The Global Positioning System (GPS) was first invented in Suffolk, the release of secret Government papers has revealed.
The files, previously hidden in the National Archive under the 60-year rule, shows GPS navigation, now common in all cars and on mobile phones, was first developed in Mendlesham.
For years travellers venturing north on the A140 towards the hostile and almost uninhabited county of Norfolk have passed the huge 1,000-foot mast at Mendlesham, and assumed it was some kind of television or radio transmitter.
But this has now been exposed as a government-sponsored hoax in order to cover up for the vital work of boffins at the former WW2 airfield.
Honouring the local dialect the project was originally called Grut’old thing Pointen Sky’ards – but Americans on the project just couldn’t get the accent right and changed the name.
But it appears the local population were in on the secret all along. Farmer Bill Hook from Stonham explained: “They made the mast just tall enough that you can see it from anywhere in Suffolk, but not from any surrounding counties.
“By looking in the direction of the mast you can work out where you are to the nearest half a mile. There’s a particular technique – you have to raise your arm horizontally in the direction of the mast, make a fist, extend your thumb upwards and then count how many of the lights on the mast are obscured.
“One light is one mile away and so on. If you can’t see the mast then you’re officially known as ‘Lost’.”
The project was scrapped, however, following a particularly foggy day in 1963 when the whole population of Suffolk was declared ‘Lost’.
Americans on the doomed scheme returned to NASA and developed the successful satellite-based system that so many people rely on today. That same system is now being put to good use in the search for signs of intelligent life in Norfolk.
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