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Scotland 1990?

I have received this email from Matthew Illsley:

Dear Mr Parker,

I am writing to you to ask if you can help me find any information regarding No. 4 Squadron’s activities in Scotland during August 1990.

I understand that at that time the squadron was based at Gutersloh in Germany and commanded by Malcolm White. However, I have been told that up to 4 of the planes and crews flew low level training missions in Scotland in August of that year.

Do you or any of the members you know remember that period of time and who from No. 4 went to Scotland? Is there anyone I can speak to regarding that period of time and the pilots who flew in the Harriers, please?

I would be happy to call you at your convenience to discuss this matter further, should that be acceptable to you.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can give me.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Illsley

Can anyone remember this exercise or have something in their logbooks? Let me know if you have and I’ll put you in touch with Matthew

Update: Matthew has got back to me with more information:

Dear Mr Parker,

Thank you very much for posting my initial enquiry. If I may, I thought I would add a clarification to see if it would jog people’s memories or allow them to tell me I’m barking up the wrong tree (or just barking).

I am writing to ask if anyone can help me in locating any information about No. 4 Squadron’s activities in Scotland around August 1990. This is a slightly unusual situation, but I will try to explain as briefly as possible.

I am informally assisting Dr David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam University in researching a UFO sighting which allegedly occurred near the hamlet of Calvine on 4th August 1990, and I was wondering if the incident is known to anyone within No. 4 Squadron.

According to military sources, the incident began when 2 men drove 13 miles from Pitlochry around sunset (8pm), parked in or near Calvine, and entered a heavily wooded area, likely with the intention of poaching deer. On reaching a fence that separated the trees from some moorland, the men climbed over and instantly became aware of a large, diamond-shaped craft (80-100ft/25-30m in length) hovering silently in the air above them. Afraid, the men immediately leapt back into the woods and hid.

According to an account given by the main witness to an RAF officer, a couple of minutes later, a high-flying Harrier jet overflew the location before going north, and a couple of minutes after that, another Harrier, possibly the same one, came from the north and circled the hovering object a few times at low level before flying off north again. The diamond-shaped craft itself hovered for another couple of minutes before taking off vertically at high speed, again in silence, and the men then went back to their car and returned to Pitlochry.

Crucially, when the jet was circling the craft, 1 of the men had the presence of mind to take 6 colour photos which he later sent, along with the negatives, to the Daily Record newspaper. The paper in turn sent them to the MOD in London. Multiple MOD and RAF personnel have since confirmed both publicly and in private that the photos and negatives were received, and that prints, including poster-sized ones, were made, shared between departments, and studied/measured in great detail by JARIC, which confirmed their authenticity. However, to date, these photos and negatives have never been publicly released or published.

To my understanding, No. 4 Squadron was based at Gutersloh in Germany in 1990 and commanded by Wing Commander Malcolm White. However, the National Archives states that 4 Harriers flew low-level training missions in Scotland in August of that year. In addition, page 36 of the declassified MOD file DEFE-24-1940-1_2 is a ‘defensive’ press briefing dated 14th September 1990. Having been prepared by the Secretariat Air Staff for the Assistant Private Secretary for the Under Secretary of State (Armed Forces), it states: ‘The [Calvine] negatives have been considered by the relevant staffs who have established that the jet aircraft is a Harrier (and also identified a barely visible second aircraft, again probably a Harrier) but have reached no definite conclusion regarding the large object.’ Moreover, page 55 of the declassified MOD file DEFE-31-180-1 is a document from November 1991. In it, whilst, ordering new line drawings to be made of the UFO in the Calvine photos, an unnamed officer wrote: “Task already discussed with Ops 4 Sqn.”

I am hence trying to speak to anyone from No. 4 Squadron who might be able to help identify:

(a) whether (and if so, how) No. 4 Squadron was involved in this matter (Who served in Ops in the early 1990s, for example?),
(b) whether other Harriers were flying in Scotland at that time,
(c) whether anyone in No. 4 Squadron knows the Calvine incident’s true nature and the nature of the diamond-shaped craft,
(d) and whether the identity/identities of the Harrier pilot(s) involved is/are known and can be revealed.

If this story is remotely true, and if pilots and aircraft from No. 4 Squadron were in some way involved, people must surely have spoken of it, perhaps in whispers or over a few beers, at some point in the last 31 years. Therefore, if anyone has any information whatsoever and would be willing to speak to me, I’d be extremely grateful to hear from them. They can speak anonymously or off the record if needs be, and I can call them at their convenience.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Illsley
@IllsleyMatthew on Twitter

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