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Welsh UFO Sightings 1909

Welsh UFO Sightings

Welsh UFO sightings from 1909. For sightings from other years please click HERE.

Saturday 15th May, 01:00

G. Beanland and A. V. Day, at the local flour mill, sighted a cigar-shaped object stationary over Newport Bridge, shortly after 1.00 AM. Searchlights flashed from each end on to the bridge. After 10 minutes one of the lights went out, and the object flew off towards Stow Hill.

Source: The Eternal Subject Brinsley Le Poer Trench 1973 pages 97-98 citing South Wales Daily News, Cardiff, May 17, 1909.

The Western Mail of Monday 17th May reported:

Victor Day, packer, employed at the Star Flour Mills, Newport, states that whilst he was in company with two other men standing on the railway siding about one o'clock on Saturday morning, he saw what he believed was an airship hovering over Newport Bridge very high in the air.

He was standing on the quay wall near the Star Mills, and had his attention drawn to something in the sky. In his opinion it had the shape of a torpedo, and was then statonary.

There appeared to be two lights out at each end, which flashed across the sky. The airship was clearly outlined against a clear sky, but it was not very light. It appeared in the same position for about ten minutes, and then one of the searchlights suddenly went out.

A minute later the other light gradually grew dimmer, and also disappeared. It appeared to be affected by a slight wind in the direction of Stow Hill, and then went out of sight.

Tuesday 18th May

Various newspapers reported on a rumour that swept Bangor and had lots of children out searching for "fairies, brownies or hobgoblins." The rumour alleged that "little men with big eyes and long ears had been seen playing amongst the tombstones" of a disused cemetary in the centre of town. The North Wales Weekly News (21/05/1909) claimed one of their sources said the children numbered in their hundreds. However many kids there were, they did manage to make enough noise to have the police attend the scene and put an end to proceedings.

North Wales Weekly News 21/05/1909 Cardiff Times 22/05/1909

The Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent (21/05/1909) had the most detailed report:

Tuesday 18th May
Caerphilly Mountain

I'm planning on writing this case - and the media coverage it generated - up more fully, but the basic story is that of Mr C. Lethbridge. Sometime dock worker, sometime Punch and Judy purveyor, Lethbridge was pushing his Punch and Judy cart home via Caerphilly Mountain on Tuesday 16th May.

Evening Express, 19th May 1909

Lethbridge, while admitting he had had a 'sleever', maintained that he hadn't been drunk when he came across a grounded craft ('a long tube-shaped affair') and two young men dressed in heavy fur coats and hats. On seeing him the men 'jumped up and jabbered furiously to each other in a strange lingo - Welsh or something; it was certainly not English.' They then got into 'a kind of little carriage suspended from' the craft, and rose into the air 'in a zig-zag fashion'.

Evening Express 20th May 1909
Evening Express 20th May 1909
Evening Express 20th May 1909
Evening Express 20th May 1909
Evening Express 20th May 1909

The sighting resulted in lots of newspaper interest and speculation. So much so that in a follow up piece in the Evening Express on July 7th, Lethbridge said he was 'sick of the whole matter'.

Evening Express 7th July 1909 Evening Express 7th July 1909

Wednesday 19th May, 01:20
Cardiff Docks

At about 1.20 AM coal trimmers at the Queen Alexandra Dock in Cardiff, W. John, C. Hayman, A. Bradley, C. Harwood and J. Thomas, a signalman named Westlake and Dick Squires, another workman at the dock, and a number of men onboard a ship saw an object in the sky.

The coal trimmers were near the foreshore, when a "swishing" sound overhead attracted their attention. It was too dark to clearly distinguish any object, but the men saw two lights "a kind of flashing searchlight", they explained - which were visible for about three or four minutes, and appeared to be going in the direction of Newport, and then turning towards Weston.

The signalman, Robert Westlake, in a statement said:

"At 1.15 this morning, while attending to my duties signalling trains at King's Junction, Queen Alexandra Dock, I was startled by a weird object flying in the air. In appearance it represented a boat or cigar shape, and was making a whizzing noise. It was lit by two lights which could be plainly seen. It was travelling at a great rate, and was elevated at a distance of half-a-mile, making for eastward."

A number of men working on the steamship 'Arndale' also saw the airship. It came from the direction of Newport, took a curve over the docks, and passed over the Channel towards Weston, being clearly in view for a minute or two before the lights on board were suddenly extinguished.

Source: Western Mail, Wednesday 19th May 1909 and Thursday 20th May 1909.

Dr. M. B. Boyd took credit for this sighting, though later admitted his story of nocturnal flights in his airship were a hoax.

Wednesday 19th May, 08:00
Maindee, Newport

About 8.00 a.m., W. Breighton's little girl pointed out a 'big fowl' which would 'flap' at times. It came from the Bristol Channel, standing still on occasion, and moving away about 8.30 a.m. Two others saw the object, one, using a telescope, said the craft was 12 to 15 yards long and was carrying three men.

Source: 'Humanoid Encounters 1900 - 1929' Albert S. Rosales 2016 page 88 citing Carl Grove 'Flying Saucer Review' Vol. 17 No. 1.

Wednesday 19th May, dusk
Bristol Channel off Mumbles

Dusk. A witness whose name is unpublished reported a sighting to the Western Mail:


A Swansea correspondent, who sends us his name and address privately, writes: - "The following observations may be of interest: Last night (Wednesday), being on Mumbles Head at dusk, I observed over the Channel in a S.S.E. direction, two elongated dark objects, apparently about 80 to 100 feet long, moving from N.W. to S.E. at a rapid rate. After watching them intently for a few minutes I saw four, white flashes in quick succession from the most easterly object, which was immediately answered by three slower flashes from the other. I also distinctly heard three sharp signals, apparently from a bell, answered by two more. The objects appeared to approach each other, and then disappeared, travelling away from my observation at a considerable speed."

Source: Western Mail, Friday 21st May 1909.

Wednesday 19th May, 22:00

10 PM. Mr Garth Fisher, architect and surveyor, and his wife, who reside at Penygarn, a village just outside Pontypool, assert that they saw the vessel pass by, at a considerable altitude right over their house, and going in the direction of Herefordshire.

Mr and Mrs Fisher's impression of the ship was that it was cigar-shaped, and carried a piece of canvas. There was also a powerful light attached. A number of men employed at the Town Forge saw it going over the mountain in the direction of Abergavenny. Passing over the forge the airship darted off at right angles.

A number of Post Office officials state that they saw something floating in the air about the same hour of the night, and that it had a powerful light, which quivered.

No one, however, appears to have heard the noise of a motor working.

So far as the Pontypool incident is concerned, a possible explanation is forthcoming. Mr Victor Swanton states that what was actually seen in the district on Wednesday was nothing more than a model airship, which, in conjunction with his brother, he had constructed for the purpose of experimenting with. The model, he says, was about 6 ft or 7 ft long, and elliptical, rather than cigar-shaped.

Wednesday being a favourable night for making an experiment, he accordingly let it loose from his house. An electrical flare light was attached, in order to show which direction the model took, and this was, doubtless, mistaken for the searchlight.

The model, continued Mr Swanton, attained a height of about 1,500 ft to 2000 ft, and sailed quite as well as he had anticipated in different directions. When reaching an altitude of about 2000 ft it went over Pontypool in the direction attested by the witnesses of the lights on Wednesday night - viz. Towards Llangibby.

Source: Western Mail, Friday 21st May 1909.

Thursday 20th May
South East Wales

Sightings came in from across the region in the early hours of the morning. The Evening Express of May 21st reported on the story:

Evening Express 21 May 1909

Thursday 20th May, evening
Milford Haven

The Western Mail reported that an airship had passed over Milford Haven, seen by a crowd of some 300 people. It was picked up the Evening Express on May 22nd:

The Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph of June 2nd gleefully revealed the story to be a hoax:

[-and a contemporary from another hoax]

Saturday 22nd May, 22:30

Lights were seen over Commercial Street, Maesteg. One man, with a telescope, reported an aerial craft, with occupants. No other information.

Source: 'Humanoid Encounters 1900-1929' Albert S. Rosales 2016 page 88 citing Carl Grove 'Flying Saucer Review' Vol. 17 No.1

Saturday 22nd May, 22:55

The Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard (28/05/1909) reported on a 'scareship' sighting from Aberystwyth.

"Shortly before eleven o'clock on Saturday night a group of Aberystwyth people had a slight attack of the airship scare. The rumour that an airship was about attracted a crowd on to the Promenade, but there was no actual sign of an airship. Although, according to hearsay, circumstantial evidence was not lacking, there could be no doubt in the minds of those who read the sensational reports in last week's papers of the visitation of a mysterious airship.

It is stated by those who were on the Promenade that the lights, presumably belonging to an airship, could be seen in the sky travelling south east from the sea. It is stated by others that the lights were seen coming from an inland direction and were put out when the supposed airship passed over the town. The lights were of a brilliant yellow colour and had the appearance of a search- light. The phenomena, however, passed away as mysteriously as it appeared."

Sunday 23rd May, 21:45

A Llanrwst correspondent writes:

'About 9.45 pm on Sunday several Llanrwst people had a protracted view of a mysterious airship. A dim light was first observed approaching the town from the direction of Snowdon. 

The aerial visitor, however, having for a few seconds hovered over Gwydr Castle, the Welsh seat of Lord Carrington, served to the left and rose to a higher altitude and followed the range of mountains in the direction of Trefriw. 

It was then seen that the vessel showed a yellowish light in front and behind and the distance between did not seem more than 12 or 15 ft. Owing to the darkness the shape of the vessel could not clearly be defined, it however, travelled at considerable speed. 

It hovered for a few seconds over Dolgarrog Aluminium works, where it dipped considerably and threw a bright light on the mountain-side beneath. The machine then ascended to a great height and continued its flight until it disappeared over the mountain in the direction of Llandudno. 

The machine was exposed to view from 9.45 pm to 10.15 pm and during that period travelled at least 13 miles.'

Source: North Wales Weekly News, Friday 28th May 1909.

Monday 24th May, 23:15

A Swansea police-constable has supplied an official statement that he saw distinctly from Port Tennant at 11.30 at night an airship going in a westerly-direction at a great speed, with a powerful light.

Police-constable (111) Williams reports that at 11.15 on Monday night, whilst standing at the tram terminus, Port Tennant, in company with a man named Bell, the latter noticed a light moving in the air, and drew the police-constable's attention to it.

After a little while the airship was noticed passing along in a north-westerly direction at a great speed. The light attached to the airship was exceedingly bright, and was located under it.

The airship was at such a height that it was impossible for the observers to give a good description of it, and it passed out of sight.

To make sure they were not mistaken they sought the assistance of Police-constable Johnstone. That officer avers that he saw a bright light, but he will not swear that it was an airship.

The incident was reported in the police occurrence book.

Source: Weekly Mail, 29th May 1909.

Mystery Solved! Or not...

On July 6th newspapers began reporting the explanation behind the spate of nighttime airship sightings. The Evening Express claimed that Dr. Maxim B. Boyd, allegedly a well known American aeronaut, had come forward to reveal the mystery airship was a prototype of his own design, some eight years in development.

However as the days passed some commentators were far from convinced. Boyd initially stuck to the story and said he would be unveiling the airship to the public in the near future, as in this piece from the Evening Express of July 8th.

Flight magazine were cautiously enthusiastic about the claims, saying they were satisfied proof would soon be forthcoming. As of July 10th Boyd was still offering up explanations of how he had kept the development of his airship a secret, as reported here in the Cardiff Times:

What was much less widely reported was that by July 12th Boyd had given up on his attempts to convince people of his story. Here is some coverage of his admission in the Kalgoorlie Miner, a daily newspaper from Western Australia, as none was forthcoming from the Welsh newspapers...

Kalgoorlie Miner 13 July 1909 Kalgoorlie Miner 13 July 1909

After some newspaper trawling I came across a report which referred to him as Dr Maxim Boyd, which lead me to one Maxim Bernard Becker Boyd - aka Maxim Boyd Hart - who was convicted multiple times for fraud and forgery. He first came to the notice of the press in 1904 when he was performing around the country as the 'Magic Kettle Man', conducting experiments with liquid nitrogen, and some of the same papers followed up with reports on his 1905 conviction for forgery. By 1912 he was living in London as an "undischarged but unashamed bankrupt" who had allegedly invented an engine that would "revolutionise motoring." By 1916 he was claiming to be German and was up in Lambeth Police Court in the February for theft. (The Globe, 05/02/1916)

He eventually left for the USA via Liverpool in April 1917. So, basically, his coming forward to the Daily News fitted with his usual M.O. - in 1916 the Police Gazette described him as someone "who poses as an inventor, scientist or director of electrical engineering companies. Obtains quantities of goods in connection with the companies, which prove nonexistent, but fails to make any payment. Has also negotiated worthless cheques, made out on plain paper, by pretending he has forgotten his cheque book; and forged and uttered bills of exchange for large amounts."

On 19th August the Melbourne Punch speculated that explanations for the scareship sightings might have come from the government to calm the public fears they represented foreign spies - and avoid any further questions being asked.

Flight magazine (29/05/1909) reported more detail on the crash of the advertising balloon:

Thursday 8th July, 21:00 - 21:30

A month or so ago South Wales was excited over the mysterious appearance and disappearance of a strange object in the heavens. That proved to be the wonderful aerial invention of Dr. Boyd. The secret only came to light a few days ago, proving the veracity of reports published in the "Evening Express".

Now there is a mystery in the air again. Some campers and others at Allt-Yr-Yn were startled on Thursday night by seeing a cigar-shaped object hovering over the Crindau and Llantarnam districts, where it remained for about half an hour, between nine o'clock and half-past nine. This story was communicated by Mr. W. G. Crawley.

Source: Evening Express, Saturday 10th July 1909.

Friday 9th July, 23:00

"Mr. John Ashfield, of 49 Alexandria Road, Cardiff, an old resident of the town, states that he saw an airship over Cowbridge Road shortly after 11pm last night and ran after it. There were two occupants of the central part, he says, and he shouted and received an answering call, but the three lights it bore were then immediately switched off and the mysterious object soon disappeared in the direction of Penarth."

Friday 9th July, 23:45

Miss Isabel Evans, of 43, Diamond-street, Roath, Cardiff, had her attention drawn to a brilliant light. More careful observation revealed to her a "cigar-shaped object with a powerful searchlight attached."

"Really, it was a most powerful light," emphasised Miss Evans in an interview with a reporter, "and it was, apparently, playing down on Newport, although it was distinctly over Cardiff, appearing to be just over our heads."

Miss Evans said she called the attention of her mother to the strange sight, and they watched the ship moving about for nearly half an hour. Now and then it would make a violent dart and take a circular tour.

Finally the object disappeared over Newport into the darkness.

Source: Evening Express, Saturday 10th July 1909.

Monday 9th August, 07:00
Merthyr Mountain


Three persons in Cwmdare declare that they saw an airship last Monday morning. Mr. Evan John Evans, milk vendor, one of the three persons referred to, was milking his cows in Gamblyn field at 7 o'clock that morning, when he perceived an object descend on the Merthyr mountain and rise again very quickly. It was cigar-like in shape, similar in the one seen on Caerphilly mountain. He also saw a person inside, dressed in black. The airship went in the direction of Merthyr. Mr. Evans' son and daughter, who were with him, also testify to seeing it.

Source: Aberdare Leader, Saturday 14th August 1909.

26th August

Residents of Pentyrch and Creigiau sky watched throughout the week of 23rd - 29th August, intrigued by a brilliant sparkling light in the east. The Evening Express (28/08/1909) suggested the sighting was of Mars.

Evening Express 28/08/1909

Friday 3rd September, night
Pentre, Rhondda

On Friday night, an unusual sight was visible in the sky above Pentre. The appearance of lights at intervals led some prophets to think of the end of the world, while others of a more modern frame of mind thought of aeroplanes and balloons. As yet, no definite information can be obtained as to the cause of the scare.

Source: Rhondda Leader, Saturday 4th September 1909.

For more like this please click the image below:
Weird Wales


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