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Summer 1967-73 - Rushden & Eastcombe - Cigar UFO Sightings

Updated: Nov 7

Birmingham UFO Group Case Report

Author: Ian Jones

Release Date: 28/04/2023

Last Updated: 07/11/2023

This report covers two sightings of cigar shaped UFOs from two separate locations by independent witnesses. The key witness from Rushden, a lady named Paula Moss, got in touch with BUFOG in the spring of 2023. The initial version of this case report was released on 28th April. Later in the year a man named John from Eastcombe got in touch as a result of reading the report to discuss his own sighting. There are a number of similarities between the two sightings which suggest they may have been of the same object.

Rushden Sighting

The Sighting: Occurred sometime between 1967 and 1973

The Time of Year: Sometime during the summer

The Time of Day: Between 5.30 and 6 pm

The Place: Rushden, Northamptonshire

Paula lived in Rushden, Northampton, in the late 1960s to early 1970s. She cannot be more precise about the year when this event happened to her and her husband and neighbours. She was in her 20s. Their house at 28 Mallery Close, a cul-de-sac, was in a row of 4 semi-detached terraced houses with a gap down the middle, which gave access to the rear gardens. The area has changed since then, but the following pictures indicate the general nature of the area.

2009 view of the houses in Mallery Close
Ariel map of Mallery Close as it is now, with Paula’s house circled

Paula’s Testimony

It was sometime during the summer months between 5.30 and 6 pm. It was daylight and no electrical items were being used.

Paula reports that she was in the kitchen cooking a meal, when suddenly the pans on the gas stove began to vibrate and a terrifyingly loud roaring noise could be heard. Then the cooker began to shake and the house to vibrate and shake. She thought at first that the cause might be an earthquake, so she ran out into the back garden. The occupants of the other houses had also gathered outside, clinging to one another.

Paula reports that the ground was actually shaking and the noise became more deafening and it seemed to be coming from above them, in the sky. However, initially there was nothing visible. Then it was a terrible shock as a huge “rocket shaped thing” came over the rooftops, really low so that they thought it would crash. Lengthwise it was like a passenger jet. It reminded her of a tube, rounded, but open at the back. It had no wings, or fins.

The noise was incredible, overpowering, and there were masses of flames belching out of the tail end, which was round. The flames were enormous.

She says “I think they were multi-coloured, but also invisible, which is mad, but I say that because I could see up into the rear end and the inside looked dark. What was strange was that it wasn’t going very fast somehow. Then it gained height, still not going fast. It was like a plane with no wings, or a sort of missile, just terrifying. I don’t recall seeing any markings on it. Suddenly, within a garden’s length, it went upwards at speed and was suddenly gone – flames gone, noise gone, vibration gone. There was complete silence as we waited for the explosion, that never happened. There was no smoke, or smell. We didn’t have any pets, so no problems with them.”

Paula's drawing of what she saw

She said it cleared the rooftops and seemed to be heading towards Chelveston Air Base.

Just before the object disappeared, Ivor, a friend of Paula’s, who lived less than 2 miles away, ran into their garden. He had heard and seen the object at his house and followed it, either by car or motor-bike, from when it was over his house, to their house.

“No air traffic, clear, if you get a map and can find The Hayway, or just Hayway, that is where Ivor lived. The object flew in a straight line diagonally from there to over our house.”

Ivor worked at the US Upper Heyford Air Base and said he thought it was some sort of missile, or perhaps a plane was in trouble. After the event he phoned them to report the strange sighting and was told that there was nothing in the local air space.

Paula emphasises that the object’s speed was weird. “How it stayed in the air was remarkable, I would say too slow to be airborne, but I know nothing about planes. How it suddenly vanished even now sounds unreal.”

“What I cannot understand is how Ivor managed to get to my house in time to see it shoot off! I think that is why we felt it would crash on us. So to blink out was probably scarier.”

Paula’s husband confirms the event. He says it reminded him of the Doodlebugs he’s seen in war films, although not the size of the object, but in particular the loud roaring of the engine and the sudden silence after seeing it disappear from sight, and then expecting an explosion, which never happened. He thinks that either the explosives didn’t work, or they were not present.

Paula comments “The whole row of houses was involved and with the noise many other neighbours no doubt, but weirdly it was never discussed. Like it was pretended it never happened. My husband and I had never spoken of it until I asked him which direction the airbase was in. It was like the thing dropped a feeling of 'that's OK nothing to see here.’ We have never spoken of it, even to our son, that in itself is probably weird.”

She looked in the local press at the time, and also since then, to see whether there were any other reports of the object, but there have been none.

She then says that “It is unbelievable I realise, but I doubt I have ever been as terrified in my life as that day.”

Paula moved away from Rushden to Buckinghamshire shortly after this, so lost contact with her neighbours. Ivor also moved away.

General Analysis

Paula’s sighting was a long time ago and she admits that there are some details that she is not certain about, or has forgotten, such as the date and year it took place. However, the core elements of the event – the loud noise, the shaking of appliances and buildings, the appearance of the object, the neighbours’ reactions, her friend Ivor turning up because of seeing the object as well – are the main elements that she does remember. On that basis, this is an interesting and unusual report.

Based on Paula’s description, weather-related causes and astronomical causes can be ruled out.

Similarly, Paula’s description does not suggest this was a conventional airborne object, such as a passenger aircraft, jet fighter, or helicopter. Nor could it have been a glider, micro-light, balloon, blimp, etc.

Factors that are significant in this report include:

1. The speed at which the object was moving.

2. The description of the object.

3. The appearance of intense flames from the rear of the object.

4. The loud noise it made.

5. The way it caused things to vibrate and shake.

6. How it disappeared, suddenly.

7. The location of the sighting, where it came from and was heading towards.

8. The lack of reports in the media from people in the local area.

9. The lack of confirmation of anything by way of an incident from the local air base.

Focused Analysis

1. For such a reportedly large object (like a passenger jet, but with no wings) to be moving so slowly seems to defy the usual laws of physics. From the Hayway, where Ivor lived, to Paula’s house in a straight line, which is the track the object would have taken, is about 1.2 miles, as in the map below.

The distance the object travelled, with Paula’s friend following it from his house was 1.2 miles

For Ivor to have been able to follow it from his house via local roads, to Paula’s, according to Google maps, the shortest route was 1.5 miles, which would take about 6-8 minutes, depending on the traffic conditions.

Paula can’t recall whether he used a car, or motor-bike, but both would have needed time to get started and then to be parked on his arrival at Paula’s as well.

Adding in those factors, the time Ivor took to travel the 1.5 miles to her house and run into the back garden, at best, could have been about 10 minutes. However, this means that the object travelled just over a mile in 10 minutes, which is less than 10 miles an hour!

Yet for Ivor to be able to initially hear and see the object and then to follow it as he drove along confirms that it MUST have been clearly visible and moving at a very slow speed, compared with any other usual flying object. Otherwise, he would have lost sight of it. At that sort of speed it should have stalled and crashed.

Pauls says she has always been puzzled by this whole event, the slow speed of the object and the fact Ivor could have followed it at all. “I have never been able to explain the time factors or the slowness of sudden appearance…I cannot think you can explain it, because it sounds so impossible.”

The approximate direction the object was moving in, from Hayway to Paula’s house, was from the NW to SE. Paula says she thinks it was going towards Chelveston Air Base, but this is more to the NE of where she lives, about 5 miles away.

2. As Paula says, her description is like that of a rocket, or missile, flying horizontally.

As far as I have been able to discover, it is not likely that it was either of these things. Rockets take off vertically and do not fly horizontally, certainly not at the height Paula describes.

Rockets cannot move at slow speeds, typically they move at hundreds of miles an hour, and they do not manoeuvre in flight. Accidental launchings of rockets do not happen. There were no rockets launched in this country at that time, even on a test basis. All rocket test launchings were conducted overseas, such as at Cape Kennedy in Florida in the USA, or at Woomera in South Australia.

Regarding missiles, there had been, for example, the Thor intermediate-range ballistic missile system located at many sites in eastern England, but they were withdrawn from service by 1966. They were over 60 feet long and about 6 feet wide, but had to be launched vertically, their liquid propellant only burned for 3 minutes and they travelled at about 10,000 mph up to a height of up to 1100 miles! All testing was done in the USA.

Thor missile

Short-range surface-to-air missiles, used for airfield defence, such as the Tigercat, were also located at many RAF airbases. They were heavy subsonic missiles that had a maximum range of over 3 miles. The altitude was limited to about 3,000 ft due to the low power of the rocket motor. Upon launch there was a dead zone of about 1,500 ft in which the operator had to actually see the missile whilst tracking the target at the same time. Then it was guided by radio. However, they were only about 5 ft long, 9 inches in diameter and had 4 wings that stuck out about 2 ft. All missiles at that time had wings and fins.

Tigercat missile

From 1966 the Thunderbird 2 surface-to-air missile was 20ft long and less than 2 ft in diameter, with a wingspan of over 5ft. It travelled at about 2,000mph with a range of up to 46 miles.

Thunderbird 2 missile

There were other, similar, missile systems around, but all were similar to those described above.

Clearly, safety concerns would prevent a missile from being test- fired anywhere near such a built-up area. The procedure for firing a missile means it cannot be done accidentally.

None of the missiles I have researched fitted the description Paula gives of the object she saw, specifically it’s remarkably slow speed, low horizontal flight and sudden disappearance.

3. Such military objects had markings on them, identifying their make and nationality. Paula says she saw no markings, or windows, on the object. However, perhaps it was some sort of fighter aircraft? So, where might it have come from?

Air bases in the Northamptonshire area: RAF Upper Heyford is about 24 miles to the WSW, near Bicester. In 1965 RAF Upper Heyford became a ‘standby base’, before a USAF Tactical Reconnaissance Wing arrived from France in 1966 and the role of RAF Upper Heyford changed. It’s role from 1971 was to house General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark tactical strike aircraft, as in the next picture.

F-111 Aardvark fighter jet

RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, which is over 60 miles to the East, also had the F-111 fighter aircraft at this time.

This aircraft was 74ft long, wingspan 63ft (32ft swept back), air speed up to 900 mph at sea level. It would have made a lot of noise.

There is no reason to think the US Air Force would fly their nuclear-armed fighters low over residential areas.

An aircraft such as the F-111 could have flown over the house, but it would have been flying a lot faster than the object was and it’s shape, markings and the way it disappeared do not fit in with Paula’s description. Her friend Ivor could not have followed it at all, by car or motor-bike.

RAF Chelveston is to the NW, about 5 miles away. Again, this is not the direction the object was travelling in. It hadn’t been active during the 1960s. This was closed due to Department of Defence budget cut-backs in the early 1970s.

RAF Croughton is 42 miles to the SW of Rushden. It was designated as part of the US Air Force Communications Service throughout the 1960s and 1970s. No rockets, or missiles were there.

RAF Harrington was 18 miles to the NW of Rushden, but the buildings, runways and taxiways were demolished in the mid-1960s and it became farmland.

Similar findings apply to other military airfields in England at that time.

4. Paula described the colours of the flames coming out of the rear of the object as being transparent close to the exit area, but then being multi-coloured. Also, she said they were belching out, suggesting a forceful, continuous blast. However, Paula says there was no smell associated with this incident. If the flames were the result of fuel combustion, there would be some sort of residual smell resulting from that process. As the object was moving slowly and just above the houses it would have been impossible to ignore.

5. The “terrible” loud noise Paula reports may have been the result of whatever the fuel was that was burning and powering the object.

6. The vibration of everything, from the house and it’s contents to the ground below it, was caused by the noise and movement of the object as it passed overhead.

Factors 5 and 6 suggest this was a real solid object.

7. The way in which the object disappeared was unusual. It started to move upwards, increasing in speed and then seemed to vanish suddenly. It didn’t move extremely fast out of sight. All sensory contact with it was lost simultaneously and instantly. That does not happen with a conventional aircraft, etc.

8. It was flying really low over a residential area, something that aircraft do not do, especially when they are no-where close to a landing site. If it had been an aircraft, or some other conventional flying object, that was in trouble, it would have crashed in the open fields across the A6 just to the east of Paula’s house, and made the news. But it disappeared completely in mid-air, so such an explanation does not apply.

9. At the time of day this happened, many people would have been at home, because it was around evening meal time. Yet despite the reported extremely loud noise and disruptive vibration caused by this object it doesn’t seem to have caused much discussion locally. From Hayway the object would have passed over the following: many houses and roads, a primary school, and the cricket club. It was a built-up area, so if the noise and vibration disturbed Paula and her neighbours, it should have had the same affect on many others living along the route below where this object travelled along. Yet this does not seem to have been the case, which is incredible.

10. The nearby air base at Upper Heyford said they didn’t have anything in the local air space that could explain Paula’s friend’s enquiry. In itself this is no help – they could have been with-holding information about something that did happen, but was sensitive information. If that is the case, we may never discover what happened.

Eastcombe Sighting

The Sighting: Occurred sometime between 1972 and 1973

The Time of Year: Sometime during the summer

The Time of Day: After 4 pm

The Place: Bismore Common, Eastcombe, near Stroud, Gloucestershire

Sighting Details

The following is the description John gave me of the sighting he had in the early 1970s. It was after school had finished for the day.

“It was sometime in the summer of 1973 or 2, it is a long time ago, so I do not remember all the details. It was in a wooded valley near the village of Eastcombe near Stroud, Gloucestershire. The actual location was in a field known as Bismore Common. I think I had gone down there with my friend after we had finished primary school for the day.

I was in their house next to the field when two of the girls ran in saying they could see a UFO. I ran outside and immediately spotted the object. It appeared to be about 2000 feet up (although altitude is difficult to work out) and was bullet shaped just like the picture you previously posted. I could not see flames coming out of the back, but it did have some sort of contrail coming out of the back.

This meant that I had a good look at it before it disappeared over the trees. There were no wings, fins or windows or anything to break the outline. From memory it seemed to be a dull bronze colour (I am slightly colour blind so take any description of colour from me with a pinch of salt). I would say the sighting took about two minutes or so.

It’s difficult to remember the month and exact time of day I saw it. I know I had school next day, so could not have been August and if I went down after school, it must have been BST rather than GMT. I think it must have been late afternoon about four-ish. All I can remember is that it was a bright day as the object was easy to see.

My friend denied seeing anything the next day in school (fear of ridicule I think) and it was only their late father who said anything about it afterwards.

The reason I have not mentioned it before, was the slow speed involved and the contrail which seemed to go against every other report.”

John also described the size of the object as like the fuselage of a modern jetliner and it was about 30-40 feet in diameter and that it may have been July when he saw it.

John's drawing of the object he saw

Eastcombe is about 3 km (about 2 miles) east of Stroud, 12 km (7.5 miles) south of Gloucester and Cheltenham, 30 km (19 miles) north-west of Swindon and 35-40 km (about 24 miles) north-east of Bristol and Bath. It is a relatively sparsely-populated area now and was probably more so in the early 1970s.

John can’t recall the address of the house he was in, but the field he saw the object from was known locally as Bismore, or Bismoor, Common. The red and blue icons on the maps below show where this is located, just to the north of Eastcombe village. They give slightly different geographical information about the location where John was.

Even today it is not easy to obtain good photos of this area. There is no road nearby, so a helpful google street image of it does not exist. It is not open farmland, but is at the bottom of a small valley with a stream running through it, surrounded on both sides by trees.

Map showing streams and rivers in the surrounding area
Map showing built up areas and woodland in the surrounding area

The house John was visiting is just to the right of the red icon in the below aerial map, but it is obscured by trees. The larger area around Bismore/Eastcombe is still a mixture of mostly open and wooded land.

John said that where he saw the object from “was a long flat field at the bottom of the valley, with a stream running through it. Woods on all sides & only able to see a few houses”.

Links With Rushden Sighting

John reports that the UAP came from the Southwest and it was heading Northeast. John was about 110 km (68 miles) away, in a straight line, from where Paula lived in Rushden and that trajectory would take the UAP towards her location. The direct route between Stroud and Rushden is over mostly open countryside. The only significant populated places over which the UAP would have passed are Banbury and to the south of Northampton. Both would have had smaller populations than they have now. Also, the roads between Stroud and Rushden would have been less busy then and they were not major roads anyway.

The flight-path of the object is also midway between the airports of Birmingham, to the north and Luton to the south-east.

The following section is an exercise in comparing the details in Paula’s and John’s descriptions of what they saw, to see whether there is much agreement between them. Then, to consider whether the object they saw, from their different locations, could be the same one.


John thought 1972 or 1973. Paula thought between 1968 and1973.

Time of year?

John thought a summer month, possibly July. Paula thought during the summer months.

Time of day?

John thought after school, late afternoon after 4 pm. Paula thought between 5.30 and 6 pm.

Weather conditions?

John described “either clear, or high cloud cover. A bright day, the object was easy to see”. Paula described “Daylight”. (The object was just above the height of the houses, so easily visible)


John estimated “the fuselage was like a modern jet liner”. Paula estimated “Lengthwise it was like a passenger jet”.


John described “bullet shaped, no wings or windows”. Paula described “a huge, rocket-shaped thing, a tube, rounded, but open at the back. It had no wings, or fins.”


John reported "a dull bronze colour”, but he’s slightly colour-blind, so may be wrong about that. Paula said it was white.


John described “some sort of contrail, a faint vapour trail, white cloud-type”. Paula described “masses of flames belching out of the tail end, which were enormous. I think they were multi-coloured, but also invisible, which is mad, but I say that because I could see up into the rear end and the inside looked dark.”


Both John and Paula reported that there was no smell associated with this object.


John said “about 2000 to 10000 feet”, although he then states that “altitude is difficult to work out”. His comment above, about the weather conditions may suggest it was at the lower end of this height. Paula said “it came over the rooftops, really low so that they thought it would crash.”

Length of sighting?

John estimated it as being about 2 minutes, but there is no way to estimate the distance the object travelled as he observed it. Paula couldn’t estimate this.


John said “It was flying in a straight line and going very slowly. About the speed of the slowest light aircraft. Or even slower.” Paula said “the object’s speed was weird. How it stayed in the air was remarkable, I would say too slow to be airborne, but I know nothing about planes.” I previously estimated the speed of the UAP Paula saw as being less than 10 mph. John reckons it was after 4 pm when he saw the UAP, Paula thought it was between 5.30 and 6 pm. So, that is anywhere between an hour and a half and 2 hours between the two reported sightings. If the UAP was moving at a constant speed, to have covered the distance between where John was near Stroud and Paula near Rushden would mean it travelled at a speed of between 45 mph and 60 mph. Crucially, that speed is too slow for any aircraft to stay aloft. For example, today, the slowest speed an average single-engine plane will fly at is around 115 mph to 140 mph. Take-off and landing speeds are about 70 mph for small, single-engine planes. In early 1970s these speeds would have needed to be the same, or faster, because current aircraft engines and breaking systems are more efficient and powerful.

Direction of travel?

In Paula’s case the object seemed to travel initially from the Northwest to the Southeast, then veer more to the Northeast just before it vanished from sight and sound. John reported the object he saw moved steadily from the Southwest to the Northeast.


John reported “it made no noise, went serenely." Paula reported “a terrifyingly loud roaring noise could be heard, the noise was incredible, overpowering, it made her insides churn and tremble”.

Emotional impact?

John said he thought “it was great! Not threatening in any way.” Paula was terrified by the experience, “I doubt I have ever been as terrified in my life as that day.”

Other Reports?

Both said they did not see, or hear, anything about the object they saw in any media then, or since.

Sighting Analysis

The details in the two sighting reports do have quite a number of similarities including the object’s size, shape, lack of wings, fins, and markings, unusually slow speed, steady horizontal movement and direction of travel between Stroud and Rushden, the approximate time of day it was seen in both locations is feasible, given it’s speed, the weather conditions were good in both locations – both observers got a good look at the object.

Of course, there are differences in the two descriptions, which include direction of travel, noise, exhaust, colour and emotional impact.

Overall, based on the available evidence, the similarities between the reports seem to outweigh the differences. Therefore, it is interesting to consider whether this UAP is the same object seen on the same day in these two different locations. All the possible conventional objects that it might that I ruled out when discussing Paula's sighting, can also be ruled out in the case of John’s sighting.

A Similar Object?

The below screenshot is taken from the podcast Weaponized, Episode #7: Storming Area 51 and The Baghdad Phantom, from 6th March 2023, with Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp.

The link to the episode is:

The still picture (from a video) is one of several in the programme, taken with a thermal imaging camera in Iraq on 14th May 2022. The section covering it starts at about 1 minute 51 seconds and the first picture is at about 1 minute 54 seconds. The object moves progressively from left to right in each picture.

Jeremy Corbell emphasises that the black object in the lower middle part of the picture is NOT A ROCKET, because there is no heat signature and no flight surfaces (fins, etc). It is in controlled flight. He states that it has an undefined propulsion system / non-reaction propulsion system. This object has similarities with the object seen by John and Paula, but there is no information about it’s size, sound, or speed. However it does seem as if it was moving much faster than the speed reported by the two witnesses.


These are unusual sightings in so many ways. I haven’t found previous reports of an object with this set of characteristics. Not knowing the precise year these sightings reportedly happened means it’s not easy to track down any media coverage. I have not been able to find a match of a conventional aircraft, or missile, etc, with the objects reported.

My conclusion is that, ON THE BALANCE OF PROBABILITIES, both sightings were of the same object. However, it is still a UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon), meaning it’s not explainable currently.

My research has found one similar sighting in the 1972/3 time period – quoted in Haunted Skies, Volume 3 1970-1975, by John Hanson, Dawn Holloway and V.J. Hyde, on page 230.

On 24th June 1972, seen over Reading in Berkshire at 9pm. This object was described as:

Shaped like a rocket.

No wings or tail fins observed on it.

It was estimated to be about 60ft long.

There were flames shooting out of the back.

It had an approximate altitude of 200ft, so was clearly visible.

It was moving in an east to west direction, with no noise detected.

It’s speed was estimated at approximately 35 miles per hour.

After a few seconds it turned sharply to the south.

However, according to a drawing made of it, this object did have possible tubes and openings on it’s body and was black in colour.

This was probably not connected with the two reports described above, because it was much later in the evening and the object was moving in a completely different direction in a different part of the south of England. Reading is about 83km (52miles) to the South-east of Stroud and 93km (58miles) to the South-west of Rushden.

If anyone has questions, or additional information, about either sighting, or this report, please do contact me.

Copyright Ian Jones 2023

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