There are a number of incidents which undoubtedly played a part in the formation of U.N.I.T. Most of these incidents probably would have involved U.N.I.T. if it had been in existence at the time, and all of them involved one of the Doctor Agents. In many of these cases only fragmentary evidence of what happened is available. This is due mostly to a lack of witnesses willing and able to talk about them and to the suppression of details by various government agencies. Because of this, our information on these incidents may be totally inadequate as a description of what occurred. These incidents also illustrate important points about the type of incident that U.N.I.T. would later deal with as standard procedure.
The Contents of this Page
- The Ultima Incident
- The Corman Airbase Incident
- The Shangri-La Incident
- The Shoreditch Incident
- The C-Day Fiasco
- The Gatwick Incident
- The London Event
The Ultima Incident occurred in May 1943 at a naval base near Whitby in Yorkshire. The base in question contained an early computer called the Ultima Machine which was used for breaking Nazi Naval codes. At this time, the base was attacked by a unit of soldiers of unknown origin. Some eyewitnesses claim that these troops were Russian under the command of a man named Sorin, although there is no indication of why the Russians would want to attack a British base at a time when the two were allied. Presumably the attack was connected to the Ultima Machine in some way. During this attack, the base was wiped out. Local people reported seeing vampires around both the base and a nearby village. Official reports indicated that the deaths were caused by an accidental release of stocks of a naturally occurring chemical poison.
This explanation leaves many questions unanswered. Why were none of the standard procedures followed after this leakage? Why was the chemical never named in official reports? Why was there never any attempt to find out if any of the harmful chemical remained? One point to note is that during the attack on the base, a number of local villagers, including the parish priest, were killed although there is no obvious reason why they should have died. Civilians would not have been a target for a small scale attack on a naval base whilst the position and medical details of the victims is inconsistent with a leak of any known naturally occurring poison.
This incident, the first recorded appearance of a Doctor agent, involved the Scottish Doctor, who was probably an agent of the wartime Special Intelligence Division. His involvement makes this seem to be much more than just a covert raid combined with a chemical spillage. The explanation about a chemical spillage just does not fit the facts available, and the attack theory fails to explain the civilian deaths. The only offered explanation that seems to fit the facts is the vampire sightings. Perhaps the base and the village were attacked by vampires. This explanation would seem to fit in with both the chemical poison official explanation and the reports that say the base was attacked, but still leaves many unanswered questions, especially why they would attack this particular base and not anywhere else at all?
This incident illustrates several important points. The main point here is that convincing explanations cannot always be found for the events we are dealing with. Even when you find a convincing explanation that fits all the information you have, it may still leave massive questions unanswered, usually along the lines of that just doesn't make sense for this to do that. There is also the point that the authorities will not give a full explanation that fits. It's quite clear that such incidents are either embarrassing to the authorities or, possibly, that the authorities believe they would cause undue hysteria. However, neither hypothesis explains why many of the records are not released along with other contemporary secret government documents.
This incident occurred at the Corman airbase, New Mexico, on the 4th of October 1957, the day of the first (official) Sputnik Launch. Made much of by U.F.O. enthusiasts, this incident involving the Scottish Doctor,has long been suppressed by the US government. Intriguingly, the Scottish Doctor is reported by eyewitnesses to have had the home phone number of the Director of Central Intelligence and appeared, in this instance, to be acting on behalf of the CIA.
The first unusual occurrence was that an Atlas Rocket and a fighter plane were reportedly shot down by a UFO near the Holloman airbase. The official explanation was that this was due to freak instrument malfunctions, although why they should happen on two very different designs of vehicle within a time period of hours was never explained, nor why the initial press statement claimed that a weather balloon launched as part of preflight activity had come down and got entangled with the missile. The wreckage of both craft was immediately shipped to Corman Airbase as part of US Air Force operation Moondust.
Later that day, a Hercules transport was stolen from Corman and taken to Washington DC, where it crash-landed and was torched by its pilots. Those same individuals then ended up in a firefight in central Washington. Eyewitness accounts suggest that both sides were using some kind of energy weapon as seen in science fiction TV shows, although these reports could be due to shock reactions. Whilst this was going on, Captain Stoker from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations stopped a local TV show which was discussing UFOs.
In probably unrelated circumstances, a number of mid-ranking US officials disappeared in the space of just one day. This was mirrored in the USSR. The officials just vanished without communicating with anyone about it. There was also a sharp increase in the number of UFO's reported worldwide, although, given the Sputnik launch on the same day, this is not particularly remarkable. Finally, an ex-Navy destroyer the USS Jessup, owned by the US Air Force, was blown up in Washington Harbour. The most interesting incident of the day, however, was later on at Corman Airbase.
Corman Airbase was the centre for 2 secret US Air Force projects. The first, Project Moondust, was some sort of collection of space debris. The second, less well documented, Project Snowbird, appeared to be an unusual flying device. The events of the day at Corman centred around these two projects, although details are confused. What is definitely true is that a number of airbase personnel died or disappeared. These included Major Kreer and Captain Stoker of AFOSI. It is also certain that Holloman press officer Major Marion Davison, took over the base and relieved General Nyby of command. What is less certain is exactly why. The answer may have something to do with a concurrent CIA investigation into Kreer. An alternative explanation suggests an extra-terrestrial connection.
UFO mythology claims that project Moondust was intended to recover extra-terrestrial artefacts and project Snowbird was a restored flying saucer. UFO abductee Robert Agar, who lived near the base, claimed soon afterwards that he was abducted by aliens called the Tzun who falsely claimed to be from Venus. He always maintained that he was told about the alien deception by an alien working for the CIA and there is nothing to contradict his story. Actually, Agar's story is strengthened by his claims during the incident that he had been abducted by Venusians who wanted to have peaceful contact with humanity. Later on, when given access to leaked accounts of the incident at Corman, Agar said that the incidents were a US government reaction to the Tzun reneging on some sort of deal they had made.
If Agar's story is true, then maybe Snowbird was an alien ship on loan and project Moondust was a way to recover lost alien ships. This incident, however, is so shrouded in both secrecy and UFO mythology that what really happened there will probably never be known.
The Corman incident didn't start the UFO craze, but it did give it a big boost. This alone puts it as an important incident on the road to UNIT, as UNIT very often found itself dealing with major events in UFO mythology. But, just as importantly for a history of UNIT, the incident may have been particularly important in the UN Security Council's decision to endorse UNIT's creation. Not only is this incident rumoured to have swayed the US vote heavily towards UNIT, but there are rumours about a former Director of Central Intelligence pushing the US government to set up a similar organisation. As the DCI in question was the one who the Scottish Doctor contacted during this incident, there is a strong possibility of collusion.
The incident also spotlights the whole area of cover-ups. Whatever your views on the UFO phenomenon, this incident is highly classified and so groups who know a few things about the incident spin an elaborate web of myths about the incident. Corman Airbase has become synonymous with every aspect of UFO mythology, from alien abductions and messages to humanitPre U.N.I.T. Incidents
In 1959 the first US satellite was launched and lost, much as the first (unpublicised) soviet one had been in May 1957. The satellite was eventually traced to the Shangri-La holiday camp near Llandrudnod Wells in Wales by two CIA agents called Hawk and Weissmuller. The recovery of the satellite involved the Scottish Doctor. Eyewitnesses report that a number of tourists were killed by unknown forces who dubbed, by some, the Bannermen. No official record of the deaths exist, however, and all those staying at the camp are all recorded as having left in the normal way, save for one woman who died of a heart attack two days after these events.
Some of the more exotic accounts of the incident include the transformation of Shangri-La's mechanic into some kind of non-human creature and the use of sonic weapons of unknown specifications. These weapons, if they were used then, have never been used in any military operations, leading us to believe that either they don't exist, or they were not created by any major military force. The mechanic rumoured to have been transformed into an alien, however, went onto the official missing persons list shortly after this incident.
As with the Corman Airbase Incident, the Shangri-La incident was key in the development of the UFO craze. However, the fact that the government has, to this day, kept it secret from the public with only vague rumours leaking out about the actual events has reduced it's impact. As a result of this excessive secrecy, we believe that this incident was more than just the retrieval of a satellite that went wrong. These suspicions are strengthened by major omissions in the records we have seen about how the satellite hit. Furthermore, there is a complete absence of any signs of impact.
Whether this incident was due, as some accounts suggest, to the involvement of extra-terrestrial beings, or to some secret government project is impossible to say. Unfortunately, there is insufficient information to reconstruct the actual events, which is another feature that is common to many UNIT operations. This incident also illustrates the tendency for UFO enthusiasts to take what details they can get hold of and tell an unsubstantiated tale of alien involvement. In this case, rumours claim that the satellite caused a major malfunction on an alien ship and that they put the satellite in the holiday camp but were tracked down by CIA alien-killers. This is totally unsubstantiated, but has gone down in UFO mythology as a genuine explanation of what happened.
The Disappearing Teachers
In May 1963, a girl named Susan Foreman enrolled in the Coal Hill School, Shoreditch, London. At the exact same time, the Old Doctor began several months of working amongst London's scientific community. Although no-one among the people he worked with can remember anything about what he was working on, he was considered a scientist of the highest repute. Both individuals gave the address 76 Totters Lane, which is, in actual fact, a junkyard owned at the time by one I.M. Foreman; presumably this is the origin of Susan's given surname.
Susan Foreman was noted at the school for displaying very unusual knowledge, being more familiar with some specific and advanced areas of knowledge than the teachers, whilst being totally ignorant in many everyday matters. She also had difficulty making friends and was generally perceived as strange by her peers.
On Thursday the 17th of October 1963, both the Old Doctor and Susan Foreman disappeared, together with two teachers at Coal Hill, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. Susan's school reports and references from before Coal Hill were later shown to be fakes. Susan was never seen again.
The two teachers went missing for two years and reappeared in August 1965, claiming to have spent the intervening period as missionaries in Central Africa. This does not fit in at all with their known personalities. Chesterton was well liked by his pupils and respected by the staff, Wright had a more formal style but was equally respected by the staff, and both were very committed to the job. Neither had shown any notable religious observance either before or after their disappearance, and neither showed any signs of an African lifestyle.
Their story also fails to explain why Chesterton's car was found parked outside the junkyard when the search for them started on the 18th. It also misses the fact that missionaries usually have to have substantial training before they are allowed to actually go anywhere and two years is just too short a time for a missionary to train, go and then come back. After their reappearance, the two were reluctant to talk about their time away and took up new careers in academia. Wright became a history lecturer, specialising in Aztec history as well as writing several popular school textbooks.
Chesterton specialised in Astronomy and became infamous among the scientific community as coming up with crackpot ideas. He spent some time teaching at the Royal Aircraft Establishment's technical college at Farnborough. The pair later married. Their son, John, became the famous singer Jonny Chess.
There are several possible explanations for this incident. Many would immediately claim that the two had been abducted by aliens, but this does not account for the obvious involvement of the Old Doctor, a clear-cut agent of C-19, nor does it adequately account for what we know of Susan Foreman, unless aliens can appear identical to humans. Possibly, there was some sort of secret government experiment which this Doctor was preparing for. This might explain Susan's skewed knowledge and the many interesting and nonconformist theories that both teachers later came up with, and which actually do work.
An experiment which could have the effect of implanting information into the human brain would certainly explain these strange occurrences if we assume Susan to be the first example and the teachers to be the next subjects. However, that there is no evidence whatsoever of any repeats of such a process, unless the Doctor Agents were the result of further experiments in this vein. Nor would it explain the two year spell of absence.
Whatever the real reason behind the disappearances, they may well be connected with an event that occurred in the same place, about a month later.
The Shoreditch Incident
Occurring on the weekend of the 16th-17th November 1963, the week before Kennedy's assassination, this incident involved the Intrusion Counter-Measures Group, UNIT's predecessor, under Group Captain Ian Gilmore and professor Rachel Jenson. From the documents that have so far been available, we know that there was some sort of emergency centred around Coal Hill School and the Junkyard at 76 Totters Lane. Using the Peacetime Nuclear Accident provisions, a 3-mile exclusion zone was created around these 2 sites and a D-notice was issued.
The official story was that there had been an explosion, linked to a gas leak, in the school's basement and that a World War 2 bomb had been found in a nearby builder's yard. During the 48 hours of this incident, George Ratcliffe, the owner of said builder's yard, and 5 workmen were killed, although how and why these men were inside the exclusion zone was never explained. In addition, several of the troops seconded to the ICMG were killed and all bar one were given full military honours at their funerals. The exception was Sergeant Mike Smith, who was buried privately five days after the event.
Many of the details suggest that there was a lot more to this incident than meets the eye. There was definitely more than just a gas leak and an explosion, as can be told from the known details of the deaths caused. More telling, however, is the involvement of the Scottish Doctor who is mentioned in several personal documents relating to the incident. These reports claim that he was accompanied by a teenaged girl known by the nickname Ace bearing a similar description to his companion in a number of other incidents, including some in the late 1980's.
Some witnesses claim to have seen 5 foot tall robots shaped like pepperpots with slatted base sections, eyestalks on a top domed section, and 2 extensions in the middle part. One of these extensions is said to have borne a distinct resemblance to a sink plunger and the other was shaped like a gun barrel. If these witnesses are reliable, then the robots could be one of many things. Plausible suggestions include secret government experiments, secret Soviet weapons being tried out on a NATO country, and extra-terrestrial beings. Whatever their origin, they could easily be responsible for the deaths and might necessitate a cover-up.
The fact that Kennedy was assassinated less than a week later undoubtedly helped the cover-up operation, diverting attention away from all except those directly affected by the event. The incident is remarkably similar to most UNIT operations in that the area in which it happened was kept free of civilians and press, whilst the ICMG (UNIT's precursor) dealt with the incident. Also, with UNIT operations a press blackout is usually called for until an official explanation, together with what are almost certainly sanitised photographs, is released.
The 16th of July 1966 was proclaimed as C-day, the day when "all the computers in the world would be linked together", basically an early version of the internet. This statement was actually just a soundbite, the plan included many important computers, such as ELDO, TELSTAR, the White House, Parliament, Cape Kennedy, EFTA, RN and Woomera, but fell well short of every computer in the world, even in the 60s. The centrepiece for all this activity was WOTAN, the Will Operating Thought ANalogue, a very advanced (for the time) computer housed in the (then) newly-completed Post Office Tower (now Telecom Tower).
The much hyped event completely failed to happen. Professor Brett, the creator of WOTAN and instigator of the project had what was officially described as a slight nervous breakdown and C-Day was abandoned at the last minute. This, on its own, would hardly be worth commenting on. However, there were a number of unusual circumstances surrounding C-Day. A few days before C-Day, the area around the Post Office Tower as well as parts of Covent Garden were evacuated for army exercises, which is patently ridiculous.
This can't have been security for the C-Day project, as there would be no need to pretend that it was just routine exercises. Besides, what the public saw was inconsistent with a security operation. Something that the government wanted to keep from the general public was going on in central London at the time and was never made public.
Incidentally (or not, as the case may be), C-Day coincided with a sudden upsurge in headaches and severe migraines in those working in the area surrounding said tower. Some of these cases are reported to have suffered from memory loss and mental instability for years afterwards. One case of this is Dorothea Chaplet, whose problems allegedly led to her being incarcerated in the Glasshouse.
None of these victims were ever compensated for their problems and, indeed, no-one ever acknowledged that there was a link. In addition to this, WOTAN was shut down and never referred to again by those that had been trumpeting its successes. This leads us to the simple conclusion that WOTAN was broadcasting some sort of electromagnetic, ultrasonic or infrasonic signal that was causing the headaches and migraines. We might also conclude that, in some cases, this caused more permanent brain damage. This, however, does not tell us why the area was sealed off some days before C-Day.
For the reasons why the military were involved, our best guess must revolve around the Old Doctor. The memoirs of civil servant Sir Charles Summer, make reference to the incident and provide us with a description of the Doctor. They also mention that he was assisted by a young sailor called Ben Jackson and Brett's secretary, Polly Wright. Summer also mentioned that the general public failed to realise the magnitude of the disaster averted, attributing the aversion mostly to the Doctor. Summer was, however, not particularly forthcoming on details of the disaster, and the Doctor's assistants have refused to comment.
Perhaps the military involvement can best be explained by some sort of terrorist activity timed to coincide with C-Day. Such activity could easily have been instigated by terrorist groups, or possibly foreign fifth columnists who had some interest in the C-Day project. One possibility is that KGB agents had realised the potential of the project to cause havoc in the west, and attempted to gain control of WOTAN as the project went online in order to have the greatest disruptive impact possible.
As with many other cases, our answers are limited to mere conjecture and the true facts of the matter are unlikely to be known in the near future. One aspect of this case that is worth noting are the similarities to many UNIT operations. A large number of UNIT operations coincided with a temporary increase in the number of reported cases of various illnesses or deaths from particular problems. Undoubtedly, if UNIT had been in existence at the time, they would have provided the troops for the sealing off of London.
This incident bears particular resemblance to the circumstances surrounding Project Golden Age. Both affairs were major embarrassments to the government of the time which involved the sealing off of large parts of London. In both cases, much of the work in resolving the situation was due to a Doctor agent. In fact, a lot of the incidents dealt with by UNIT have proved major embarrassments to the government of the day when some of the facts were leaked to the general public. possibly most or all of the incidents chronicled here would have had the same effect if the truth had got out.
There were also some interesting developments on that day at Gatwick airport. On C-Day, the elusive Doctor was involved in exposing a fraudulent tour company, Chameleon Tours. The details of this case are so fragmentary and seem to bear so little known relation to UNIT (other than similarities to UNIT's role in the downfall of several companies and the involvement of a Doctor agent) that little more is worth saying. This is, however, the only known case of two Doctor agents being active in concurrent incidents. Incidentally, there is only one case of two distinct Doctor agents being involved in the same event, the Seville Affair. This makes the whole situation most unusual. Perhaps this happened as part of installing a new agent, the new one taking on some kind of training case whilst the old one is still on the job.
Occurring in May 1968, the London Event, as it was later called, was the most prominent event on the road to UNIT. Officially described as an industrial accident, the event involved both the Elusive Doctor and military forces under the command of Colonel Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. The official story was that some sort of hallucinogenic nerve gas leaked into the London tube system. The gas then spread above ground, where it formed a deadly web-like fog.
The official story was a complete fabrication, at least according to dispatches between Lethbridge-Stewart and other officers. Like many of UNIT's operations, the details are difficult to secure. Reports agree that there was some sort of web-like fog that escaped from the underground. People also reported seeing strange creatures in the tube tunnels, and London was evacuated. This, however, is as far as definite facts go.
Some reports indicate that the Doctor spent most of the crisis in the tunnels, and that the soldiers attempted to seal the tunnels with explosives. If this was actually attempted, then it clearly didn't work, as there is no evidence of any explosions happening anywhere on the tube network. The rest of this incident is wide open to speculation as there are insufficient facts available to make even an educated guess at what happened. It could have been anything from aliens to incredibly sophisticated terrorists (but then why hide it?) to foreign secret services or a secret government project gone horribly badly wrong.
One thing we do know is that no known chemical produces the web effects reported by eyewitnesses. Also, the most detailed descriptions of the creatures in the tunnels closely match the descriptions of bears, apes and the legendary yeti.
The most important thing about this incident is that it was the start of Lethbridge-Stewart's role in UNIT's formation. Rumours also link this incident to the Det Sen investigation in 1984 as well as the New World University incident. Such links, however, are much more speculative than fact, relying on leaked documents from unreliable sources.
In the final analysis, the incident again shows clearly the sealing off, press blackout and misinformation which are commonly connected to UNIT operations - what is the government trying to hide?