London, Aug 5 (ANI): Former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill allegedly ordered a cover-up of a Second World War encounter between a UFO and a RAF bomber, as he feared public 'panic'.
Newly released secret files reveal that Churchill apparently banned reporting of the "bizarre" incident, off the east coast of England, from being reported, as he feared it would create public hysteria and loss of faith in religion.
Churchill is said to have given the orders during a secret war meeting with US General Dwight Eisenhower, the then commander of the Allied Forces, at an undisclosed location in America during the latter part of the conflict.
The allegations against him had been made by the grandson of one his personal bodyguards, an RAF officer who overheard the discussion.
The RAF officer's grandson then wrote to the Ministry of Defence in 1999 inquiring about the incident after his grandfather disclosed details to his family.
According to the series of letters, written by the guard's grandson, a reconnaissance plane and its crew were returning from a mission over occupied Europe when they encountered the unidentified flying object.
He claimed that during their flight, on the English coast, possibly near Cumbria, a metallic UFO approached their aircraft and shadowed them.
The crew took photographs of the object, which they claim had "hovered noiselessly" near the plane.
Later, during discussions about the unexplained incident, the two men were claimed to have become so concerned by the incident that Churchill ordered it remain secret for 50 years or more.
During the meeting, a weapons expert dismissed suggestions the object was a missile as the event was "totally beyond any imagined capabilities of the time".
Another person at the meeting raised the possibility of a UFO, at which point Churchill ordered the report to be classified for at least half a century and reviewed by the prime minister to stop "panic" spreading.
The claims are contained in thousands of pages of declassified files on UFOs, released on August 5 online by the National Archives.
After investigating the claims, an MoD official said there was no evidence to support the claims as all "UFO files before 1967 were destroyed after five years" due to insufficient public interest.
Dr David Clarke, author of The UFO files and Senior Lecturer in Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, said the "fascinating" files showed the level of concern about such "bizarre incidents" during the war.
"It does tie in with what we already know as you have to remember that this was also long before the phrase UFO was created," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
"I suspect there is an element of truth to the statement," he added. (ANI)