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August 1974 - Castle Vale, Solihull & Liverpool - Oval UFO Formation Sightings

Updated: Aug 25, 2019

Birmingham UFO Group Case Report Last Updated: 29/03/2018


This report covers a stunning incident involving a formation of UFOs which took place in early August 1974 and was witnessed by many people at various locations around England. The incident was investigated by a previous UFO group based in Birmingham named the Unidentified Flying Objects Study and Information Service (UFOSIS), and also made the newspapers. In December 2009 Andrew, one of a number of witnesses who saw the objects over Castle Vale, attended one of BUFOG’s monthly meetings. Afterwards he sent me details of his sighting at my request.

On 14th August 2010 I was contacted by another man named Gary Smith. He informed me that he too had witnessed the fleet of UFOs, along with up to 30 other witnesses in the area of Campden Green, Solihull! He got in touch after doing a search for the incident on the net and locating this report detailing the Castle Vale sighting! I was extremely pleased by this, as this is one of the reasons I write these reports in the first place.

On 1st September 2010 I met Gary at Campden Green so he could go through his sighting with me directly. I returned there the following day to take some photographs which can be seen in this report.

In April 2011 another man got in touch with me via Richard Hall's website, and he spoke of an incident involving a formation of UFOs. He claimed it happened in 1973 but did not seem certain. I feel that he probably has the year wrong, and is probably speaking of the same incident.

In January 2017, a lady got in touch via E-Mail to inform me that she and her mother had also witnessed the blue orbs observed by the gentlemen at Castle Vale prior to the appearance of the formation.

In March 2018 Gary put me in touch with Leigh Brooks, another of the witnesses who was present for the sighting in Solihull. He too gave a statement about what he remembered seeing.

The fact that this incident has been reported now by four different groups of individuals is extremely impressive. It remains the most highly reported incident that I have yet investigated.


Andrew’s notes on the incident are very comprehensive so I have reproduced them in their entirety below, which is why they are written in 1st person.


Early August 1974 (Round about the 4th or 5th).


Tangmere Drive, Castle Vale, North Birmingham.

Map of sighting location (Position marked A is where the witnesses were standing):


What Happened

A friend of mine, Nigel, his girlfriend Sandra and I were waiting at a bus stop between 10.45 and 11.00 pm following an evening at a pub disco (The Albatross Pub, now demolished).

Castle Vale lies under the flight path to Birmingham Airport, so we were used to seeing and identifying aeroplanes on final landing approach. We had in previous years also spent evenings watching the Pleiades meteorites (late August- early September) entering the atmosphere from Nigel’s back garden, and could easily differentiate between a plane and a meteorite.

This particular evening while we waiting for the bus to arrive, a medium sized passenger plane passed overhead heading for Birmingham Airport, the aircraft noise causing me to look up. The plane was travelling roughly North to South at several hundred feet and descending.

As I watched the plane pass over head, I noticed two small blue/white lights following the plane very closely, less than half a planes length behind it, both points of light were constant, not blinking or changing colour, were parallel to each other and no more than 50 feet apart, based on the relative size of the plane. I drew the attention of my friend Nigel to the sight, and as we watched, the twin spots of light stopped following the plane stopped abruptly and then shot off in opposite directions, in right angles with respect to the path of the plane (West & East) at amazing speeds and were out of sight in seconds.

Map showing route of aeroplane and UFOs:


Map showing path of UFOs after they changed course:


It was as we tried to follow the path of one of the light spots (East bound) that the main event happened.

A group of oval/egg-shaped self illuminated objects, at least 8, possibly 10 or even 12 in number in a clearly defined V formation passed overhead from due East to North West at an astonishing speed.

There was no noise, and any estimate of height or size was difficult to gauge as there was no real terms of reference. However, it was a very clear night with no cloud cover and a lot of stars visible, and even though there was a high degree of light pollution from the surrounding houses, because Castle Vale is flat (it used to be Castle Bromwich Aerodrome), it was possible to track these objects clearly from horizon to horizon as they passed overhead, and although it happened very quickly it was possible to see stars being obscured by the objects as they passed.

The objects appeared a pearlescent silvery white and internally illuminated not reflective, and had a silvery-yellow/green corona surrounding around and extending out from each object as distance equivalent to about 5 or 10% of the size of the object. There were no other lights or colours visible, and the formation was a very tight V shape with a lead oval object and at least 4 objects fanned out either side of it in a trailing line.

Witness drawing of how formation of UFOs appeared:


Although it was impossible to gauge the objects height, I had a feeling that they were very high up in the atmosphere, which also implied that they must have been travelling extremely fast. I would describe them as each being about the size of an egg held at arms length. The whole formation took no more than two or three seconds to traverse from horizon to horizon. It was that fast.

Map showing route of UFO formation:


Nigel and I looked at each other in awe. Nigel’s girlfriend Sandra had not witnessed the event, and before we spoke about the sighting, other than to say something like “did you see that?” we decided to each tell Sandra independently what we saw so that we could not influence each other.

Needless to say, our experience tallied exactly and we were left with the certain knowledge that we had witnessed a truly unidentified aerial phenomenon.

Follow Up

The following day I rang Birmingham Airport to report my sighting and asked if the two small white objects following the plane had been visible/identified on radar, and what the hell were the other UAPs that we had witness just seconds after the plane had passed over the estate?

I was told that there was no record in the duty log of any unusual sighting or anomalous object recorded on radar or visually sighted, but I was told that the Airport had been inundated with similar calls and that they had just set up a special phone line to handle the calls, so I was transferred to an un-named person (I never asked) who proceeded to asked me a series of questions in a very efficient and structured way which made me think that whoever he was, he was skilled at asking for information.

I was asked to recount our sighting, he interjected with many questions, i.e. shape, colour, speed, number of objects, direction of travel etc and then asked me what I thought it was we’d seen. I thought this was an unusual line so I asked him where he was from and why he was dealing with this incident like this, he told me that he was a “press officer” who was trying to reassure people that there was no cause for alarm. He declined to answer the “Where are you from” question. Although he did try to ridicule my sighting by suggesting that we had probably seen the planet Venus, marsh gas, headlights reflecting off clouds or a meteorite.

When I asked him what was it that we had witnessed, he replied “If you find out let me know”.

I called Nigel to tell him what had happened, and we decided that I would call the Airport again to try and find out who it was I’d spoken to. I called the Airport at about 3.00 pm, and as there had been a staff rotation since my earlier call, and no one recalled anything about it. I was told that no one had been talking calls on this subject and that any reports of UFO’s would have been recorded in the duty log and as there were none, despite me having called them less than 4 hour earlier - I must be mistaken.

Next Steps

The objects had been seen by many other eye-witnesses with reports of sightings from as far afield as Hull and the Humber estuary, right down through Bristol, Devon and Cornwall being made.

The Birmingham Mail had a front page article about the “unusual fiery meteorite” visible over the midlands for several minutes the previous evening. A collation of eye witness reports revealed an S shaped flight path over the West Midlands, and this pattern was repeated over other parts of the country. A diagram with the estimated route was part of the front page article.

The Edgbaston Observatory promptly produced an expert who stated that what we had seen was either a meteorite or a bit of space junk entering the atmosphere and burning up. This seemed at odds with the reported sighting positions, as a re-entering object tends to travel in a straight line, not perform aerial manoeuvres.

Because of the massive interest this news item generated, BRMB ran the story and interviewed the founders of UFOSIS which was based in Birmingham to seek out their take on the event and UFO’s in general. Many people called into the station with their sightings and UFOSIS gave out a phone number for anyone who wanted to contact them for a further discussion.

Nigel and I arranged to see them and visited their flat which was located in one of the twin tower blocks on Holloway circus. We both gave independent witness statements, being in separate rooms, and although our stories again matched in key details, there were some small details that did differ, although they would not discuss it with us. They said they would follow up on the Airport call mystery and would provide feedback at a later date. The results of their investigations in to the Airport phone line mystery was a dead end. No further information ever came to light.

Strange as it may seem with hindsight, no one at the time though to speak to the MOD about the sightings. In fact I’m not sure we ever knew at that time that the MoD investigated or recorded UFO sightings, although I suppose the ex military guys may have known.

I subsequently joined the UFOSIS group, who used to meet monthly in a pub in Harbourne; we undertook several sky watches on Harbourne Golf course where we spent the night viewing the skies through binoculars and I also participated in field interviews of people who had witnessed other strange sightings around the West Midlands.


It was all over in a couple of seconds but the memory of the sighting will stay with me forever. I became a convert to the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and began to read many of the key reference works on the subject. My personal favourites, probably because they were the first ones I read on this subject are: The Spaceships of Ezekiel by Joseph F Blumrich, Operation Trojan Horse by John A Keel and the Chariots of the Gods by Erich Von Daniken.

Second Blue Orbs Sighting

In January 2017 I was contacted by a lady who claimed that she and her mother had also witnessed these orbs on the same evening. She seemed very excited that someone else had reported seeing them. Sadly she did not respond to further E-Mails that were sent to her, so we only have the initial information she provided to go on.

She claims that as she and her mother were walking home along Gunther Road (within a mile of Tangmere Close) they observed two blue glowing orbs in the sky. The orbs descended until they were only 15 feet above their heads. They appeared to be quite small, about the size of dinner plates. 

Aerial map showing the positions of Gunther Road (A) and Tangmere Drive (B):


The orbs then hovered for a period of about 5 seconds, before suddenly shooting back up into the sky in an ascending arc to the right, and were soon lost from sight.

There is no mention of an aeroplane in the lady's statement, so it is assumed that at the time there was not one present. It is possible that they witnessed them prior to Andrew and Nigel, but this is not known for sure.


Sighting Details

Gary’s sighting of the UFOs occurred at Campden Green in Solihull. Campden Green is a roughly oval shaped area of grass surrounded by a road and housing. He was on the green with his football team and had just finished a match. They would often use the green for this purpose. There was no official pitches or goal posts, they would just use bags to mark out the goal lines. It was a dry, still and quite warm night.

Photograph of Campden Green:


Gary does not know the exact time the sighting took place, only that it was late and the sun had set. The sky had patchy clouds but was mostly clear, with both the moon and stars fully visible. One of Gary’s team mates was standing a short distance away from the rest of them on the other side of a couple of trees near one edge of the green. Suddenly he shouted out “What the fuck is that?!” Gary and the others looked over and he was pointing up at the sky. They ran past the trees to see what he was looking at. In the night sky to the North West was a V-shaped formation of either 7/9 oval shaped objects. They appeared to be dull metallic silver in colour and had a slight orange tinge to them, possibly reflection from the street lights below. Gary had no idea of how high they were but did not appear to be at low altitude. He could see the stars between the objects so knew that they were separate objects rather than one large UFO.

Photograph of the two trees near where Gary and his team stood:


Photograph from where the team were stood in the direction that the UFOs first appeared:


The objects were approaching from the North West of the green, heading in a South East direction towards the witnesses. They were moving very slowly, probably no more than 10 mph. This of course meant that everyone present could have a proper good look at the objects. They were completely silent as they slowly approached, and passed the witnesses slightly off to their right but nearly overhead.

By this time Gary noticed that other people had started to come out of their houses and were also looking up at the objects. They were probably aware of the team standing, staring and pointing up at the sky and had come outside to see what was going on. Nobody from the houses approached him or the team they just stood at their doors watching. Due to the position of the team players, the objects were lost from sight behind the trees they were standing close to. They ran to the other side of the trees, and noticed that the objects were changing course. Before long they were heading in a South South West direction. They then appeared to stop turning and continued away from the green at a slow pace.

Aerial map of Campden Green showing the path of the UFOs:


Photograph in the direction that the UFOs left Campden Green in:


Within about ¼ of a mile from the green the objects suddenly came to a halt in the sky. All the witnesses continued to watch the objects. After about 3 minutes, all of a sudden the object at the front of the V formation (the middle one) started to wobble erratically. It did this for about 30 seconds. Then without warning all the objects massively accelerated vertically and were lost from sight within a few seconds!

The entire sighting from start to finish was about 5-6 minutes in length. Everyone present was absolutely blown away by what they had just seen, and realised that no earth-made objects would have been able to perform the manoeuvre with which the UFOs left the area. Nobody outside the houses came over and talked with Gary and his team mates. 

Second Witness Statement

In March 2018 Gary managed to get in touch with Leigh Brooks, one of the other witnesses who was there in 1974. He confirmed that he recalled the incident and would be happy to talk to me about it. I got in touch via phone to ask him about what he remembered. He informed me that his memory of what happened was a little hazy as it had occured so long ago, but he was still able to go over what he did recall. For readability I have condensed his responses to my various questions into a single statement:

"Me and Gary go back years. We used to regularly play football at Camden Green. I was 17 years old at the time. It was a nice evening with plenty of light. We had been playing football on the green for ages. I can't remember the exact time, it was late evening, with still some light in the sky. We had finished the match and were stood around having a chat.

All of a sudden there were these stationary lights above us. I can't remember who spotted them first. Egg-shaped things above us, five or six of them. They all looked the same. They were a silvery-blue colour and gave off a glow. They were all together in a cluster, and looked about the size of a small car. To look at it they didnt look that high, possibly as high as a police helicopter would fly. They were just hovering there. We looked up at them wondering what they were. We must have only looked at them for seconds but it seemed much longer at the time. Then in the blink of an eye they shot off! I can't remember whether they shot straight up or off in a direction. There was no trail left behind, they had just gone. They went as fast as they appeared.

After they had gone we just looked at each other, and someone exclaimed 'What the fuck was that?!' The incident changed my views on the UFO subject. To actually see it with my own eyes was mind-blowing. I have never to this day seen anything similar. A few years after it happened I tried to blank it out and kid myself it did not happen, but it did.

As you can see there are a number of discrepancies when comparing Leigh's account with Gary's, especially the fact that Leigh does not recall them flying over the green, but just hovering over their heads. However discrepancies such as these are common with multiple witness sightings, especially when they have occured a long time ago. It is clear that Leigh is reporting the same incident, and I am very pleased that he has come forward with this statement.

Sighting Analysis

This is a very impressive sighting, and I believe clearly of the same objects that were witnessed over Castle Vale. The description of the colour of the objects slightly varies between the sightings, but this is common, and is often down to individual perception. It is unknown which sighting occurred first. The Castle Vale sighting occurred between 10.45-11pm. Gary does not remember when his sighting took place, but says that it was late. The fact that the objects were seen to be moving extremely fast over Castle Vale, but in the Solihull sighting were moving very slowly and also appeared to either travel to a very high altitude or even leave the atmosphere at the end of the sighting tends to suggest that the Solihull sighting occurred after the Castle Vale one, but this is by no means proven.

In the Castle Vale sighting the objects came from the East and travelled to the North West. In the Solihull sighting the objects appeared from the North West. Solihull is directly South from Castle Vale, so it seems likely that after the objects had disappeared from sight of the Castle Vale witnesses, they then turned and headed South, and then as they neared the area of Campden Green turned and started moving South East.

This is just speculation, however Andrew says that when numerous witness reports were correlated soon after the incident they revealed the objects had been moving in long S-shaped paths over numerous areas of England. Both of these sightings could well have lay on one of these paths. If the objects were seen performing these routes at various places in England, but not seen in between, this suggests they were either asending out of sight, making themselves invisible or teleporting between different locations. Perhaps at the end of the Solihull sighting when the objects shot straight upwards extremely fast, they then moved to another location in the country before descending again. We will probably never know for sure.


In April 2011 a man got in touch with Richard Hall about two UFO experiences he had witnessed in the 1970’s. One of these appears to be related to the 1974 formation incident. John (Name changed for privacy reasons) states that the sighting took place in the summer of 1973 but seems unclear on this, so it could have easily been 1974 considering how long ago this was. Unfortunately he has not yet got back to me with additional information, so at present I only have his initial notes to go on.

John claims that he was playing with his friends on the local cricket field, about 8 miles from Liverpool airport. He was about 11 years old at the time. It was about 8pm in the evening and the weather was pleasant and clear. The light was just beginning to fade in the sky. Suddenly seemingly from nowhere, five large disc-shaped objects appeared in the sky over them. The discs were glowing a bright cream white colour. They were in the same formation as the dots on the 5 side of a dice, with four in a square and the fifth in the centre. The edges of the discs were very crisp and clear, but the objects did seem self luminescent. It was hard to accurately judge their height and size, but John got the impression that they were very large and hundreds of feet in the air.

The discs hovered silently above them for a while. John and the others there began talking to each other asking things like “What the hell is that?” Without warning the centre disc then moved forward, making a V-shape formation with the other discs. Within a couple of seconds of this manoeuvre, all the discs suddenly shot straight upwards at incredible speed and vanished from sight.

John has so far not provided me with any information relating to what happened next. He did mention that he does not believe the incident was mentioned in the newspaper, but as he was young he did not read the paper anyway so perhaps there was something.

I feel that John may have the year of the incident wrong and that this was another sighting of the formation of UFOs that was seen up and down England that night. There are many aspects that are very similar to the other witness testimonies I have so far received. These similarities include the time of year and time of day the sighting occurred, shape of the discs, their colouration, the fact they were in formation and that prior to the sighting ending formed a V-shape, and the way in which the UFOs suddenly shot straight upwards. I hope to hear back from John soon and if so may be able to add further detail to his story of what took place.

Special Note: John also had another UFO sighting in 1976/77. You can find details of this sighting in a separate case report. Click here to go straight to the report.


This incident is absolutely stunning, and made all the more impressive by the fact that the objects were seen by many witnesses at different locations across the country, not just Castle Vale and Solihull but according to Andrew elsewhere as well. Because of the various matching testimonies there is no question that the objects were real.

The small blue/white orbs reported by Andrew, and later by the other female witness, displayed clearly intelligent manoeuvres which appeared intentional. Because of this, mundane explanations such as meteorites, satellites or lit balloons can be discounted.

The formation was even more impressive, again displaying obvious intelligence in their structured positioning to one another. I feel that anyone who tries to explain these away as one or more meteorites/satellites is either not thinking straight or deluding themselves, as neither of these flying in organised formations. The objects were clearly under intelligent control – they turned without moving out of formation, altered their speed and also at the end of the Solihull sighting ascended vertically at an incredible velocity, much too fast for them to have been radio controlled models or some other hoax. If what Birmingham airport told Andrew was true, then the objects were also invisible on radar.

The follow up calls performed by Andrew after his sighting are fascinating, and suggest that a cover up about the objects may well have taken place. Birmingham airport transferred his call to an un-named person who proceeded to ask him many questions about what he’d seen, and even ridicule him about the sighting. When Andrew asked who he was he replied that he was a press officer. But when he rang back to the airport a second time later, they informed him that no-one had been taking any calls about the objects and that there was nothing in the duty log about it. As a matter of course, calls taken would be added to this log, so why would their call have been left out of it? It seems likely that it was either not added for a specific reason, or that it was in the log and whoever Andrew spoke to on his second call was lying to him.

Could the objects have been secret military craft of some kind? If so it seems unlikely they would fly them right across England, including over highly populated cities. And the manoeuvre they performed at the end of the Solihull sighting would surely have created G-forces way too high for a human pilot to endure. Also what reason would they have for tailing a commercial passenger jet with smaller glowing craft, this would surely put them in even more danger of being spotted.

After taking all the evidence into consideration, I feel it can be concluded that this was a genuine sighting of a formation of unexplained intelligently controlled craft, which could well have been extraterrestrial in origin.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2018



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