Nick Pope’s ‘investigation’ of the Rendlesham Forest radiation readings

Nick Pope's memo about the radiation readings at Rendlesham Forest

This is Nick Pope’s handwritten memo concerning the radiation readings from the MoD’s Rendlesham Forest UFO file. It is folio 9 in Part 1 of the file. The memo, signed and dated dated 15 April 1994, reads as follows:

Spoke to Giles Cowling at the Defence Radiological Protection Service re the radiation readings recorded at the time of the Rendlesham Forest incident. 0.01 would be the general level of background radiation, so the 0.1 reading is about 10 times what would be normal. [Ian’s note: this would be true if 0.1 were a steady level, but as we know it refers only to a random peak.]

However, military radiation detectors are geared for high level readings, so low-level readings may be difficult to record accurately, as the scale will be small at the bottom of the meter.* We don’t have details of what instrument was used.

It is just possible to hoax such an event. A university lab might well have some radioactive source with a very short half life, and could could use it so as to give readings which would not be recorded a few days later.

The level of radiation of 0.1 is completely harmless.

*Especially if the needle was fluctuating.

Pope’s ‘investigation’ evidently never went as far as contacting the Public Affairs Office at the air base itself, or he would have learned that they considered the readings to fall ‘within the range of normal background radiation counts’.

For a better-quality but redacted scan of the note from the MoD file DEFE-24-1948 click here.

Content last revised: 2023 July.