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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Launch of Flying Saucer Review part 3

The Flying Saucer Review continued to appear on a quarterly and then bi-monthly schedule. Using Waveney Girvan's contacts, the paper was produced efficiently and economically. The general harmony and enthusiasm of the group – plus the unstilted provision of individuals’ time and energy – became a pleasurable memory. Nobody ever talked about remuneration.

There were, however, still many moments of difficulty to face over the years. One major problem was that in their attempt to give serious thought and study to the subject of UFOs and to collate as much information as they could, the paper was also covering the claims of hoaxers and the deluded. 

“I met George Adamski at this time," recalled Derek Dempster many years later (FSR v.56 no.3, 2006). "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 remain objective. What we were all living on then was hope and expectation.”

Adamski, whom Desmond Leslie had visited in 1954, published a follow-up to Flying Saucers Have Landed in 1955. Entitled Inside the Space Ships, it detailed his trips around the solar system with, amongst others, Orthon the Venusian, a Martian named Firkon and Ramu the Saturnian. The book carried an introduction by Leslie.

Derek Dempster remained in the position as editor of Flying Saucer Review until the position became untenable in 1956. “We kept being shot down 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; apart from that, I was being regarded as a ‘nutcase’, whose opinion in aviation matters was in question.”

Dempster continued to work in the aviation industry, remaining a Flight-Lieutenant in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force until 1956. At the same time he was editor of the B.O.A.C. aircrew magazine and the weekly B.O.A.C. News, a position he retained until 1959. He continued to work in publishing (as Skylink Ltd. he published Skytrader International) and as an advisor and consultant through a number of firms inclyding Economic Liaison Services, Airport Publishing Co., and Interface Publishing Consultants.

He continued to have an interest in UFOs and, fifty years after the founding of the Flying Saucer Review, said:
As I have matured I have looked for explanations for what we were reporting, the question of dimension and time in all this. Also I have thought of them just passing through our dimension rather than specifcally coming here for any purpose. I make the analogy of sitting in a car sideways rather than straight ahead. As another car passes you, you see something pass through your time dimension. As it speeds on, it leaves your position in space and we have no control over its passing. I believe the answer to everything exists if you have the right questions.
The editorship of  Flying Saucer Review passed to Brinsley Le Poer Trench, who remained in the post from September 1956 to 1959. Under his watch, the magazine developed a reputation for being an uncritical periodical. In 1957, a second founder disappeared from the roster.

Denis Montgomery, one of the chief catalysts in the birth of the magazine, had taken on the administrative role of Company Secretary. His original plans to create a library or institute for the study of UFOs never materialised due to a lack of funds. In 1957, his commercial career took him back to Africa and for the next six years he was an area petroleum sales manager and manager for the rubber purchasing and processing department for the United Africa Company in Nigeria. Returning to South Africa he worked as a stock distribution and production planning controller for Southern Africa, later working as a manaement consultant in South Africa, as commercial director for an eco-tourism project in Mozambique and for engineering and textile manufacturing companies in Brazil and England.

Brinsley Le Poer Trench's departure in 1959 occurred with little fanfare and with no reasons given. There is some uncertainty to the date of Trench's leaving and Waveney Girvan's taking on the task of editing. Charles Bowen, writing on the occasion of the magazine's tenth anniversary (FSR v.10 no.6, Nov/Dec 1964), recalled, "I had long been an admirer of Waverney’s work, particularly after he had taken over as Editor of the Review in 1959." In the paper's 25th anniversary issue (v.26 no.1, June 1980), he specifies September 1959. Eileen Buckle (who, some nine years later, became heavily-involved in the production of the magazine) believes the change came in 1960. “From the back issues I can tell you [going by details on the masthead] that Waveney took over the reins either from the March/April 1960 issue or the July/August 1960 issue (these two crucial issues are missing from my files) but his name appears as editor in the Sep/Oct 1960 issue.”

It would make sense that Trench's attentions were distracted during the period 1959-60, as his first book, The Sky People, was published in 1960. Confusion reigns (albeit mildly). If Bowen’s date of “1959” is correct, did it really take a further year for anyone to notice that the masthead had been wrong for the previous four or five issues?

However, having said that, 1959 had been a pretty difficult year for many connected to the publishing industry generally. In addition to many companies having been bought out, masticated and swallowed whole by some of the larger conglomerates, during May and June, there had been a disastrous six-week-long national print strike that had had the throttling effect of killing off so many periodicals that had been struggling-financially anyway. The Flying Saucer Review survived by issuing an emergency roneoed edition

But on a happier note, in a report emanating from the other side of the world, things appeared to be fairing far rosier. A missionary and many aboriginal natives had seen several UFOs on the 26th of June with one seemingly in the throws of being repaired by four human-like occupants. The report went on to say that the witnesses and the aliens had waved to each other! . . . now wasn’t that nice?

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