Gordon Creighton 1908 - 2003
Editor of FSR
Reprinted from The Times, August 16th 2003
A diplomatic approach to alien visitors
GOVERNMENT service occupied most of the working life of Gordon Creighton, but he perhaps made his greatest mark as an authority on unidentified flying objects. His conviction that extra-terrestrials were visiting Earth seemed oddly at variance with the more orthodox worlds of diplomacy and Whitehall.
Gordon William Creighton was born in Rickmansworth in 1908. His was a conventional education - Bishop's Stortford College, Cambridge University and the École Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris. His years in government service included postings in Europe, North and South America and China.
His first post was as an attaché to the British Embassy in Beijing, where he later became First Secretary. He performed the duties of consul at Nanking, Shanghai and Recife, Brazil, and was consul-general at Antwerp and New Orleans.
His expertise took him into government research on maps in oriental and other languages with the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names, and he spent eight years as an intelligence officer on Russian and Chinese affairs at the Ministry of Defence. It is said that in the intelligence post he worked directly below the secret Whitehall department where the Air Ministry and the RAF were studying information on UFOs.
His specialisation in international relations in the eastern hemisphere was accompanied by a love of languages. He studied 20 of them, including Russian, Chinese and Sanskrit.
Creighton's interest in UFOs was stimulated in the summer of 1941, when he saw "a white disc with a piercingly bright bluish light on top racing through the sky in the far west of China, near the eastern marches of Tibet". At the time he was with the British Embassy in China's wartime capital Chungking.
When Flying Saucer Review was set up in 1955 he became a regular contributor. He later sat on the magazine's board and was its editor from 1982. He claimed that the Duke of Edinburgh had been a reader from the earliest days.
Creighton had no time for traditional British nervousness about what the neighbours might think. For 30 years, commuting daily from London to Hertfordshire, he "made a special point of carrying and reading FSR in the train up to Baker Street and then on the Underground". He was pleased to recall that "it must have happened on at least a dozen occasions that complete strangers would step across the gangway to me and say: 'Flying Saucer Review! Where can I get that?' "
Creighton's stories about flying saucers and his observations were fascinating to the listener. He believed sightings of alien craft were common all over the world and that the human race had had frequent encounters with the visitors. He said that on one occasion President Eisenhower's whereabouts for several hours were kept secret. The President, Creighton said, had been called to an airbase where an alien craft was hovering, but had insisted that the incident should never be made public.
Governments, Creighton believed, have been "lying about the UFO problem for more than 50 years", and take the subject far more seriously than they will admit. According to Flying Saucer Review, "the US Government in particular holds a number of crashed craft and a considerable number of preserved bodies of small dead crew members of a certain species about 4ft-4ft 6 in, in height". He understood this government reticence, however, and feared that the intentions of aliens could be hostile and that detailed information might cause alarm.
Gordon Creighton's wide range of interests embraced the world's main religions. Though born a Roman Catholic, he was not confirmed until he was past 90. His wife Joan predeceased him. He is survived by a son and daughter. Gordon Creighton, diplomat, civil servant, and Editor of Flying Saucer Review, was born on April 26, 1908. He died on July 16, 2003, aged 95.