The Berwyn Mountains UFO Incident - 23rd January 1974

An ongoing investigation into a hoax built up around a real UFO event

Eight - Nick Redfern

It is now well known that a particular scenario promoted by Russ Kellett claiming that a UFO plus occupants was recovered by the UK Military is suspected of being a hoax masterminded by persons as yet unknown, but actively fed to Russ Kellett by John Williams (also known as JW) in a way that has led him to believe this was a real event.

New information is constantly emerging as this hoax is more deeply investigated. Here, I'd like to show how the UFO on Cader Berwyn was linked into this hoax scenario to create a disinformation thread presumably aimed at confusing research and investigation to divert such persons away from the real UFO which was discovered on Cader Berwyn in north east Wales on the night of January 23rd 1974.

Previously, I demonstrated how Tony Dodd, UFO Investigator and author of Alien Investigator published in 1999 had inadvertently helped to create and promote the UFO hoax abovementioned, which itself seemingly burst onto the scene in 1997 when John Willams (JW) tried to con Berwyn UFO researcher Margaret Fry into accepting the bizarre hoax claim plus the accompanying faked documentation to support it. He also attempted to subvert a film maker into producing some sort of documentary which if had been successful, would have seen that hoax spread into the wider public domain. Fortunately, everyone approached with the 'evidence' of a naval operation in the Irish Sea off the North Wales coast, saw through it and did not engage. That is, until Russ Kellett swallowed the hoax and became the conduit for spreading it into the UFO community and further public domain.

Another well known author of books on the UFO subject is Nicholas Redfern, more commonly known as Nick Redfern. His book, A Covert Agenda, first published in Britain in 1997, gave some coverage of the earlier evidence as it was known at the time relating to the alleged Berwyn Mountains UFO 'Crash'.  (Ref: A Covert Agenda - Ed.)

The Berwyn Mountains’ UFO: A Case That Never Dies
(New article by Nick Redfern, published 24th August 2018)

With the exception of Tony Dodd who first hinted publicly that the Berwyn UFO Event may have been a landing rather than a crash as far back as the mid-90s and later repeating this in his book, Alien Investigator published in 1999, (see Appendix One - Ed.) everyone else looking at the case looked at it from the point of view of a UFO crash & retrieval event. This was very much the case with Nick Redfern's account in A Covert Agenda.

With just a few small errors in his publication, the account was accurate, honest and published in good faith, based on what was known at the time. Because A Covert Agenda was only published in 1997, nothing in the book was hijacked to help formulate a hoax. Information relating to Llandrillo and Cader Bronwen mountain was common knowledge and by 1997 was already being exploited to invent a crash scenario on Cader Berwyn which would see it used in an audacious attempt to subvert the UFO event via duping Margaret Fry and others.

As has been published elsewhere, even that story changed in late 1999 or early 2000, when Tony Dodd published evidence of a UFO landing rather than a crash, which then led to the invention of another crash to keep the story going.

It is worth noting too, that even the debunkers like Andy Roberts were actually attempting to debunk the common belief of a UFO crash & retrieval. So it could be argued that even the likes of Andy Roberts believed in the belief of a UFO crash in order to pursue that line of attack on the belief.

Nick Redfern writes:
'At approximately 8.30 p.m on January 23, an unidentified aerial object impacted Cader Bronwen, a 2000 foot peak in the Berwyn Mountains between Bala and Corwen, Wales'.
His approximation is correct. However, as came to light, nothing impacted Cader Bronwen. There was always an association made by UFO enthusiasts that an impacting, crashing UFO was responsible for an explosion type sound heard by many residents subjected to an apparent earth tremor which was undeniably recorded by seismologists at 8.38 pm that night. The author notes this true time further on.

One of the most staggering things about this event, was that the UFO (crashed or landed) was on the next mountain in the Range, Cader Berwyn. However, because of events which unfolded and which were centred on the nearest village, Llandrillo, and its geographical relevance to Cader Bronwen, many researchers both for and against a UFO insisted on believing the UFO event somehow had to be on Cader Bronwen, rather than Cader Berwyn, where, again undeniably, the Object was.

Jenny Randles was a typical example. Not only had she hijacked Margaret Fry's advancement of the UFO visitation, but she seemingly totally ignored the testimony of witness Pat Evans and two daughters who from their car, all watched the Object sat on the slope of Cader Berwyn mountain, just over a mile from their position on the B 4391 road over the Range.

It seems that for no other reason than two Police searches and another conducted by a three man search and rescue outfit sent from RAF Valley, Anglesey on Cader Bronwen above Llandrillo, the UFO must have had some association with that mountain. This was further added to by various scientists with a geological bent who also conducted foot searches on Cader Bronwen.

The assumption was that something had happened on Cader Bronwen and everyone homed in on it, apparently oblivious to the fact that the Object was several miles away. The fact (and it was a fact) that Pat, and daughters Diane and Tina Evans sat looking at the Object on a mountain slope nowhere near Cader Bronwen was overlooked. In fact, so convinced were some researchers like Jenny Randles that the event was linked to Cader Bronwen, the assumption was that Mrs Evans was mistaken and must have been looking at something much further away. The truth and evidence there did not matter one iota.

Even arch debunker Andy Roberts knew full well the UFO was on neighbouring Cader Berwyn as seen by Mrs Evans and Co and went to extraordinary lengths to move events from Cader Bronwen to Cader Berwyn to subvert their discovery. In his early days on this case, he discovered that the lads out hunting with a home made hunting lamp used to dazzle quarry such as hares, rabbits and foxes had told the Police upon questioning that they had been camping out on the mountain slope above Llandrillo.

Andy then twisted that into moving them from Cader Bronwen to Cader Berwyn via some manipulation of the word Berwyn and its plural, and then claimed Pat Evans had seen their tent illuminated from the inside. When he realised they had lied to the Police, his tent theory quietly slid away and like a Phoenix, a new manipulation arose out of the ashes of the tent fabrication.

In his new version of events, Mrs Evans saw the hunter's lamp. Andy Roberts had still moved their position from one mountain to another but this time went even further. He knew from Day 1 the location of the hunters on Cader Bronwen and their departure time from the mountain. Despite knowing they'd left the mountain by 9pm because of an expired battery used to power the lamp and were watching the Police examine their car at 9.20 pm, and knowing that Pat Evans did not see her UFO until a tad before 10 pm, deliberately and maliciously in my opinion, published that Mrs Pat Evans saw their lamp.
He then outright lied by claiming in his anti Berwyn UFO tome, that the flickering lights Mrs Evans witnessed zig-zagging towards the Object (UFO), were Police torch lights from a foot search. He even added in a further lie that the Police met the 'poachers' and spoke with them. No foot search was conducted anywhere by Police on the night of the 23rd Jan' '74 and no poachers/hunters were spoken to by the Police until after the event.

That never happened anywhere and if it did, it would have been on Cader Bronwen, not Cader Berwyn

Mrs Evans arrived just by 10 pm to see torch lights and UFO converging (Police and poachers), yet, the poachers were on a different mountain and had left the scene almost an hour before Pat Evans arrived at her location and discovered the UFO.

Roberts' story started to collapse as he seemed totally ignorant of what lamping quarry with a lamp involves; it is a highly mobile activity with a heavy car battery (in those days), with a drain time of about an hour. Yet, the UFO was a static Object known to have been present for at least 90 minutes!!!

Going back to A Covert Agenda, Nick Redfern goes on to write:
'Prior to the explosion on the Berwyn Mountains, the object had also been seen by a number of amateur astronomers based in both Cheshire and the Isle of Man'.
A meteor had been observed by many people on the Isle of Man, heading towards North Wales plus other atmospheric phenomena. This was also confirmed by Holyhead Coastguard who described it as green in colour. Multiple coastguard stations received calls from the Public about 'green flares'. (See Appendix Four - Ed.)
Such was reported in the Liverpool Daily Post on 24th of January 1974, the day after the event.

However just a day after that, the same newspaper published a story which included the following:
'Police and coastguards now believe that many people especially in the Isle of Man actually saw an RAF photo-flash night bombing exercise'.
Click on image below to see full sized version of news clipping

It is my understanding that the Institute of Geological Sciences gave this suggestion to the Authorities who were quick to accept that.

This was the earliest known reference to a 'photo-flash' exercise. This was years later to be used as 'proof' by Russ Kellett that a naval operation in the Irish Sea, hunting submerged UFOs, ultimately caused one to crash on Cader Berwyn.

Nick Redfern wisely points out:
'The 'meteor' theory also fails to explain the 'luminous sphere' seen by Ken Haughton to descend into the sea near Rhyl'.
Ken Haughton from Betws y Coed in mid North Wales observed this object, some 90 mins after the earth tremor. The UFO was discovered as an aerial object at 8.40 pm by witness Mike Saville from his elevated home above Llandderfel. The author also mentions a Llandrillo witness whose story closely correlates with Mr Saville's account. Roughly an hour and a half later, circa 10.20 pm, the UFO took off from Cader Berwyn, passed over Llangynog moving towards the English border.

There is an uncanny coincidence here that Mr Haughton saw what he did about the time the Cader Berwyn UFO departed.

Nick refers to Pat Evans who is accredited with first discovering the UFO at approximately 10 pm that night. He does however make a mistake in his text. He writes that she received a call from the Police at Colwyn Bay (Headquarters) 'informing her of the possibility that an aircraft had crashed on Cader Bronwen'.

Had that been true, she would have travelled to Llandrillo which was the access point up on to Cader Bronwen.

The truth there was, she herself suspected a plane crash somewhere on the Berwyn Range based on the explosion sound amidst the tremor rumblings she herself heard. It took her until almost 9.30pm to get through to the Police (she rang them), and offered her assistance as a trained medical person.

Despite having already opened a Major Incident Log and dispatched officers up Cader Bronwen from Llandrillo to conduct a search guided by teenage farmer Huw Lloyd and his neighbour, Enoch Davies, the Police deliberately avoided telling Mrs Evans where to go. Had she gone to Llandrillo, she would never have discovered the UFO.

And the irony is, the Police were trying to look good with their PR inviting her help, but were in fact putting down Public involvement as much as possible, so by denying her the opportunity to assist in an operation which senior Police Officers knew involved a UFO somewhere on the Range, they actually helped her discover it.

She took the B4391 road over the Range as it was the most logical thing to do to get a good view of the whole area. So effectively, Police corruption meant to deny knowledge of the UFO to the Public actually helped unearth it!

Another inaccuracy in Nick Redfern's account was that he claims Mrs Evans led her daughters down the mountain:
'As they decended they were met by a group of Police officers and army personnel who hustled them away saying that no one was allowed on the mountain'.
Anyone who took a map and plotted Mrs Evan’s position on the B4391, would know she could not possibly be anywhere where she could lead anyone down a mountain. She was never on a mountain. In fact if anyone had taken a map and plotted any three random locations which were identified within the various testimonies etc, it would be glaringly obvious that two different mountains were involved and Mrs Evans could not possibly have been involved in most of the claims made about her involvement.

Mrs Evans did not meet with or speak to any Police having set back off for home. She did testify to Margaret Fry and two others in her own home that she met with an army vehicle heading back towards the UFO location off the B4391 where a few words were exchanged. Nothing sinister at all. All very civil. She produced a written note of that experience to Margaret Fry and was witnessed by the other two present.

Andy Roberts strangely tried to rubbish this by claiming Mrs Evans had produced a note claiming she'd not met with anyone!! How could someone make a note at the time of something that never happened?? He seemingly thinks the impossible is possible if it can debunk a UFO event!

She did in due course change her story to one where she never met a soul on her return home. By 1997 she was sticking to this new story.

1997 of course was a strange UFO year. There seemed to be a global push by the Authorities to rubbish stubborn UFO events. At Glyn Ceiriog on the north eastern end of the Berwyn Range, there was even an alleged abduction by ET in that year and of course John Williams surfaced trying to pass his hoax into the UFO community.

Again, based on the belief that something must have happened on Cader Bronwen above Llandrillo, reference to something crashing on to Cader Bronwen, be it meteorite or UFO, then morphs into a 'landing' but still on Cader Bronwen.
Nick wrote:
'There was no evidence of the presence of a UFO or the unit of soldiers on the peak by the time that Doctors [Ron] Maddison and [Aneurin] Evans and the mountain rescue team arrived the following day'.
The two doctors and the search and rescue outfit of course never found anything because they were on the wrong mountain. They were searching that mountain for no other reason than locals reported lights (hunters) above their village of Llandrillo which they assumed must have come from a plane crash because of the explosion many also heard. As they left their homes due to the earth tremor, they immediately saw the flashing beam sweeping about over the horizon of the ridge known as Cefn Pen Llety.
2+2 made 5 and a major incident was initiated.

This had a knock on effect. The land was re-searched the next day as described and this simply led to the belief that something must have happened on that mountain. In due course UFO researchers and enthusiasts latched onto this and so, the myth of a UFO crashing at Llandrillo was born. By the mid 1990s, everyone believed that a) a UFO had crashed and b), it had crashed close to Llandrillo.

Out of all this, John Williams appears in 1996, the same year that Tony Dodd first mentions in UFO Magazine that the evidence suggested a landing and departure. By 1997, this JW was in touch with Margaret Fry et al, with a story claiming the Military had flushed two UFOs out of the Irish Sea, off the North Wales coast, specifically by Puffin Island. One of those UFOs was shot up by a naval vessel and eventually crashed on Cader Bronwen near Llandrillo, allowing five professional gentlemen travelling home from a meeting in Bala to discover a crashed UFO and its recovery by the Military 'near' the village.

This was the bones of the hoax version which JW tried to feed to Mrs Fry etc, but in 1999 Tony Dodd's book Alien Investigator allowed a wide audience to read the evidence of a UFO landing rather than a crash. Tony Dodd postulated that a second UFO could have crashed nearby and that was in attendance to it. He claimed this possibility because of compelling disinformation given to him by anonymous sources.

He had also made it quite clear that the UFO was on Cader Berwyn mountain and not Cader Bronwen near Llandrillo; the story being related to Margaret Fry and others involved a crashed UFO near Llandrillo. If a UFO landed and took off again, there could be no crash of that vehicle nor any recovery operation. Also, if its true location was now public (it always was but few noted it correctly) and was not Llandrillo, there were now two strong reasons that the UFO crash story was untenable.

To save the story, things had to change.

In 1999, JW latched on to Russ Kellett and fed him an altered story which accommodated what Tony Dodd had published. The UFO had now landed on Cader Berwyn near Llandrillo, and a second UFO (two were allegedly flushed by the Navy using depth charges less than a mile from the Welsh beaches), had now crashed at a different location on the same route taken by the five professional gentlemen, at Llandderfel village.

Though knowing that the 1997 version had changed, Russ Kellett chose not to query this anomaly and in early 2000, he contacted Holyhead Coastguard Station, Anglesey, where in a reply letter dated April 2nd 2000, he was told that an exercise had been taking place in the Irish Sea that night and he was further informed in the letter that the event was titled 'photoflash'.
(See Appendix Four - Ed.)

This was further reinforced at later dates by anonymous information of naval personnel on board ships in the naval flotilla and army personnel retrieving the crashed UFO and crew.

Russ Kellett appears to have gone no further with this, thinking he had the Holy Grail of UFO research. In fact if he had gone further, he would have discovered that no other coastguard station around the British part of the Irish Sea could confirm this claim.

Had he researched photoflash bombs correctly he would know they are wholly inappropriate devices for detecting anything under water especially in a water body like the Irish Sea. In fact they aren't even designed for illuminating submerged objects, only momentary (white light, not green) illumination of surface objects for photography purposes.

He would also have discovered that there was animosity between the Isle of Man Government and the UK Government over its military presence on the protectorate island. The Jurby bombing range was a strictly controlled body of water on the north west of the island. Any flashes would only have occurred within that limited space during official exercises and would not have been visible to anyone on mainland England despite official claims that is what England based residents witnessed.

The coastguards have stated themselves as have various Police forces that they
'now believe that many people especially in the Isle of Man actually saw an RAF photo-flash night bombing exercise'.
Now that is a statement of fact. Whether the content is fact is another matter.

(Please see news clipping from 25th January 1974 futher up this page - Ed.)

That is also very curious, as the letter to Russ Kellett dated April 2nd 2000 stated that coastguards had been informed in advance of an exercise called 'photoflash so how come they didn't know on the night and were unable to allay public fears and enquiries then?

Careful research shows that they didn't know because there is not a shred of evidence so far to suggest any exercise or operation took place. Jurby is presented in that Maritime and Coastguard Agency letter sent from Holyhead Coastguard Station to Russ Kellett as a base for a large-scale exercise. In fact, it is (was) a land based entity controlling an area of sea in which bombs were dropped and fired.

It seems the whole place and activity was under intense scrutiny by the Manx section of the anti-military Celtic League which campaigned to have the place closed down and successfully stopped an expansion of the bombing range area at one point. The place is now closed and there is still ongoing trouble over the Ministry of Defence's failure to clean up the live and dead ordnance which litters the seabed.

The whole 'photoflash' exercise event which was crucial to accounting for how a UFO crashed on Cader Bronwen, which then evolved into a landing on Cader Berwyn and a second fabricated UFO crash and retrieval at Llandderfel, never seemingly happened. If it hadn't been for the IGS suggesting the lights seen over the Irish Sea were (possibly) from a photo-flash exercise (this was never confirmed, only suggested, but then projected by the coastguard and Police as fact), then perhaps this hoax would never have been created to subvert the appearance of a UFO on the mountain range that night.

Despite the intense scrutiny of the Military on the Isle of Man by those opposed to its presence on the island, there appears to be a strange lack of confirmation of any military event that night which further suggests that no military event took place that night.

So Mr Redfern's book offers an interesting and indeed damning insight to events surrounding the 23rd of January 1974 which go some considerable way to showing that the 'photoflash' exercise, the title given by Holyhead Coastguard, never seemingly happened.

(Editor's note. The alleged "exercise" called 'photoflash' as mentioned in the HHCG letter to Russ Kellett and dated 2nd April 2000, eventually evolved into "Operation Photoflash". The title was apparently bestowed by a one Geraint Jones when he wrote about Russ Kellett in January 2011. Please see: Spaceships Landed off Anglesey Coast, Claims UFO Expert - Wales Crash Info)

With the information gathered over the years before and since the Holyhead Coastguard letter was fabricated to support John Williams' claims, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency will be hard pressed indeed to continue supporting its 'letter'.

©Scott L. Felton

Nine - Russ Kellett (part 2)