Date: Fri, 09 Feb 2007 11:15:44 -0600
From: Francis Ridge <>
Subject: Getting closer to the "fragment" story
Source: Frank Edwards, "Flying Saucers: serious Business", pocketbook version

Pick Up the Pieces    page 47

Upon several occasions in this chronicle I have mentioned the name of the scientist who headed the Canadian investigation program to study the UFO's—Wilbert B. Smith, of Ottawa, B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., P. Engineering, Superintendent Radio Regulations Engineering for the Canadian government. The original Canadian program was established to duplicate, if possible, the UFO flight characteristics by development of a discoid propelled by some form of electrical field. In 1953 this was abandoned as unworkable at the present stage of our technology in this field, and the program was devoted entirely to intensive study of the UFO's. It was hardly mere accident that this action was taken only a few months after scores of Unidentified Flying Objects had swarmed over Washington, D.C. The pressure was on, both in Canada and the United States.

It was during one of those hectic nights over Washington that a military jet got a radar lock on one of the UFO's and poured a burst from his machine guns into the disc. A glowing fragment was seen to fly from the disc and to fall to earth. The pilot marked it down as best he could and notified Headquarters. Ground crews scoured the area shoulder to shoulder and found the fragment in a farmer's field.

Fortunately for the public, the lid of censorship which was clamped on after the Washington UFO events of 1952 was not airtight at the time of this incident, and Lieutenant Commander Frank Thompson of the Navy Department confirmed the recovery of the UFO fragments. [See page 272, The Flying Saucer Conspiracy, by Major D. E. Keyhoe.] The fragment had definitely been milled but the original Navy analysis, so Keyhoe was told, had failed to determine whether the thing was artificial or part of some unknown type of meteorite. It had later been sent, so the Navy admitted, to W. B. Smith of Ottawa, for study.

The Defense Department has frequently denied that it has any fragments or parts of UFO's, and similar denials are regularly issued by the Air Force. In fact, I have one dated


January 19, 1961, which says: "—not even a minute fragment of a so-called 'flying saucer' has ever been found." There again, note the tricky wording to trip up the unwary. No mention of Unidentified Hying Objects—but merely a claim that they have never found any portions of a thing that officially does not exist. Sly, but safe, from the stand-point of the censors.

It was hi 1952 that the UFO which had reportedly crashed in Spitzbergen was recovered by the Norwegian Air Force, according to their statements given to the press. This does not entirely negate the Defense Department claim, however, since they could contend that they were referring only to the lack of such evidence in their own possession.

Was such a fragment torn off a UFO during the 1952 July-August UFO activity over Washington, D.C.—and if so, what was it, and what became of it?

Speaking on the subject of Unidentified Flying Objects before the Illuminating Engineering Society, Canadian Regional Conference, at Ottawa on January 11, 1959, Wilbert Smith said: "Various items of  'hardware' are known to exist, but are usually clapped into security and are not available to the general public."

Mr. Smith may well have qualified as an authority on that statement, for he had been said to have been the recipient of the fragment collected by gunfire from that Navy jet. But was that report factual—and if so, how to confirm it— if it could be confirmed?

This riddle absorbed the time and attention of countless interested parties, but apparently none of them made any real attempt to solve it. That job finally was taken on by two patient, thorough, and indefatigable researchers who had already made several major contributions in this field; C. W. Fitch of Cleveland, Ohio, and George Popovitch of Akron, Ohio.

They arranged an interview with Mr. Smith, and they had the foresight to record what was said. Thanks to them, I have a copy of that tape and it is from that source that the following material is taken.

The interview took place in November, 1961.

FITCH: Have you ever handled any of this hardware yourself, sir?

SMITH: Yes. Quite a bit of it. Our Canadian Research Group has recovered one mass of very strange metal . . . ii was found within a few days of July 1, 1960. There is about three thousand pounds of it. We have done a tremendous amount of detective work on this metal. We have found out the things that aren't so. We have something that

Pick Up the Pieces    page 49

was not brought to this Earth by plane nor by boat nor by any helicopter. We are speculating that what we have is a portion of a very large device which came into this solar system ... we don't know when . . . but it had been in space a long time before it came to Earth; we can tell that by the micrometeorites embedded in the surface. But we don't know whether it was a few years ago—or a few hundred years ago.

FITCH: You mean then that you have about a ton and a half of something metallic, of unknown origin.

SMITH: That is correct. We can only speculate about it at this time—and we have done a great deal of that. We have it but we don't know what it is!

FITCH: You're a friend of Admiral Knowles, Mr, Smith?

[Rear Admiral H. B. Knowles, U.S. Navy, Retired.]

SMITH: Oh, yes. Admiral Knowles and I have been very good friends for many years.

FITCH: I have been told by a mutual friend that in 1952 you showed Admiral Knowles a piece of a flying saucer. Is that statement correct, sir?

SMITH: Yes. It is correct. I visited with Admiral Knowles and I had with me a piece which had been shot from a small flying saucer near Washington in July of that year— 1952. I showed it to the Admiral. It was a piece of metal about twice the size of your thumb which had been loaned to me for a very short time by your Air Force.

FITCH: Is this the only piece you have handled which definitely had been part of a UFO, Mr. Smith?

SMITH: No. I've handled several of these pieces of hardware.

FITCH: In what way, if any, do they differ from materials with which we are familiar?

SMITH: As a general thing they differ only in that they are much harder than our materials.

FITCH: What about this particular piece from that UFO near Washington . . . did it differ from conventional materials? Was there anything unusual about it, sir?

SMITH: Well, the story behind it is this: The pilot was chasing a glowing disc about two feet in diameter—

FITCH: Pardon me, sir. But did you say two feet . . .

SMITH: That is correct. I was informed that the disc was glowing and was about two feet in diameter. A glowing chunk flew off and the pilot saw it glowing all the way to the ground. He radioed his report and a ground party hurried to the scene. The thing was still glowing when they found it an hour later. The entire piece weighed about a


pound. The segment that was loaned to me was about one third of that. It had been sawed off.

FITCH: What did the analysis show?

SMITH: There was iron rust—the thing was in reality a matrix of magnesium orthosilicate. The matrix had great numbers—thousands—of 15-micron spheres scattered through it.

FITCH: You say that you had to return it—did you return it to the Air Force, Mr. Smith?

SMITH: Not the Air Force. Much higher than that

FITCH: The Central Intelligence Agency?

SMITH: [Chuckles] I'm sorry, gentlemen, but I don't care to go beyond that point. I can say to you that it went to the hands of a highly classified group. You will have to solve that problem—their identity—for yourselves.

In view of this statement by the man who headed the Canadian research project in the field of UFO's—a conscientious, courageous, and respected scientist—it may be that the Defense Department and the Air Force claims of having no UFO pieces are true. It may be that the fragments are taken out of their hands on specific instructions from the same high-level body which laid down the censorship restrictions in the first place. Taking possession of the evidence would justify the issuance of the public statements that those who issued the statements had no evidence.

It would be weasel wording, of course, but when the final showdown came, it could then be shown that such statements were literally true . . . even though they twisted the meaning to arrive at the effect.

Smith said that the thing from which the fragment had been shot was a two-foot disc. It must have been a practicable device, for that size UFO had been reported before —and would be reported again and again.

In January of 1966, to be precise.


Audio Byte 07:
RAdm. Herbert B. Knowles, Board of Directors of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), discusses metal fragments from a UFO shot off by USAF jet aircraft during the Washington, D.C. Flap in 1952. Knowles is on the phone with Earl J. Neff of the Cleveland Ufology Project (CUP) on the Alan Douglas show in 1966. Knowles talks of Smith's research into the metal. An historically important recording, since Knowles saw and handled the metal. 3.75 Mins.