec 13.02
As an amateur photographer on a day-trip with my family, I took the photograph on Burgh Marsh on May 23, 1964, using an SLR camera loaded with the new Kodacolor film which was processed by Kodak.
I took three pictures of my daughter Elizabeth in a similar pose – and was shocked when the middle picture came back from Kodak displaying what looks like a spaceman in the background.
I took the picture to the police in Carlisle who, after many doubts, examined it and stated there was nothing suspicious about it.
The local newspaper, the Cumberland News, picked up the story and within hours it was all over the world.
The picture is certainly not a fake, and I am as bemused as anyone else as to how this image appeared in the background.
Over the four decades the photo has been in the public domain, I have had many thousands of letters from all over the world with various ideas or possibilities – most of which make little sense to me.
It should also be noted that I have received no payment for taking this picture.
The only suggestion that struck a chord with me was a letter from Woomera in Australia which came a month after the picture was shown around the world.
The people there were keen to see a good colour copy of the photo, as they had stopped a countdown of the Blue Streak rocket within hours of my photo being taken.
Apparently, two similar looking ‘spacemen’ had been seen close to the rocket.
Only later did I find out that part of the Blue Streak rocket was made and tested within sight of Burgh Marsh.
Update 2012 – I found an interesting article on Newsandstar about Jim’s photographic legacy.