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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Brinsley Le Poer Trench

Whilst Desmond Leslie was not one of the five players directly involved in the launch of Flying Saucer Review, his book was a key element in its launch. Another aristocrat, however, put his money where his mouth was and was one of the magazine's financial backers in its early days before taking over as editor.

Brinsley Le Poer Trench claimed he could trace his family origins back to around 63,000 B.C., when aliens landed on Earth. Other aliens ascended from below the surface of the planet from civilisations that still exist. "I haven't been down there myself," he later admitted, "but from what I gather [these civilisations] are very advanced." Oh, and Adam and Eve, Noah and other biblical characters were from Mars.

On a more down-to-earth level, his family tree can easily be traced back to Irish politician Frederick Richard Trench (1681-1752), his son Richard Trench, and grandson, William Power Keating Trench (→ Wikipedia), who became the Earl of Clancarty, taking the name from a "tenuous link" to the Munster Earls of Clancarty. The 2nd Earl of Clancarty, Richard, was also made Marquess of Heusden in 1815 for his aid in resolving Dutch border disputes. Le Poer was an old noble Irish name dating back to the Norman invasion of Ireland.

William Francis Brinsley Le Poer Trench was the fifth son of  William Fredrick Le Poer Trench, the 5th Earl of Clancarty, and inherited his titles following the deaths of two older brothers (Richard in 1971 and Greville in 1975), making him the 8th Earl of Clancarty and 7th Marquess of Heusden. (More information on the lineage can be found here.)

Trench was raised in London and educated at the Pangbourne Nautical College, and had taken up employment for a while selling advertising space for a gardening magazine whose offices were housed in a building opposite the Waterloo mailine Station. After the success of his first book, published in 1960, he was able to write full-time.

Trench's interest in UFOs had developed after the war and, finding others with similar interests, he was involved in the early years of the Flying Saucer Review, selling advertising space and eventually taking over the editorship between 1956 and 1959. He also founded the International UFO Observer Corps in 1956, which had observers watching the skies until 1960 when it was closed down as few reports came in from members involved and some, having failed to sight a UFO, turned to other forms of evidence gathering—"mediumship, myths and traditions, leading to preconceived opinions inimical to research with open minds."

Trench served as vice-president of the The British UFO Research Association (BUFORA), founded in 1962. He was chairman of the International Committee of the International Sky Scouts, founded in 1965 and who held a flying saucer spotting day on 24 June 1966. The International Sky Scouts became Contact International in 1967 with Trench their first president; their newsletter – Awareness – became Awareness: Journal of Contact. He was also an honorary life member of the now defunct “Ancient Astronauts Society” which supported ideas that had been put forward by Erich von Dänken in his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods?

In 1975 he succeeded to the earldom on the death of his half-brother thus entitling him to a seat in the British Parliament. He used his new position to found a UFO Study Group at the House of Lords, introduce the Flying Saucer Review magazine to its library and push for the declassification of UFO data.

Four years later he organised a celebrated debate in the House of Lords on UFOs which attracted many speeches on both sides of the question, with Lords Kimberley, Oxfuird, Davies of Leek and Cork speaking in Clancarty's support. In one debate, Lord Stabolgi, for the Government, declared that there was nothing to convince him that any alien spacecraft had ever visited the Earth. John Ezard reported Clancarty's response on another occasion when he was challenged to prove that aliens were on earth: "Well, you do see a lot of strange people about, don't you," replied Clancarty.

Lest it be thought that Lord Clancarty was simply using his privileged position to promote his own  ideas, it should be noted that he also attended almost every meeting of the Lords defence group and was interested in services for the sick, the poor and the alcoholic. He was described by Lord Kimberley as "a terribly kind man".

Clancarty was married four times. He died in a nursing home in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, on 18 May 1995, survived by his fourth wife. His titles passed to his nephew, Nicholas Le Poer Trench.


The Sky People. London, Neville Spearman, 1960.
Men Among Mankind. London, Neville Spearman, 1962, Amherst, WI, Amherst Press, 1963.
Forgotten Heritage. London, Neville Spearman, 1965.
The Flying Saucer Story. London, Neville Spearman, 1966.
Operation Earth. London, Neville Spearman, 1969.
The Eternal Subject. London, Souvenir Press, 1973, as Mysterious Visitors: The UFO Story, New York, Stein and Day, 1973, revised, London, Pan Books, 1975.
Secret of the Ages: UFOs from Inside the Earth. London, Souvenir Press, 1974.

(* Photograph from The Hollow Earth Insider website.

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