UFO spotted by jet fighter pilot.

The night I saw a UFO

In July (2023) senior officials gave testimony to the US government during a Congressional Hearing about UFO sightings and UFO crash retrievals dating back decades. Except, they don’t call them UFOs any more – unidentified flying objects are now called UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena).

The name change is interesting, as clearly someone is suggesting these strange craft are not ‘flying’ in the traditional sense of propulsion placing wind beneath the wings to lift them into the air. ‘Anti-gravity’ seems to be the buzzword.

Anyway…It got me thinking back to 1974 (or 1975) when I was a young teenager and still at school. It was the summer school holidays and I was living in Delaware Rd, Shoeburyness.

One Saturday night I was sitting alone in the front room watching TV at about 10pm when a school friend tapped on the window.

Danny K told me there were UFOs flying above the nearby playing field at Shoeburyness High School – the district’s biggest school sandwiched between Delaware Rd and Caulfield Rd.

Shoeburyness High School today, and its playing field where UFOs were seen flying silently high in the night sky.
Shoeburyness High School today, and its playing field where UFOs were seen flying silently high in the night sky.

I snuck out of home and walked along Delaware Rd to join a crowd of about 20 locals standing to the right of the school pool. Some school mates and their parents were staring up at coloured lights moving silently in the sky. I don’t know how long the sighting had been going on for before Danny came to get me.

We watched as a high speed jet flew in from the the direction of London, the UFOs’ lights disappeared only to blink back into view once the jet disappeared from sight (there may have been two jets and adults watching speculated they were Harriers, but how anyone could tell is beyond me). The jet(s) only did one pass.

The local police came along in a Panda car (Mini) to see what all the fuss was about.

The officers ridiculed us all – telling us to let them know if Dr Smith appeared (referencing a character from the kid’s TV show Lost in Space). Then the police drove off, and as far as I know didn’t return.

The lights in the sky did their dance for about an hour, I remember getting bored looking at them, and they seemed to just fade away and us spectators returned to our homes.

An Evening Echo (Southend-on-Sea) news reporter was told about the sighting and I was one of a few people interviewed about what we saw.

The school was locked up for the holidays so when the reporter asked to see exactly where this sighting had taken place – the reporter, me, and two friends (Danny K and (?)Johnny D) – climbed over the school gate to walk on the sports field looking for evidence of what I don’t know.

Seagull mystery

While surveying the school field, us kids noticed there were no seagulls resting there at all. This was strange because the playing fields were normally home for hundreds of seagulls who’d take flight as people approached.

But the day we were there with the reporter, a day or two after the sighting, not one seagull was to be seen on the land or flying overhead. There was always the sound of seagulls howling and screaming at the school – but that day the air was silent. We pointed this out to the reporter.

A small report of the sighting – 100 words or so – was published in the Southend Echo paper.

Other memories

At about the same time, an adult family friend spoke of seeing what he described as a cigar shaped UFO while he was cycling on Elm Rd toward Old Shoebury. Another adult shared the story of seeing what he described as two bright balls spinning around, as though tethered, as they sped across the night sky.

A Mrs (Frankie) Dueness, who lived along Delaware Rd at the time, repeatedly said she saw a huge UFO from her upstairs back bedroom window, “…it was so big you couldn’t see anything else – there were lots of coloured lights” I remember her telling other adults.

Did you see the Shoebury UFOS? Send in details and be added to this report.

Geoffrey Seaman

Reader Geoffrey Seaman sent in the following based on his childhood memories of the Shoebury sighting. While I was looking in one direction over the school field, he saw UFOs in the opposite direction, above former farm land.

“On that night there was a whole lot of commotion going on outside our house at 16 Delaware Crescent, we came out and joined our neighbours.

“I remember seeing green and red ball like lights swishing in different directions between the flats in Delaware Crescent, high in the sky above the farm on the other side of the railway lines (now called Bishopsteinton Estate).

“I remember some sort of large fuzzy white shape, my mum said it was like an oblong sort of shape which moved off very quickly when some sort of aircraft turned up. I’m pretty sure it was a helicopter.

“The shape moved off in the direction of the Shoebury High School sports field, I’m sure it came down low near the long jump area then went up and disappeared.

“Myself and some others (can’t remember who) climbed over the fence next day and we found a flat roundish circle and loads of seagull feathers. In my mind I’m sure they were burnt (it may of just been remains from the tractor which cut the grass ). I just have this recollection of the excitement felt that day even now.

“When we told others [of the UFO sighting] they didn’t believe us, they just laughed. But I know what I saw and it was definitely real.

“Why would you have so many people out watching and getting excited about it? We couldn’t have all been imagining things.

“We even saw lights again the next day just whizzing diagonally in the sky between the flats over the fields.”

Looking down on the school field, and above the railway track (brown line), a housing estate that was the scene of a huge burnt circle in the ground of a corn field.
Looking down on the school field, and above the railway track (brown line), a housing estate that was the scene of a huge burnt circle in the ground of a corn field.

A circle in the crop

I don’t remember how much time had passed after the sighting, maybe it was the following week…But bored during the holidays, Danny, Johnny, and I, made our way into the nearby corn field behind Delaware Crescent – where Geoffrey Seaman had seen UFOs (it’s been turned over to housing now, as seen in the map above).

We pushed through acres of corn (on the cob) that was taller than we were, and came across a huge circle of burnt ground. We couldn’t fathom it. Here, in the middle of a field of soon-to-be-harvested corn was a huge circle (easily 10mtrs in diameter). The crop had not been flattened. The circle was black earth.

One of us speculated a UFO had been there; but maybe the farmer had a fire the previous season and the crop didn’t grow as a result? We’ll never know.

Ministry of Defence

Why would UFOs appear in the sky above Shoebury? Clearly a school would hold no interest, particularly at night.
However, less than one mile from Shoebury High School was the Army Garrison, which would have been active at the time, and at nearby Foulness Island (five miles away), there was a weapons testing facility run by the Ministry of Defence, that had a nuclear weapons facility.

So yes. Lots of us saw UFOs that night, the story made the papers, and plenty of people remember the night and have passed on stories of what they saw to their children.

Years later I was to take a casual interest in the subject of UFOs, Timothy Good‘s 1987 book Above Top Secret is still on my bookshelf (along with Beyond Top Secret).

New Zealand

In 2008, having moved to New Zealand, someone I called a friend twisted the arm of prominent UFO researcher Murray Bott to be interviewed by me about his investigations. I was hoping to make a short documentary about NZ UFOs.

A reluctant interviewee, Bott was very cautious during our chat and later became uncooperative.

The head of the country’s UFO investigation group also wasn’t interested in helping with the documentary, and so the project fell flat (make what you will of my effort above).

Bott died in 2020 and left behind a massive personal collection of UFO reports that filled an entire bedroom in his home.
I hear there was much debate about who would take ownership of the collection, where it is now…I have no idea.

But like my sighting, Bott seemed to tell me that – apart from a few notable exceptions – all he really seemed to have were hundreds of reports of lights in the sky. If he knew of anything exceptional, he kept it to himself. That was his power, that’s why he was sought after, and he wasn’t about to give it away to a guy with a camera. Bott later sent me an email indicating he regretted giving the interview.


While recent UFO sightings caught on camera show clearer images of strange aerial vehicles – spheres, cubes, and such like – plenty of people speculate that all we are seeing are man-made craft using advanced anti-gravity systems based on those used by alleged crashed/recovered UFOs.

Where the genuine UFOs come from is open to speculation. Other planets, our Moon, from a race living on the ocean floor, or from a world inside our planet, or what’s termed the hollow earth theory.

All very fascinating.


Steve Hart is a writer and podcaster.

One For Sorrow

16 August, 2023