[The following article appeared in the UK newspaper The Mail on Sunday, August 10, 1997.]
Military giants don't come much bigger than Air Marshall Sir Peter Horsley.
A war hero who flew Mosquitoes against the Germans, he has held one of the highest ranks in the RAF and has been an intimate adviser to the Queen and Prince Philip.
He has also, he claims, met a visitor from another galaxy. Sir Peter has kept his close encounter with the mysterious man he calls Mr. Janus in a London flat a secret for 43 years. But now, at the age of 76, he is ready to go public.
He says: "We talked for hours about travelling in space and time. I don't know what or who he was. He didn't say he was a visitor from another planet but I had that impression. I believe he was here to observe us. I never saw him again. I have no qualms about the reaction to my experience with Mr. Janus. I don't care what people think -- it was what happened."
His extraordinary testimony -- in his autobiography, "Sounds from Another Room," to be published in the autumn -- and his uncompromising belief in Unidentified Flying Objects will no doubt ruffle the sangfroid of the men at the Ministry. For, incredible as it seems, it is the evidence of a man who once ran the country's front line defense at RAF Strike Command and was a Buckingham Palace aide for six years.
At his riverside cottage in Hampshire, where Christmas cards from the royal family hang in the lavatory, he discusses the presence of alien spacecraft with unswerving nonchalance.
"I would say they come from another planet somewhere in the universe but not in our galaxy. They are benign, not aggressive and, like us, are explorers," he says.
His interest in UFOs began, he says, in 1952 while he was an equerry to the Duke of Edinburgh and was sparked by newspaper reports at the time. He joined the Royal Household in 1949 as a squadron leader who had been decorated for his work as personal pilot to Major General Sir Miles Graham during the Normandy Invasion. Sir Peter says he talked to Prince Philip of his interest in UFOs.
"He was quite interested. As always his mind was open. He agreed I should do a study on the subject in my spare time as long as I kept it in perspective and didn't bring the Palace into disrepute. He didn't want to see headlines about him believing in little green men."
Sir Peter started by interviewing people who had claimed to have seen UFOs and invited a BOAC captain to visit him at Buckingham Palace. His own encounter came in 1954.
"At the end of my tour at the Palace, I had a very strange experience," he recalls with charming understatment. He says he was introduced to a General Martin who arranged for him to visit the Chelsea home of a Mrs. Markham. Sir Peter cannot remember the date or the number of the flat in Smith St. -- nor can he describe the man he met there -- but he is adamant the encounter took place.
"Janus was there, sitting by the fire in a deep chair. He asked: 'What is your interest in flying saucers?'"
And then he gave a Wellsian account of space travel at the speed of light, with spare body parts in the luggage.
When Sir Peter went back to the flat, it was empty. But his interest in the paranormal stayed with him during his rise through the ranks to the crucial post of Deputy Commander in Chief of RAF Strike Command in 1973.
Sir Peter insists: "I don't think I am a crank about it at all."
But at the Ministry of Defense in Whitehall, jaws are dropping. As one former senior officer put it: "Oh God. How unfortunate that the public will learn that the man who had his finger on the button at Strike Command was seeing little green men."
"Sounds From Another Room" is published by Leo Cooper in October.
Original file name: CNI - RAF Chief Met Alien
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