LONDON — British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill banned the reporting for 50 years of an alleged UFO incident because of fears it could create mass panic, according to claims made public on Thursday.
The grandson of an RAF officer who was one of Churchill's personal bodyguards wrote to Britain's Ministry of Defence in 1999 about the alleged incident.
His account and Churchill's claimed reaction featured in documents released on Thursday from Britain's National Archives.
According to this account, the man's grandfather overheard Churchill discussing the alleged incident with US wartime General Dwight Eisenhower.
Reports given to Churchill claimed that a reconnaissance aircraft returning to Britain from a mission was shadowed by a UFO as it crossed the British coast.
The plane's crew were reported to have photographed the object, which they said had "hovered noiselessly" near the aircraft, before moving off.
According to the letter describing this alleged incident: "Mr Churchill is reported to have made a declaration to the effect, 'This event should be immediately classified since it would create mass panic among the general population and destroy one's belief in the Church.'"
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