The PC Alan Godfrey incident – 1980 Todmorden

Friday 28th November 1980. PC Alan Godfrey, an ordinary copper, was on patrol in the ordinary town of Todmorden when he got called to a report of cows roaming through a housing estate. A little unusual perhaps, but nothing that seemed particularly out of this world.

Whilst en route to the location, something happened that would change PC Godfrey’s life, and impact on his career forever. Whilst driving along the road he would encounter something blocking the road ahead that did not look like anything he had ever seen before.

Policing in the early 1980s

Now if I recall correctly, back in the early 1980s, Police would carry a personal radio. A chunky blue brick of a handset, secured by a harness that wrapped around the shoulder and under-arm, tucked inside the top pocket of the tunics they wore. It would be a four or six channel handset operating in the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) range of the radio spectrum. These were often used to keep in touch with the “Comms Man” in the local Police Station or office. In the patrol cars used at the time there would be a more powerful transceiver, operating in the Very High Frequency (VHF) part of the radio spectrum for longer range communications. Both would fail to contact anyone during PC Godfrey’s encounter with whatever was blocking the road ahead.

At that time, portable computers, with much less power that today’s modern smartphones, were the size of suitcases. Laptops simply did not exist. So to record anything whilst on patrol, a Constable would have to rely on an array of forms such as accident report forms, statement forms or minute sheets, to record information. This clipboard usually lived on the front passenger seat if the Constable was patrolling on their own, or tucked on the dashboard or in the inside pocket of the car door if the patrol was double-crewed, i.e. two Constables working in the same car.

The encounter

So naturally enough, PC Godfrey reached for his trusty clipboard and sketched what he could see. He recorded, contemporaneously what was blocking the road ahead of him. This is a valuable point to make.

Also it is important to keep in mind that PC Godfrey’s account of what happened that night has not wavered in the decades that have passed since. He did not immediately jump on the international UFO Conference bandwagon and seek to amass a fortune for himself in speaking fees, which he no doubt he could have done quite easily. Instead the talks he did give he donated any fees paid to support charities. Typical of a cop of that era.

Now if you want a full description of the encounter, I’d suggest you buy his book. A book that took decades to be released, which quite rightly was launched in Todmorden with a book signing.

Now you could be forgiven for thinking “Oh no. Not another UFO book!”

Bear with me. This one is a little bit different.

A video recorded hypnosis session revealed more than PC Godfrey could remember in the conscious mind.

The aftermath

For me, the most interesting part of the book was not the sighting itself. You’ll either believe he saw what he said he saw, or you wont.

For me, the most interesting part of the book is the aftermath and how “the system” reacted to the “Minute Sheet” (a type of internal memo within the Police at the time) he submitted to his bosses.

Dirty tricks and skulduggery, psychological evaluation and attempted medical discharge, plus the mysterious “Man from the Ministry”.

Now you would have thought that it shouldn’t be a problem with PC Godfrey getting a hold of the the “minute sheet” he wrote himself wouldn’t you? It seems that was too much to ask of the local Police Force or the “ministry”. That file remains sealed to this day. Why? Why would that be if this was all just nonsense as they would prefer you to believe.

Face to Face

I’ve had the privilege to speak to the now retired PC Godfrey face to face. I grilled him about what had happened for around fifteen minutes, watching his body language and listening carefully to his answers.

I have to say I found him one of the most credible witnesses I’ve met, if not the most.

When I met him, he remained a very forthright Yorkshireman, telling it how he saw it, not embellishing the facts, but just simply recalling what he went through. If you’re not telling the truth, that would be extremely hard to maintain.

His consistency, his lack of commercial exploitation on the international UFO conference circuit, the response of “the system” and the fact his file is still sealed by the UK Government all lend credibility to him.

That is why for me, I think his encounter back in 1980, is one of the most important UK UFO cases in history.

The Book

If you would like to get a copy of his book, “Who or What Were They?” visit here, you may just be lucky enough to get a copy signed by the author himself.

If you’re a bit of a cynic and think this is simply a book advert (which it isn’t intended to be) and you’d prefer to read it without getting your own copy, why not ask your local Public Lending Library to get you a copy. (You’ll probably want your own copy after that.)


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