WWII Spitfires to be Unearthed in Burma

Discussion in 'Military History' started by asianobserve, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Messages:
    7,308
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Paging Indiana Jones: a British farmer's 15-year quest to find a squadron of legendary fighter planes buried in a forbidding, far-off land has finally paid off.

    By SONIA VAN GILDER COOKE
    Time April 17, 2012


    [​IMG]


    It’s like something out of an Indiana Jones film, if you take away the religious overtones and ophidiophobic adventurer. After 15 years, a British farmer’s quest to find a squadron of legendary fighter planes lost in Burma during World War II has finally paid off.

    Lincolnshire farmer David Cundall, 62, has spent £130,000, traveled to Burma a dozen times and negotiated with the cagey Burmese government, all in the hopes of finding a stash of iconic British Spitfires buried somewhere in the Southeast Asian country.

    Buried planes? It sounds odd, but in fact this was fairly common towards the end of the war; as the conflict wound down and jet aircraft promised to make the prop-driven fighters obsolete, many aircraft were scrapped, buried or sunk by allied forces in order to prevent them falling into enemy hands.

    Cundall started his search after his friend heard from a group of U.S. veterans that they had stashed Spitfires in the region. “We’ve done some pretty silly things in our time, but the silliest was burying Spitfires,” the veterans said.

    His interest piqued, Cundall began placing ads in magazines to try to find soldiers who may have been involved.

    After a decade and a half of searching, he finally managed to locate the missing airplanes, which had never been flown and were indeed buried while still in their transport crates. “We sent a borehole down and used a camera to look at the crates. They seemed to be in good condition,” Cundall told the Telegraph.

    The aircraft arrived at a Royal Air Force Base in Burma in August 1945. But by that point in the war, just before the bombing of Hiroshima, the fighters weren’t needed. “In 1945, Spitfires were ten a penny,” says Cundall. “It was a typical British solution: ‘Let’s bury them lads.’”

    Getting the planes out of the ground is one thing; getting them out of Burma — a secretive nation that until recently was ruled by a brutal military junta and remains under a variety of international sanctions — is another. But as the Telegraph reports, following the intervention of British prime minister David Cameron, who recently visited the country, the Spitfires could soon be on their way back to the U.K.

    Cundall hopes that with the help of investors, the planes can finally take to the skies. “Spitfires are beautiful airplanes and should not be rotting away in a foreign land. They saved our neck in the Battle of Britain and they should be preserved.”


    Read more: Buried Treasure: World War II Spitfires To Be Unearthed in Burma | NewsFeed | TIME.com
     
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  2.  
  3. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Messages:
    7,308
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Burma Find Could Flood Vintage Spitfire Market
    By Associated Press | October 18, 2012

    (RANGOON, Burma) — As many as 140 World War II Spitfire fighter planes — three to four times the number of airworthy models known to exist — are believed to be buried in near-pristine condition in Burma. A British-Burmese partnership says it will begin digging them up by the end of the month.

    The go-ahead for excavation came earlier this week when the Burmese government signed an agreement with British aviation enthusiast David J. Cundall and his local partner. Cundall, a farmer and businessman, earlier this year announced he had located 20 of the planes, best known for helping the Royal Air Force win mastery of the skies during the Battle of Britain.

    On Thursday, however, a retired Burmese geology professor who has assisted in the recovery operation since 1999 said there are about 140 Spitfires buried in various places around the Southeast Asian country, which until 1948 was a British colony. He did not explain the discrepancy in estimates.

    Soe Thein said the British brought crates of Spitfires to Burma in the closing stages of the war, but never used them when the Japanese gave up the fight in 1945. The single-seat version of the fighter plane was 9.14 meters (30 feet) long with an 11.3 meter (37 foot) wingspan.

    xxx

    Read more: Burma Find Could Flood Vintage Spitfire Market | World | TIME.com
     
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  4. SpArK

    SpArK SORCERER Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,093
    Likes Received:
    1,104
    Location:
    KINGDOM OF TRAVANCORE
    [​IMG]

    IAF Spitfires operating from Srinagar Airfield - 1947
     
    W.G.Ewald and asianobserve like this.
  5. indian_sukhoi

    indian_sukhoi Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    957
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    Hyderabad, India
    Makes me wonder what would have happen to all those T-34 and IL-2s produced during the WW2. The Soviets produced thousands of them!!
     
  6. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2011
    Messages:
    7,308
    Likes Received:
    2,976

    I don't believe batches of T-34s or Il-2s were ever buried. The USSR gave them away to their satellites and allies after the war. The USSR actually expanded its empire after the war and used its surplus to equip their new territories. The UK (and the US) on the other hand contracted after the war naively thinking that there were no more need for their massive left-over war materials.
     
    W.G.Ewald and indian_sukhoi like this.
  7. mikhail

    mikhail Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    1,393
    Likes Received:
    1,096
    Location:
    Land of Intolerance and App Wapsi
    instead of burying those spitfires the brits could have given those aircrafts to India or to the newly independent state of Burma.it would have brought them a lot of goodwill in these parts of the world!
     
  8. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    DFI should buy one of them.
     
    opesys likes this.

Share This Page