The most famous flyer of the First World War was the German pilot Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron.
He supposedly spotted an UFO that looked like an upside down silver saucer with orange lights during an early morning mission in the clear blue skies above Belgium in the spring of 1917.
Fellow German Air Force ace Peter Waitzrick, who reportedly witnessed the dogfight, said: “We were terrified because we’d never seen anything like it before. The Baron immediately opened fire and the thing went down like a rock, shearing off tree limbs as it crashed into the woods.”
Two occupants allegedly survived the crash and clambered from the wreck before running into the trees.
Waitzrick and his squadron initially thought the UFO was a secret US aircraft, until he read reports about flying saucers and then had no doubt that was what he saw.
Waitzrick said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that the Baron shot down some kind of spacecraft from another planet and those little guys who ran off into the woods were space aliens of some kind.”
During the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign up to 4,000 men from the Royal Norfolk Regiment was supposedly snatched by aliens who swooped over the battlefield in giant grey clouds.
Three New Zealand soldiers said they saw several hundred British soldiers marching towards Hill 60 at Sulva Bay in Turkey on August 21, 1915.
At the top of the hill was a “more solid looking cloud” that was 800 feet long, 220 feet high and 200 feet wide.
Their statement, made in April 1965, said: “When they arrived at this cloud they marched straight into it with no hesitation, but no one ever came out to fight. About an hour later this cloud very unobtrusively lifted off the ground until it joined other similar clouds, then they all moved away northwards.”
The soldiers insisted the British demanded the return of the regiment when Turkey surrendered, but the Turks denied any knowledge of the soldiers.
While many have dismissed the statement as a hoax, it has since been corroborated by the final report of the Dardanelles Commission, written in 1917 and finally declassified in 1965.
A. E. Whiteland wrote to a newspaper in 1968 about an aircraft his mother saw from the upstairs window of her home in the town of Aldeburgh during the First World War.
His mother, then 84, told him the story many times over the years and he was keen to find out what happened.
Whiteland wrote: “A little above the level of the house eight to twelve men appeared on what seemed to be a round platform with a handrail around it, which they were gripping tightly.
“She could see them so clearly. They were wearing blue uniforms and little round hats, not unlike sailors’. She heard no sound from the machine as it came off the marshes.
“It turned a bit and went over the railway yard to disappear behind some houses.”
The so-called ‘flaming onions’ terrified WW1 fighter pilots because no-one knew what theory were and they moved too fast for an aircraft to take evasive action.
Cambridge historian Denis Winter recounted in his booked, The First of the Few, that the flaming onions were “green glowing balls which twisted about like live things and seemed to chase an aeroplane, turning over end on end in a leisurely way.”
First spotted by Lieutenant Frederick Ardsley as he flew from Amiens to Villers Bocage in northern France on an early morning patrol on January 9, 1918.
He spotted an identical S.E. 5 biplane flying next to his and was stunned when the pilot removed their goggles with a loud laugh to reveal a cascade of golden hair. The beauty blew a kiss at Ardesley before performing a Can Can dance on the edge of her cockpit.
When Ardesley tried to shoot her down and pursued her plane she darted, rolled and dipped with such skill he could not keep up. Eyewitnesses on the ground reported watching the dogfight.
This was just the start of the legend of Lady Sopwith, who reportedly shot down German pilots who nicknamed her The Valkyrie, and was spotted by civilians including a six year-old boy.
Some believed her to be the tomboy sister of British flying corps ace Captain Albert Ball, who was killed in May 1917. However, it has been suggested she was little more than a myth that began when some mechanics saw a pilot in wearing drag climb into the cockpit of an S.E. 5 after a Christmas concert party.