UFO files: Threat of alien invasion taken seriously by British military
British police, armed forces and intelligence services were all mobilised after a "very successful" practical joke for a student rag week sparked fears of a real alien invasion, newly released secret files reveal.
The authorities, including four local forces and a bomb disposal unit, swung into action after six "flying saucers" were found by members of the public in a perfect line across southern England.
But fears of a real "war of the worlds" incident petered out after examination of the "spacecraft" showed that it was an elaborate rag week hoax by engineering students.
The incident, which was taken seriously for a number of hours, took place in 1967 but has only just been revealed by secret UFO files released from Britain's national Archives.
They show that early in the morning of 4 September the police and RAF were flooded with calls from the public reporting six small “flying saucers” that had been discovered in locations in a perfect line across southern England from the Isle of Sheppey to the Bristol Channel.