1955-2007 Our editors, Their Work Continues
How it all began. Founding the Flying Saucer Review.


A meeting was held in 1954 at the offices of T. Werner Laurie Ltd, the publishers in Doughty Street, London, and that is when the Flying Saucer Review was founded. Waveney Girvan had published the UFO classic, Flying Saucers Have Landed by Desmond Leslie and George Adamski the previous year and excitement about this phenomenon and the whole subject of life on other planets was of interest.

Denis Montgomery became aware of the UFO phenomenon when at university in 1953 when working as an assistant librarian in Southwark. He was increasingly fascinated by the concept of interplanetary travel and the new idealism of a universal brotherhood of intelligent life. He thought that there should be some form of institute and library to collect and co-ordinate information about the many reports and ideas circulating of flying saucers and alleged contact with people from other planets. It may seem remarkably naive today, but there was still some serious speculation about advanced life on Mars or Venus at that time.

Montgomery contacted Waveney Girvan and proposed his idea. Waveney Girvan had been considering the possibility of a serious magazine and this triggered a meeting. A magazine, if it was successfully launched, could support the institute that Montgomery wanted, which in turn would give the magazine an authoritative platform. In addition to a popular magazine, which provided revenue, maybe a learned journal could follow.

Waveney Girvan, Desmond Leslie, Lewis Barton, Oliver Moxon, Brinsley le Poer Trench, Derek Dempster and Denis Montgomery met and the idea of a magazine was floated and agreed. They would all put in a bit of cash, a limited company would be formed and Derek Dempster would be the first editor, assisted with contacts and commercial expertise by Lewis Barton and Waveney Girvan. Dempster was the editor of BOAC's house magazine at the time. Denis Montgomery was appointed the Company Secretary and kept the first books of account. The company was named Flying Saucer Service Ltd in order to portray its role as something more than a magazine publisher. It was a firm intention that it would eventually provide a service to researchers and other publishers and interested bodies with co-ordinated information, and to investigate sightings and happenings. It was hoped that with improved financial viability the company might expand into other related commercial activities. After the meeting, they adjourned to a pub nearby to celebrate.

Derek Dempster produced the first issue in early 1955, which was published economically, using Waveney Girvan's contacts in the printing industry. The magazine went through many difficult moments but was maintained in print with considerable personal effort by successive editors and enthusiasts. The idea of the library and institute never came to fruition through lack of funds, and Denis Montgomery pursued his career in Africa in 1957, severing his active contact with the company and the magazine.

Montgomery knew all the founding members of FSR well through frequent meetings in the formative years. The general harmony and enthusiasm of the group and the unstilted provision of several individuals’ time and energy is a pleasurable memory of those days. Nobody talked about remuneration. As Montgomery was the youngest by several years (twenty at the time) and not involved with the editorial function, he did not become intimate with all the older members. He was, however, befriended by Derek Dempster and his wife (who had been previously married to Peter Ustinov) and Brinsley le Poer Trench who are remembered with much affection.

Written by Denis Montgomery, 5 May 2004

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Why Flying Saucer Review was founded.

UFO journalism was born out of news suppression: It evolved to convey what was repeatedly being selectively omitted from the news reporting infrastructure. One alternative agency, Flying Saucer Service, gave birth to our own FSR.
Flying Saucer Service could only ever perform its function by being an unofficial news agency served by its own teams of independent news gatherers. No official body could respond to the subject more seriously or navigate this controversial topic more expertly than the unique work put in by these founding fathers of modern ufology.

FSR was above all a formula to represent the detailed often expertly translated scale of their work in the UFO field in a matter of fact way that essentially spoke to us all. Regardless of our back ground, after reading FSR we all felt we had been entrusted to better represent and share in the work of ufology; to collectively found a new human dialogue for the UFO age.

As each epoch has passed, FSR has grown steadily into a unique arena for scientific, philosophical and even religious debate on the true nature of UFOs and their associated entities. For what has really been passed on to us is far more than a search for particular ideas and answers made fashionable by each age; it is an insatiable appetite for the dignity of human truth. A taste for more capable words to represent the intellectual freedom of our time and our final embracing of the true scale and potential of all human life.

Taking an active interest in UFO contacts and the vast potential of alien intelligence, brings us far closer to being connected with an entirely different shared vision of what it means to be a human-being here on Earth at this time. A small sector of our society, those of us who take an active interest in UFO contacts and the reality of an alien intelligence, can see an entirely different world beyond those which are being actively marketed to us. We recognise how easily science can be steered to market the right message, to promote what others might think we ought to know or remain oblivious of. All our knowledge is potentially being actively marketed to us at this time.

It is fundamental to our society’s purpose to need us to take one particular opinion as more valuable and desirable to hold than another. One version of history being sold as more desirable to believe than another. Who we choose as our heroes and who we choose to hate. How we choose to represent our concept of God and nationhood. The World we are being marketed has had the entire chapter and verse on alien visitation ripped out of it. Are we all meant to overlook so many of the missing pages?

Today many witnesses are keeping silent. Many individuals who have been touched by the reality of UFOs, even among our readers, still feel it necessary to conceal their own personal encounters with these remarkable alien intelligences. It is seemingly impossible that something of the enormity of the witnessed experience can be transmitted by mere words, when compared to what might be absorbed and comprehended in a few seconds of the real circumstance. After spending a few moments looking up at a truly alien object or, more rarely, staring into the face of a humanoid, we can glimpse the sage knowledge of what the non-human intelligences are and what they aren’t.

Perhaps a rare glimpse of how our media came to misrepresent flying saucers as something other than real news is captured in this front page from 1955. Mighty St George is subdued and locked in chains, above yet another mocking frivolous headline aimed at the saucer question. This was a portent of the beginning of universal censorship of the flying saucer problem. A fact that enraged certain newsmen who new their professional integrity and that of the story behind what was really happening was going astray. Hence, the chaining of our most revered saint who stood for the spirit of our nation.

What we have been allowed to forget is that news of interceptions of UFOs by our air force used to regularly filter in to the press in the 1950s. So many good men and women had come through the war that were expertly trained in observation and assessment who clearly knew that something new was flying in our skies. They published and were damned!

 

 


The headlines from the Sunday Dispatch of 12/11/50 illustrate the great profusion of trained spotters and civilians with RAF experience among regular witnesses who were certain these saucers were not our aircraft. Many of the journalists of the era were hardened war correspondents used to working independently on dangerous stories with a wide remit of personal interpretation. This was the era when we were closest to having a free press with regard to UFOs. This was an era of expert highly trained observers; it was also a true dividend for Flying Saucer Review to have as its first editor a pioneer RAF test pilot as well as an accomplished aviation correspondent: Derek Dempster.

Derek Dempster came out of the air force in 1947, he was hoping to take his place at Cambridge but as so many men had come out of uniform in that era, he returned to his family home in Tangiers Morocco. In 1948 Dempster became a test pilot in the first age of British jet aircraft; from 1948 he was with 604 squadron based at North Weald. He initially flew Vampires and then moved onto Gloucester Meteors, he also took a special transfer to the auxiliary air force to enable him to fly spitfires.

Dempster wrote for Reuters and The Airplane magazine from his privileged position as a test pilot in a golden age of British aircraft development. His squadron commander, the group Captain of 601 Squadron advised him that a position had become available as the Daily Express air correspondent. Dempster took this better paid position and as this was the mid-1950’s it wasn’t long before flying saucer reports were coming across his desk. This included a sighting by a pilot at his old North Weald squadron. Dempster found his interest in the flying saucers rising, so it was not unexpected that he was commissioned to review the sensational new Adamski book, “Flying Saucers Have Landed.” Through this he made contact with Desmond Leslie and Waveny Girvan.

At this time the questionable safety record of the world’s first passenger jet, the British built Comet, became an issue with Lord Beaverbrook at the Daily Express. Dempster found himself taking a principled stand not to condemn the national airline BOAC for grounding the aircraft against the ‘express’ wishes of his proprietor, Beaverbrook and left Fleet Street. Finding himself without a correspondent’s job coincided with the imminent birth of FSR. Dempster found himself installed in an office at Werner Laurie publishers, in Doughty Street, as the first editor of FSR.

The entire set up of early FSR was located at the heart of the city of London. Alongside him were the very first volunteers, Waveny Girvan (publisher), Lewis Barton (managing editor of This Weekly illustrated magazine), The Hon. Brindsley Le Poer Trench (he sold advertising space in magazines and was a future incumbent in the house of Lords), Charles Bowen (accountant at the South African embassy), Denis Montgomery (Librarian), Gordon Creighton (diplomat) supplied translated material from issue 3 onwards.

Extract of an interview with Derek Dempster January 2007.

We held meetings at Westminster, Caxton Hall near Scotland Yard. We believed these things were coming in from outer space, and we were trying to prove this with science. We had some allies such as Peter Horsley, who had been Station Commander at North Weald and was then Equerry to Prince Philip. Also we received collaboration from Henry Chilsory who was Horsley’s successor. Both men had a keen interest in keeping the Palace posted on flying saucers and we used to exchange files with them.

There was also a shorthand writer for Lord Mountbatten named Dan Lloyd who was an ex-Royal Navy man, he was also very interested in flying saucer matters and shared this interest and new research material with Mountbatten. It was said at the time that Mountbatten kept lever files of UFO photographs to show visitors on the bridge of the warships when he was at sea.

I met George Adamski at this time, I could see how terribly keen everybody was to embrace people like him who claimed he had travelled to Venus. I was less sure of him, and wished to remained objective. What we were all living on then was hope and expectation. We kept being shot down, partly due to the activities of the lunatic fringe who began to attach themselves to ufology. I had to leave FSR because of the effect it had on my business interests in the aviation industry.


 

FSR July August 1956

 

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