Colonel Charles Halt in Rendlesham Forest
The morning of the long-anticipated Woodbridge meeting was bright, warm and sunny: an invited group of perhaps ten people met in the East Gate car park and followed Colonel Halt around the Forest, as he recalled the events of December, 1980 from his perspective.
The walk lasted around two hours, with frequent pauses at various points that featured in the Colonel's famous taped narrative. It was interesting - and perhaps significant - that Col Halt was able to recall the topography of the forest with great clarity, and was able to correct several misapprehensions and misrepresentations. Halt's account exactly matched the tape and the generally-accepted narrative of the RFI, but there were, naturally, differences with some other published versions of events.
After lunch and numerous press and photo-calls (including some which were published without authorisation!) the Colonel and his son returned to their hotel, while co-organisers John Hanson and Brenda Butler joined Linda and me at the Community Centre to prepare the hall for the evening's lectures.
My role was complex: I made the various introductions, delivered a talk on astronauts and the UFO phenomenon and acted as mediator during the Q&A session following the Colonel's talk.
I was a little surprised by the very poor quality of the microphones and PA system: it was to cause difficulties all evening - so much so that, having a loud voice, I didn't use it myself!
The main lectures were both well-received by the vast majority of the audience, many of whom were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Charles Halt during the intervals, having their photos taken with him and obtaining his autograph.
It should be remembered that the Colonel is not as young as he was and that he was still somewhat jet-lagged: nevertheless, he spoke for a good length of time and participated in two Q&A sessions. The second of these was brought to a somewhat abrupt end when Col Halt realised the clock had ticked round to eleven thirty!
Despite the 'scuttlebut' that has appeared elsewhere (particularly in the writings of people who didn't even attend the event!) the evening was judged by most delegates to have been enjoyable and thought-provoking.