- In October of 1917, Francis McHouney
of the 302nd Barrage Balloon squadron, US Army Air Corp, tracked and logged
several dozen "spurious flying objects [that] were not Boche or one
of our guys". Their unit had Remington Acoustical trackers (large
horns that amplified sound waves and were used well into the second World
War) and the then top secret Marconi Wireless Aerial Direction Finder (a
predecessor of radar).
- "Me and the boys had moved up and
around the asembling [sic] area for our next big attack against the Boche.
We had heard about the new land battleships that was going to win us the
war. Our unit was to put up balloons to keep the Boche from flying over.
We had detectors up and manned to give [us] warning if any enemy planes
were coming so that the swabbies in the landships could get them under
cover". McHouney continues, "We had heard rumours about fantastic
Boche aeroplanes that seemed to be watching anywhere the landships were.
- That was why we were there, to keep them
away. Our balloons were up, 4 at 500 feet, about 300 feet apart. Four up
at 1000 feet further back in a second line and the final four at 1400 feet,
by the book as Capt. Burns would say." [Ed. the 301st and 303rd were
also present, the three units deployed in a semicircle in front of the
army assembly area.] "The first time [I] saw them, I was on leave
which meant I could go to the rear trenches. Me and a couple of others
went to look at the land ships but couldn't get near them cause of the
- We could see 'em across in the field,
all covered with branches to hide them. Only branches left for miles, must've
hauled them up from way back in the rear. Scary looking things, all bristling
with guns. Jed [Ed. Jed Wilson, boyhood friend of Mchouney, they joined
up together] shouted and pointed up. There was something that looked like
a giant mess plate [Ed. A mess plate was a tin plate that looks very similar
to a modern pie pan, about 8" in diameter used by US Army soldiers
in WWI and WWII] just hanging over the field, directly above one of the
landships. Suddenly, it rose straight up, without making a sound until
it faded into the clouds."
- When McHouney arrived back to his unit,
he found that the Marconis had registered something BEHIND them that just
appeared and then disappeared. The Remingtons had detected nothing when
hurridly turned around and aimed backwards. Over the course of the next
few days, the object appeared and disappeared every few hours, causing
a disturbance each time. "We were ordered to close up the spacing
of the balloons and move backwards, until after a week the ballons were
almost touching. A daredevil could walk around the camp on the balloons
if he wanted to. We let them up to 2500 feet and used up darn near all
the cables on the front and would've gone higher if we could've got more"
- The objects continued to be sighted.
McHouney continues "On the 23rd we recieved visitors, Mr Churchill,
who invented the land ships [Ed. Churchill was responsible for pushing
through the development of the tanks but others are credited with the invention]
and a Mr Wells who was introduced as a scientific advisor to the Ministry,
and some others. They set up a couple of cameras but rumour was all the
pictures came out black, as if the plates were exposed to light accidently."
- Later, "We were all questioned about
what we had seen and the log books off the Remingtons and the Marconis
were taken. They told us not to talk about this to anyone, but the Boche
had a new super Zepplin and we were seeing the observation car hanging
down from it. We all accepted this but years later, I came to doubt it.
What we saw was BIG and it would've taken a very big Zepplin to carry it."
[From "Boche and Balloons, My Experiences With The 302nd", Francis
McHouney, published 53/04/01 by Smythe Books, London, England]
- Curiously, no record of these incidents
appears in official unit records of the US Army Air Corp and the last surviving
member [Walter "Smitty" Smith, 301st] of the 301st, 302nd, and
303rd, died on April 1, 1968 of cancer in the Pembrooke VA Hospital in
- Lou F. Lirpa
- Chairman "World Wide UFO Truth Finders"