The Blue Streak / Woomera incident gives the Spaceman story its mysterious aspect.
The mystery of the strange figure on the Marsh is something I have looked at extensively in my Investigations into the Spaceman Photo here, but when you add in that alleged figure/figures matching the Spaceman were seen running about the Woomera missle testing site in Australia – at the same time, it really does add up to a strange tale indeed.
For the full backstory, see my article the Real Cumberland Spaceman. However, to sum up, after the Spaceman photo was picked up by the local and then National papers, Jim Templeton was told that the Australian press wanted a copy of the negative, as they were linking it to an incident at the Bluestreak Rocket testing facility, in Woomera.
The incident as reported, was that a missile test scheduled for the day after the Burgh Marsh encounter on 24 May 1964 had to be aborted into the countdown as a camera on the range picked up “two large white clad figures” wandering around the site.
Thus, the connection was born between the figure in the photo and the missile test. If that wasn’t enough, a link was made between the Marsh encounter and the fact the Blue Streak rocket had been assembled at RAF Spadeadam base (about 25-30 miles away on the Cumbria/Northumberland border.
The Bluestreak missile was originally part of the UK’s post war intercontinental ballistic missiles program intended to deliver a Nuclear payload. The costs spiralled and the missile tests showed preparation and fuelling time meant it was an ineffective early response measure. Also, the missiles fuel was a highly volatile fuel mix of liquid / Kerosene meant it was vunerable to enemy counter-attack. An answer was to build a huge underground silo, but the British Government baulked at this idea due to cost. Australia, as part of the commonwealth – still had a stake in the programme so the project was moved to a site in Woomera, Australia. By this time, the project was refocused to launch satellite’s into Earth orbit.
The Woomera Testing Site
The site is located in the Southern Outback of Australia and has tested many rockets and missiles over the years – it still does. From 1964-70, it hosted testing of the Blue Streak rocket.
The actual missile tests in 1964 took place on the following dates according to Wikipedia :
5 June 1964 & 21 October 1964.
Jim T in an interview stated that he was told the abandoned missile test took place the day after the photo was taken, it may just be time and age dulling his mind. But its permissible that by the time the story broke in Australia (A copy of the negative had to be sent down under) then the 5 June 1964 was the next permissible close date to the incident.
The first launch on the 5 June 1964 was recorded by Pathe news :
BLUE STREAK – TWO, ONE, ZERO!
The original launch although successful cataloged a number of problems with the rocket described as :
“uncontrollable oscillations during final phase of burn due to fuel sloshing in tanks…”
There was originally some confusion over this video as it had originally gone missing from the British National Archives canister and UK UFO researcher Jenny Randles was unable to locate it during her own investigation. Some files came to light in 2010 – from the Ministry Of Defence and made reference to the film involving a ‘camera lens flair’ which appeared just before launch and was originally thought to be a UFO of somekind.
After the the third launch of the Rocket on 23 March 1964, the following Pathe film was released :
AUSTRALIA – CHEERS FOR BLUE STREAK
So that is all very well, but where did the report come from of the large, white clad men walking around on the launch site then?
A search of the net reveals little on what was supposed to be a sensational story. However, a report concerning a Group Captain Tom Dalton-Morgan who ran the missle facility at Woomera from 1959-1963, jumped out at me.
“Prior to the test firing of an earlier “Blue Streak” rocket, observers stationed 100 miles down range called to tell Tom that there was a ‘light’ heading his way at incredible speed, towards restricted air space. Tom and several scientists watched as the light circled the facility, then shot away and vanished. He remarked that he “could not conceive of any plane or missle that was able to perform the maneuvers seen by my team”. He said UFOs were frequently seen in the area. In 1964, they had aborted the launch of another test when a ‘white being’ was seen on the automatic security cameras.”
Well popular belief is that there is a missing time frame before the well documented first successful launch of 05 June 1964 between May 23rd – May 30th, this would then fit in better with the timeframe of the Spaceman picture being taken on 23 May. Is their any evidence of this?
I found a film in the National Archive of the buildup to the first launch, including the pre-tests at Spadeadam. Its about 14 minutes long but covers a good slice of the rockets journey from England to Australia.
The History of ELDO Part 1: 1961-1964 (HSR-010) – Page 23. which covers Bluestreak and the period says :
“The first live firing was eventually fixed for the 25 May 1964 but was stopped automatically 2 and a half hours before launch, due to ‘bad weather’ “.
More interestingly, the next launch attempt yielded something truly mysterious :
“On 2 June 1964 engines stopped automatically 3 seconds due to a ‘fault of obscure nature in safety systems of both rocket and ground installations’ “.
A Report by Officer in Scientific Charge – H.G.R. Robinson included both of the above launch attempts :
For 25 May attempt : “However, deterioration in the weather during the morning of Monday, 25th May, forced a postponement of the trial after holding the sequence at minus 2 1/2 hours (pre-liquid oxygen filling).”
For the 2 June attempt : “…..the 3rd firing attempt was made on Tuesday 2 June, the attempt was aborted at minus 2.6 ascends, after engine light up, at 9.48 a.m. The abort was diagnosed as due to automatic stop action initiated by the Safety Interim Checkout Equipment located in E.C. 6. This equipment automatically detected a momentary failure of one of the four vehicle WREBUS command break up receivers to recive a ‘prohibit’ signal.”
In plain English, the computer systems itself aborted the launch rather than human intervention.
I found one other news report in the Australian archive (which I could not view) but was about the aborted launch attempts, due to weather.
Other than that, I cannot find one independant single news report, interview or comment about “white clad beings”, not one.
So if the authorities had covered up an unusual incident at the firing range then its funny there is nothing, 40 years later even though the UK Ministry Of Defence came clean nearly 5 years ago about what we knew.
So is the “white clad men on the launch pad” a convolution of the long time missing 5 June film, the unusual UFO flare effect on the rediscovered film, the aborted launches of 25 May & 2 June and the result of years and years of chinese whispers?
Group Captain Tom Dalton-Morgan is a compelling witness but his tenure at the site ended in 1963 and second part of the report on him bears all of the hallmarks of “heresay” or something he heard later. Infact, Dr David Clarke interviewed Captain Dalton Morgan prior to his death and this infact turned out to be the case – that he was not directly aware of a specific launchpad incident.
The main proponent of the “white clad men” is Jim T himself, recounting the story based on something he said he was told.
The crew at Woomera were frequently buzzed by UFO phenomenon between the 50′s and 70′s and alot of reports that were made can be seen in desclassified Australian Government Documents.
The lack of a credibly written report from the time of an incident involving ‘men on the pad’ is suspicious to say the least. The one thing that is apparent is that men in White suits walked the test range everyday prior to launch; these were the technicians themselves.
Until I find something more compelling on the “white suited beings on the pad” or evidence of a coverup, I will have to write this up as nothing more than a well crafted story using basic elements of verifiable truth. This is the main reason why I refer to the Spaceman incident as “The Solway Spaceman legend”.
The “Real” Cumberland Spaceman – Background to the event
Investigations Into The Solway Spaceman Photo- My Own Investigation
The Men In Black Visit Jim Templeton – A look at the MIB incident
Jim Templeton – Bio/Obituary