13 December 2008


I was intrigued to find the following article in The Times on-line archive for September 15, 1956. As far as I know, Corporal Rimmer is no relation:


From Our Correspondent

Corporal John Rimmer, aged 21, who looks after the bedding stores at the Valley RAF station, Anglesey, has been a model aircraft builder for 15 years. Turning his mind to the future, he has, with the cooperation of Senior Aircraftman L. Reeder, another modelling enthusiast at the station, perfected a working model of a flying saucer in the accepted Martian tradition. Diesel powered, it can even be worked by radio control.
Working without drawings, Cpl. Rimmer and S.A.C. Reeder took several weeks to evolve their first working model, but once they got it working they went ahead.

Consisting of a disc of balsa wood anything from 18in, to a yard in diameter - slotted to receive two stabilizers and with a skeleton fuselage and landing gear strung underneath, the saucer behaves in a most convincing manner when airborne. The diesel motor, which drives a tiny propeller, enables it to climb in wide circles, and when the power cuts out the saucer spirals down to make a three-point landing.

Although the model, which will be on show at Valley's Battle of Britain display to-morrow, contains all the elements of a novel attraction for young aeronauts, the inventors are not interested in its marketable qualities. "Once it worked I lost interest in it," said Corporal Rimmer. He had no notion of patenting the idea, he said.

But it remains to be seen what will happen after tomorrow and Monday, for ITV. cameras will be at Valley to record its gyrations and the B.B.C. television service have already arranged for Corporal Rimmer's radio-controlled saucer to take the air in a studio on Monday night. This model will be Corporal Rimmer's speciality. A full 3ft in diameter it has a fuselage which contains two compartments that house a radio receiving unit and a battery. An intermittent switch operates a tall rudder mounted diametrically opposite the powering motor, and the flight is controlled by a tiny trasmitter, which is effective over a considerable distance.

Does anybody know if there is any remaining footage of Corporal Rimmer's flying saucer in ITV or BBC files? I doubt there is, but perhaps someone remembers it. I wonder what happened to the saucer afterwards. It sounds like it just ended up on the scrap heap. What an ignominious end for the RAF's first operative flying saucer!


  1. Anonymous31.3.11

    Flying saucers are clearly in the Rimmer DNA! This one should have been whisked out to Avro Canada to work on Project Silverbug.

  2. Tim Warner26.10.11

    There was a fellow called John Rimmer who worked in a garage in Wrexham in the 1960s. I think he'd been in the RAF. I worked next door and used to talk to him, but he never said anything about flying saucers!

    Great blog, plenty of interesting reviews, I've bought a couple of books as a result (used your Amazon links, so you've probably made a few pence on them!)