Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Beneath Rudloe Manor

Image from Google. If you're the owner and want it removed, let me know.

It happened again.

Giorgio Tsoukalos and The History Channel have given me pause to think. It's happened before, but it remains a rare occurrence.

Ancient Aliens featured a location in Britain called Rudloe Manor. I was immediately captivated.

First of all, just look at the place (pictured above). It's a perfect combination of haunted house and an Anglophile's delight. It even somewhat reminds of the Captain America story, "Midnight in Greymoor Castle." Secondly, it occupies a place in World War II history, one of my favorite eras to study (I've mentioned before how I also love stories set during that time.) And of course, given that it was on AA and got a visit from Giorgio, there is a UFO connection. Let's start with history.

Rudloe Manor is, ostensibly, a typical British country manor located in Wiltshire. It sits atop caverns and tunnels created by quarrying stone to build the nearby town of Bath (which I'm hoping my former students recognize the mention of from Canterbury Tales.) Those subterranean chambers were a boon to the British in 1940.

The Battle of Britain began that year. The start and end dates of that campaign are somewhat nebulous and contentious among historians. At the earliest, it began in May and at the latest wound down in August, 1941, although engagements continued off and on until the end of hostilities in 1945. It was a battle fought almost entirely in the air. Having dominated the majority of Europe, the Germans turned towards one of the continent's last remaining powers: Britain. Through incessant air raids, the Germans sought to drastically cut British forces down and threaten the nation's autarky, forcing the UK into a non-aggression truce. A more optimistic scenario involved the utter elimination of the Royal Air Force (RAF), paving the way for Operation Sea Lion, an amphibious invasion of Britain. If you're a WWII buff, type that military operation into the Google machine and see all of the intriguing "what if" scenarios.

Because it never came to pass. The RAF inflicted massive losses on the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) and the Germans eventually turned their sights elsewhere (Soviet Union. Big mistake. But I digress...) During the fighting, Rudloe Manor became headquarters for Operations of No. 10 Group RAF. This was a communication nerve center that coordinated air defense of Plymouth and several ports and naval dockyards in the southwest of England. Much of this communications and intelligence operation could be housed in the rock-hewn caverns and tunnels, far beneath the ground and safe from enemy bombs. Ancient Aliens said that aircraft were built and stored in the underground facilities, but I've not yet seen documentation to support that. What was there was one of those classic World War II rooms with the giant map table and people with sticks pushing unit counters around like its a big game of Risk. Observe:

After the war, much of the facility was turned back over for civilian use...except for Rudloe Manor. It remained as a military installation. The RAF Provost and Security Service was established nearby, as was a space communications center in connection to the Skynet (yes, its real name) satellite. What got the place on AA was that British officials undertook UFO investigations from the Rudloe facility. Details have emerged that show Churchill and British defense officials took UFOs quite seriously starting in the 1950s. Famed UFO investigator, Nick Pope got his start investigating UFO claims for Ministry of Defense. Pope has stated that many UK UFO files from the dawn of the modern UFO era have been destroyed. Ancient Aliens intimated that those files still exist beneath Rudloe Manor...though no evidence is offered to support that claim. The show also teased that there may be more than just files underground.

On January 23, 1974, residents of villages in the Berwyn Mountains (BERWYN? for all you Svengoolie fans) of Wales claimed to have experienced an earth-shaking explosion and a burning light on a hillside. Military units were soon on the scene, but later dispersed. The official explanation is one of earthquake and meteor strike at the same time. At least a few Ufologists, not to mention witnesses of event, believe that the incident was in fact a UFO crash and a recovered craft was taken to storage beneath Rudloe Manor.

It's easy to see how the old English manor earned the name, "Britain's Area 51."

What isn't easy to see is the evidence for the claim of recovered spacecraft. The AA episode doesn't go into it. Instead they break for commercial and then retread the story of Rendelsham Forest which they've hashed and rehashed so many times. I'm getting the impression that these shows are getting more and more padding with each episode. I would rather have seen them flesh out their claims, particularly that Rudloe Manor is a center not only for UFO investigations but study and monitoring of all kinds of paranormal activity, such as ley lines and portals. I can't decide if it sounds more like Torchwood or one of Christopher Helton's role play game scenarios.

So what of Rudloe Manor itself? Is there anything alien lurking in its cavernous underside?

I'm going to say probably not. I'd still love to visit it, though. Why? You mean besides my being an incurable Anglophile? Well, I go back to my original point. Look at it. It naturally draws an air of mystery up around itself like fog from a moor. Not only that, but it is rich in historical significance not simply for Britain but perhaps for the entire world.

Whatever sits beneath it...or doesn' just an added bonus.

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