Published by The Leicestershire UFO Research Society (Est. 1971)
Edited by Graham Hall & Jeff Lord
- Incorporating specific links to theWikipedia encyclopedia -
Expanded Sighting Report Data - Selected Cases
THE LEICESTERSHIRE AND WARWICKSHIRE FIREBALL SIGHTINGSLeicestershire Place List | Warwickshire Place List
18 February 1971 - 19:15 Hours - Leicestershire and Warwickshire, UK.
Many people throughout Leicestershire and Warwickshire reported seeing a “fiery object” in the sky. The official explanation given was a fireball meteor, in spite of a previous report that the object was probably a satellite decaying on re-entering the Earth’s Atmosphere.
Listed below are just a few of the sightings in brief:
51/71/01. 18 February 1971 - 19:15 - Nanpanton, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK - A “ball of fire” was observed - white at the front - red at the rear - descended at a 20 degree angle. (DE-7B).
51/71/02. 18 February 1971 - 19:15 - Enderby Road, Leicester, UK - Two witnesses travelling by car along Enderby Road, Leicester, observed a “flare-like object” falling to Earth. (DE-7B).
51/71/03. 18 February 1971 - 19:15 - Aylestone Road, Leicester, UK - A newspaper reporter, whilst travelling by car along Aylestone Road, Leicester, observed a bright green object in the sky which appeared to be falling to Earth. (DE-7B). (Allan).
51/71/04. 18 February 1971 - 19:15 - Ashby Parva, Leicestershire, UK - A witness observed what they described as a “long oblong object” falling out of the sky, the front of which appeared pointed in shape, consisting of the colours yellow and white, whilst the rear was described as “definitely sparkling” - object appeared to come from the general direction of Leicester, and finally come down in the Pailton area. (DE-7B).
51/71/05. 18 February 1971 - 19:15 - Baddesly Ensor, Leicestershire, UK - A lone male witness, whilst walking his dog, observed in the sky what he first assumed was a plane on fire - closer inspection revealed however, a round, black object surrounded by flames - object descended on a “curved” course, and eventually was lost to view. (DE-7B). (Dexter).
77/71/06. 18 February 1971 - 19:15 - Meridon, Warwickshire, UK - A witness motoring south along the B4102 towards Meridon, reported observing a blue/green object through his windscreen, descending in the direction of Knowle. (S,W.) - It was surrounded by a reddish glow and was view for approximately 30 seconds. (DE-7B).
77/71/07. 18 February 1971 - 19:15 - Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK - A fluorescent white ball of light with a tail was observed to cross the sky on a straight course from north- east to south west - object moved away and then ‘dropped’ towards the ground in the direction of Ansley. (DE-7B). (Squires).
51/71/08. 18 February 1971 - 19:15 - Thurmaston, Leicestershire, UK - An amateur astronomer was studying the constellation of Orion through 10x50 binoculars, when he observed what he believed to be a very large meteor falling from the sky. The “meteor” was described as round, with a tail, and was travelling on a south-westerly course approximately 20 degrees above the horizon. The main object was coloured white/yellow, whilst the “tail”, which was estimated as being 4 times bigger than the main round object, was said to be red/orange, and appeared to be “sparkling.” (DE-7B). (Jolliffe).
77/71/09. 18 February 1971 - 19:20 - Arley, Warwickshire, UK - 2 witnesses driving along station Road, Arley, observed a round object falling from the sky towards the south-west. It was ‘perfectly round’, and “fluorescent blue”, and when just above the tree-tops, it “disintegrated” in a shower of sparks that fell towards the Earth. (DE-7B).
77/71/10. 18 February 1971 - 19:20 - Arley, Warwickshire, UK - A male witness driving a security vehicle observed an aerial object which he described as a “vivid blue ball the size of a dinner plate” - The object was falling from the sky, and on reaching a point just above the tree-tops, it “went out”, leaving just a puff of smoke in the sky where the object had been. (DE-7B).
77/71/11. 18 February 1971 - 19:30 - Rugby, Warwickshire, UK - 2 witnesses independently observed from the 5th. Floor of a block of flats, an aerial object ‘shaped like an egg’. it was silvery in colour, and surrounded by a green haze. (DE-7B).
77/71/12. 18 February 1971 - 19:30 - Bilton, Warwickshire, UK - A female witness living in Bilton, Warwickshire, observed a silvery coloured object, which she described as similar in shape and size to a cricket ball. It travelled on a low arc from north-east to south-west, and was eventually lost to sight. (DE-7B).
77/71/13. 18 February 1971 - 19:30 - A42 Alcester to Stratford Road, Warwickshire, UK - Two Police officers on patrol, observed a round object in the sky “as big as a coffee table”, travelling from the direction of Stratford, - NE - Initially white, the object gradually changed colour to “blue/red”, as it got lower in the sky before finally disappearing over the horizon. (DE-7B).
CASE/COMPUTER REF: 51/77/71/01-13 - Selected Associated Media Items:
(1). March 2nd., 1971 - Meteorite Shower on the Arley area - Coventry Evening Telegraph.
LATEST reports of light-in-the-sky sightings from people around Arley have led to a suggestion that the area may have been bombarded by a meteorite shower. Discrepancies in sighting times have led Mr. Micheal Jones, assistant keeper of geology at Leicester Museum, to think that this may be so. The 27th eye-witness of a supposed meteorite at 7.17 p.m. on Thursday, February 18, telephoned the “Evening Telegraph” today. He was Mr. G. Caviel (44), of Beech Grove, Arley, who was driving a Securicor vehicle along the Birmingham - Ansley road at about that time, when he saw a yellow-blue light travelling from the south south-east direction. “It got larger and brighter, became bright blue when about 100 feet from the ground, then over Arley the flame went out and that was it,” said Mr. Caviel. (77/71/10). Whizzing noise - The museum is interested in trying to retrieve any meteorite that may have fallen, because only 18 had been found in Britain since 1795. A different kind of incident was reported by Mr. George Hill (66), of Spring Hill, Arley. His story relates to the morning of the same day - about 7 a.m. Mr. Hill told Mr. Jones that when he got up to go to work he heard a whizzing noise then a thud, which were followed by a temporary dimming of the house lights. When he went out to the verandah, “there was an awful smell of sulphur.” Mr. Jones said that about half-a-dozen Arley people had spoken of seeing what they thought was a meteorite at about that time. “What we would like now is to hear from anyone on the Coventry side of the trajectory. All the ones we have had so far were from people to the east of it,” he said.
(2). March 6th., 1971 - LIGHT IN SKY PUZZLE AT ARLEY - Coventry Evening Telegraph.
AN expert was visiting Arley this afternoon to investigate fireball sightings in the Coventry district. Mr. H. G. Miles, director of the artificial satellites section of the British Astronomical Association, is still collecting information - although he is not expecting to find a local meteorite. He is particularly anxious to talk to people in the village who saw a bright moving light in the sky at about 7 a.m. on Thursday, February 18. Other Arley people saw something similar at 7.17 p.m. the evening before. They included a Securicor vehicle driver who reported seeing a bright blue light which disappeared and left a puff of smoke at about 100 feet above the ground. But Mr. Miles is not expecting to find a meteorite at Arley. He said that people who saw fireballs almost invariably thought that they were much nearer than they really were. “It’s an optical illusion,” he said. In next field - Mr. Miles thought the one seen at “100 Feet” was probably 60-80 kilometeres high. “When I was investigating the meteorite that landed atBarwell on Christmas Eve, 1965, and the fireballs connected with it, everyone from Nottingham to Oxfordshire who provided a sighting report, said ‘it was in the next field,.” Mr. Miles, who has been joined in his enquiries by Mr. Michael Jones, assistant keeper of geology at Leicester Museum, added: “One always hopes to find a meteorite because they are so rare and because, space mission Moon samples apart, they are the only examples we get of what the universe consists of.” Mr. Miles tended to disagree with an earlier suggestion that the Arley sightings were linked with a meteorite shower. He also said that the chances of the Thursday evening phenomenon being an artificial satellite burning up on re-entering the atmosphere was remote. Crossed country - He said that he had received reports about it from a wide area of the country from Blackpool down to Kent, and from his analysis of them he was sure that nothing fell near Arley. “It went across the central regions of England, across the Bristol Channel, and may have fallen into the Irish Sea.” Since the Arley sightings there have been two more fireball events - at about 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23 and another at about the same time on Tuesday, March 2. “We haven’t had a brilliant fireball for about a year - now, all at once, we have four which I believe were unrelated.” he said. Note: Mr. Miles defines a fireball meteor as a “shooting star”, and a meteorite as a piece of rock from one of these which sometimes survives and hits the ground.
The reports initially began with a sighting made by Mr. Dennis Jollife of Thurmaston, Leicestershire. He is an amateur Astronomer and a member of Leicester Astronomical Society.
An account of his sighting (Ref: 51/71/08 above), appeared in the Leicester Mercury newspaper on the 20th., February 1971.
Mr. Jolliffe reported his sighting to Mr. M. D. Jones (Assistant keeper of geology at the City of Leicester Museum), and Mr. H. G. Miles (Director of the Artificial satellites section of the BAA), who in turn appealed in the Leicester Mercury, Nuneaton Evening Tribune and Coventry Evening Telegraph, for witnesses who may have spotted where the“meteorite” landed. An appeal was also made to farmers in Warwickshire, particularly to those in the Nuneaton areas, where the object was first thought to have fallen. This assumption was based on reports from a number of people around Arley who claimed to have seen a fiery object “disintegrate”, but because discrepancies in sighting times, it was suggested that the area may have been ‘bombarded’ by a meteor shower. According to a newspaper report, about half a dozen Arley people had spoken of seeing what they thought was a meteor on the Thursday morning at 7 .a.m. At about the same time, Mr. George Hill of Spring Hill, Arley, got up to work when he heard a ‘whizzing’ noise then a “thud”, which were followed by a temporary dimming of the house lights. When he went out onto the veranda, ‘there was an awful smell of sulphur’. These events led Doctor Miles to visit Arley to talk to local residents. However, it was established that the residents had not seen a meteor on the Thursday morning, but had in fact seen a ‘brilliant flash’ followed by an ‘explosion’, which in actual fact had been caused by a breaking power cable.
Much wider area
So it seemed that the assumption that the object may have fallen somewhere in the Nuneaton area of Warwickshire was not, as initially suspected, the case, and although the press appeals etc. resulted in no physical evidence of a meteorite being found, they did however, result in many people reporting a similar object, and, from this gathered evidence, it was becoming more and more apparent that the object had been observed over a much wider area of the country.
According to a further report that appeared in the Coventry Evening Telegraph of March 6th., 1971, Doctor Miles had received further reports from Blackpool down to Kent, and, from his analysis of these latter reports, which included plotting their geographical positions, he concluded that a very brightly lit aerial object had crossed the central regions of England, passed over the Bristol Channel and quite likely fallen into the Irish Sea. The same newspaper report went on to state that there were two further apparent fireball events at about 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23rd., and another at approximately the same time on Tuesday, March 2nd.
As I have already mentioned, the official explanation given for the sightings was a fireball meteor which may have landed. Most of the witnesses that I interviewed said that they had observed the object for 3 to 4 seconds, while others maintained that they had observed it for periods of 7, 10 and even 30 seconds. The latter durations are remarkably slow for a meteor, as these usually remain visible for only a few seconds or less.
It appears that the object was large, and most of the witnesses were of the opinion that its rate of speed was too slow for its size. On sighting the object they had no idea what it was, but afterwards, they were willing to except the meteor explanation, which seems to have been influenced by the initial newspaper reports.
Although most of the sightings in this report are characteristic of a (fireball) meteor, each of the witness’s descriptions of what was seen are somewhat comparatively disparate, in spite of the fact that all witnesses observed an object travelling from south-east to north-west. The dissimilarity in the descriptions could indicate the presence of more than one object in the skies at the time. Alternatively of course, this could also indicate how unreliable sighting reports can be.
On contacting Mr. M. D. Jones, it was evident that he had no knowledge of these reports; he told me that the sightings he had received were of an object travelling from south-east to north-west. This directional discrepancy could indicate again, the presence of more than one object. This is supported by the fact that the object was reported over a wide area of the country, from places as far apart as Blackpool and Kent. I would also mention here that a witness at Burton reported not on seeing a‘fiery object’ at approximately the same time as the other sightings, but also claims to have sighted a second, similar aerial object at 9.00 p.m., only one and a half hours after seeing the first.
To conclude, it seems that according to the above newspaper report from Doctor Miles that the object, or objects, have once again been lost to the Irish Sea, which is only a repetition of what was said about the fireball of April 25th., 1969. However, although fragments from this were alleged to have found in Northern Ireland, so far, no meteoric fragments of February 18th., 1971 fireball have yet been found. As for the fireball events of February 23rd., and March 2nd., 1971, I have no knowledge of these, but it does seem from all accounts that a minor‘fireball flap’ manifested itself during the latter part of February and the beginning of March.
Additional Leicestershire ‘fireball sightings’ - April/May 1971.
51/71/17. 2 April 1971 - 22:53 - Leicester, UK - A descending aerial object was observed - description“as the full Moon”, and greyish-green in colour - travelled very fast on a slightly curved flight path from S.S.E. to N.N.W. in the direction of Melton or Loughborough. It was in view for only a second, and was lost to view behind clouds. (DE-7B). (Taylor).
51/71/18. 5 May 1971 - 05:20 - New Parks, Leicester, UK - A multi-coloured aerial object, was observed to fall out of the sky in daylight. Witness stated:“It was in view for 3 to 4 seconds and their was no noise - it was quite daylight at the time, I have seen hundreds of ‘shooting stars‘, but this not one - if it had been dark, I think it would have lit the Earth up.” (DE-7B). (Gandy).
51/71/19. 5 May 1971 - 05:25 - Snarestone, Leicestershire, UK - An aerial object, described colour - white-hot, was observed to fall out of the sky in daylight at terrific speed leaving a green/blue trail. (DE-7B). (Holt).
51/71/20. 5 May 1971 - 05:30 - Quorn, Leicestershire, UK - A falling object was observed in the sky by lone female witness. Witness stated: “I saw a quick moving light coming from the south - it dropped down vertically behind a tree - I watched it fall behind the branches, it appeared to be very near, not on the horizon - As it fell, I then saw that there was a shape to it which I can only describe as pear-shaped. There was no noise, and the decent was very quick - It was an orange flame colour and was more bright than a nearby street lamp which was still lit, although it was daylight.” (DE-7B). (Selvester).
CASE CLOSED: Fireball Meteoroid..(IFO:7B).
Selected Associated Outside Links:The Mystery Behind the Green Fireball Phenomenon. History of Green Fireballs.
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