Frank Arthur Russell worked in manufacturing for an engineering firm at Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, England. However, his fame came from the craft built in his back yard as a hobby. In the 1930s he made news was for making various things, from a model glider, a canoe to a houseboat. In the 1940s he built a one-man submarine to search for Atlantis.
|The Bigglesworth Chronicle, May 5, 1939, 1949 submarine photo and caption.|
The saucer's performance was driven by a timer, which after four and a half minutes of spectacle would kill the lights, then launch a fireworks rocket. That produced the illusion that the saucer had shot off into space at great speed. Under cover of darkness, he’d reel the contraption in and hide it until the next flight. As Russell himself said, “it really looked very effective.” For six months the saucer flew and the town and investigators were persuaded that they were seeing something extraordinary - perhaps from another world.
|The People, May 4, 1958|
|The Daily Mail, May 27, 1958|
|The Daily Mail, May 28, 1958|
|The Daily News, January 4, 1959|
|Project F.A.R. team and the monument|
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Sources and Further Reading
Central Bedfordshire Council Libraries posted several newspaper article clippings on Twitter about Frank Russell and his creations:
“Destination Atlantis” on Russell's submarine:
Russell’s story was the subject of a nationally syndicated 1958 editorial article, published in some papers as, “And a Woman Spoiled His Fun”:
The Daily News, January 4, 1959, “It’s Still a Gullible World” by Tom Allen:
The U.S. Air Force took notice of the Frank Russell case. While Project Blue Book did not have a proper file on the events, there is one document relating to the news coverage of it. The handwritten comment at the bottom of the document says, “Very, very funny!” and is followed by remarks indicating the hoax had been responsible for 10 UFO sighting reports.
“New monument pays tribute to little known Biggleswade UFO hoax” by Dan Mountney: