Saturday, November 11, 2017

Westall, the Department of Supply and Mr 'X'

Background

In a Facebook post dated 10 November 2017, and titled 'The troubled Public Servant,' Westall researcher Shane Ryan, reported that in 2010 he was contacted by a woman with some inside knowledge about the 1966 Westall, Melbourne incident, gained from her father.

In the post, Shane gave details of the contents of a number of emails from the woman (one from 2010, one from 2012) and her brother (one from 2012). The 2012 emails concerned the HIBAL hypothesis, but the important email is the 2010 one from the daughter, of the person I am choosing to refer to as Mr 'X.'

I have decided to annotate her words, rather than addressing points raised at the end of her text.

The email

'I am writing to you because I hadn't realised there were so many other witnesses to an event that my father was involved with in 1966. My father was the Assistant Controller of Aircraft, Weapons and Guided Missiles with the Department of Supply in Melbourne.

1. Shane found a Department of Supply Bulletin, in the National Library of Australia which confirmed that Mr X was indeed the Assistant Controller of the Aircraft, Guided Weapons and Electronics Supply Division of the Department of Supply in August 1967. We have not been able to confirm his position on 6 April 1966, the date of the Westall incident.

' He was a brilliant intellectual, Dux of High School, First class honours in Engineering and a science degree in Electronics all in 3 years. I mention this because he was not a fool, or someone who would dream up what he saw.

2. A check of the National Archives of Australia revealed Mr X's war records, which indicate he was an Engineer.

'I do not know how he was involved in the sighting of the object. He was, however told (by someone senior to him) that if he were to speak of this incident to anyone, he would lose his job.

3. A search of the Internet reveals that the immediate senior of the Assistant Controller of the Aircraft, Guided Weapons and Electronics Supply Division of the Department of Supply was in fact the Controller, of the Aircraft, Guided Weapons and Electronics Supply Division of the Department of Supply. On 6 April 1966, this was one Ian Bowman Fleming. He held the position between 1958-1967. Fleming was the director of the project which produced Australia's first unmanned target aircraft, Jindivik. Unfortunately, we are unable to seek any knowledge about Westall from Fleming as he passed away in 1993.

'He used to say that knew what he saw, he was very angry that this event was not seen as an opportunity. He was intimidated on a regular basis about what he saw by other officials and told that a person in his position could not be taken seriously if he were to speak of it. He was a respected point of contact for the Americans, French and Italians as they were all in the market for selling us their aircraft.

4. Here then, is an intriguing statement: 'this event was not seen as an opportunity.' One possible interpretation was a UFO was involved, with a potential opportunity to learn about advanced propulsion systems.

'I knew about the object he saw from very early on in the event, and I was also told not to speak of it to my school friends, teachers or anyone.

5. Earlier Mr X's daughter wrote: 'I do not know how he was involved in the sighting of the object.' Here she states: 'I knew about the object he saw.'  These appear to be contradictory statements. Did he see the object, or simply know of the incident? Was he at Westall that day? We will perhaps never know.

'I was 10 and after my father said we were not to speak of it, my mother continued to talk to me, mostly because of the torment my father appeared to be going through over this incident.

'My father came to work for the Department of Supply after he was approached for this position while manager of Civil Aviation in Sydney. He held this position from 1960-1968 then continued on in the position in Canberra until his early death in 1970.

6. Neither Shane nor I have been able to independently verify that Mr X held the position of Assistant Controller of the Aircraft, Guided Weapons and Electronics Supply Division of the Department of Supply between 1960-1968. We did however confirm that according to the 1966 Sands and McDougall directory, Mr X lived in Melbourne in 1966 and then via the electoral rolls confirmed he lived in Canberra in 1969 (the Aircraft, Guided Weapons and Electronics Supply Division of the Department of Supply moved to Canberra in December 1968 according to the Canberra Times newspaper of 27 December 1968 page 8.)

 'There may be some information to be found at Department of Supply. I'm so pleased to know there really was substance to what my father saw and I wish he were here today to know there were many others who felt as he did. He did a lot of secret work during the WW2 so he was very good at maintaining security for the good of the nation.'

In summary

The research by Shane and I indicates that Mr X lived in Melbourne in 1966; was the Assistant Controller of the Aircraft, Guided Weapons and Electronics Supply Division of the Department of Supply in August 1967; was an engineer, and moved to Canberra in December 1968. Unfortunately, neither Mr or Mrs X are alive today to directly discuss his knowledge.

I understand from Shane that he has had no contact with Mr X's daughter or son since 2012.

What do I make of all the above? It is no doubt a fascinating story, but it is hearsay. A clinical definition of hearsay is 'the report of another person's words by a witness, which is usually disallowed as evidence in a court of law.'

Although I am aware of the identity of Mr X; and his son and daughter; out of courtesy to Shane Ryan, my research hands are tied. However, I would urge Shane to attempt to recontact both the son and daughter and see if any additional information may have come to light since 2012.

Update

In a Facebook post dated 12 November 2017, Shane provided us all with additional information.

'In December 2012 some months after receiving an email from him, I was telephoned out of the blue by the son of the Department of Supply senior officer. He was calling on a mobile from a McDonald's in rural Queensland. I think now that he was checking me out over the phone as much as anything. However, he wanted me to know that as senior, and as sceptical, a public servant as his father definitely was, he was profoundly affected by what had happened at Westall.

He was of the opinion that his father had been at Westall as part of the response to the event. He even recalled the floor number of the building his father worked at in Canberra, which had some connection with D-Branch - which was a code for ASIO. Because of the son's work with Australian Federal Police intelligence, he explained that there was still some sensitivities for him in relation to all of this. He promised to call back with (sic) 48 hours...and I am still waiting for that call.'

My comments:

Now, let me say at the outset, that all of the above may be true, however a number of questions arise to which we currently do not have answers.

1. How did Shane know that the individual calling was Mr X's son?
2. How did Shane know that the call came from a McDonald's in rural Queensland? One can only surmise it was because the individual calling him, told him this?
3. Did the individual inform Shane of the floor number of the building in Canberra? Was Shane ever able to confirm this was the location of ASIO in Canberra in 1966?
4. I can understand that it would not have been possible for Shane to confirm the individual's statement about working for the Australian Federal Police. But, did the individual offer to produce any documentation to support this claim?

I appreciate, that for some individuals reading this blog, my insistence on fact checking and verifying information supplied, may well annoy them. However, think on this, we are being told that there was a government involvement and coverup in the Westall incident - a big story - surely this should cross checked in fine detail?

Additional material:

For a look at the work on a circular aircraft for the RAAF, by Squadron Leader Gordon Waller in 1966 click here.

For a look at an earlier post about ASIO and Australian UFO groups, click here.

For a detailed look at the involvement of the former Australian government Department of Supply, click here,  and here. 

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