Hopes raised over Spitfires buried in Myanmar

Daily Echo: Hopes raised over Spitfires buried in Burma Hopes raised over Spitfires buried in Burma

Hopes of finding a forgotten squadron of Second World War Spitfires, originally designed and built in Southampton, have soared after the discovery of a crate which may hold the key to the mystery.

As previously reported, the lost Spitfires, entombed in boxes, were buried at various allied bases on the orders of the British high command at the end of the war in South East Asia.

Aviation enthusiasts, who have spent the last 15 years searching Burma, now known as Myanmar, for the buried Spitfires, have now discovered a crate in a swampy region of the country.

A camera has been inserted into the box but the images only show muddy brown water but researchers know the Spitfires were buried in similar crates and are convinced they have found a plane, given the size of the container.

According to some reports anything up to 140 of the famed fighter, designed by R. J. Mitchell at the former Supermarine works at Woolston in the 1930s, could lay hidden underground in Burma.

The quest to find the lost Spitfires was led by Lincolnshire farmer, 62-year-old David Cundall, who explained how the legendary fighters came to be buried at the end of the Second World War.

“Basically nobody received any orders to take these airplanes back to UK,” said Mr Cundall.

“They were just surplus and one way of disposing them was to bury them. The war was over, everybody wanted to go home, nobody wanted anything, so you just buried it and went home. That was it."

Eventually the aircraft could be re-assembled and then flown for the first time, after being lost and buried for almost 70 years.

Today only a handful of Spitfires, worth anything up to £2m each, remain in flying condition.

Hidden below ground in an old bomb crater, the fighters have yet to be fully examined but it is hoped they are still in pristine condition, protected by purpose-built cases and wrapped in waxed paper.

During a visit to Burma, the Prime Minister David Cameron secured the historic deal, which will see the aircraft dug up and shipped back to the UK.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Spitfire9 is arguably the most important plane in the history of aviation, playing a crucial role in the Second World War.

“It is hoped this will be an opportunity to work with the reforming Burmese government to uncover, restore and display these fighter planes and get them gracing the skies of Britain once again.''

Conceived by the design engineer R. J. Mitchell at the Supermarine Aviation Works in Woolston, Southampton, the Spitfire became the symbol of the nation's dogged determination during the Second World War when pilots fought and won control of the skies during the Battle of Britain.

Throughout the conflict the Spitfire became the backbone of RAF Fighter Command, and saw action in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Pacific and South East Asia.

Comments (6)

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1:08pm Thu 10 Jan 13

meechy says...

This article states ' Today only a handful of Spitfires, worth anything up to £2m each, remain in flying condition'

Actually there are approximately 50 airworthy Spitfires in the world, of which around 18 of them are in the UK. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has 6 airworthy Spitfires, even that is more than 'a handful'.
This article states ' Today only a handful of Spitfires, worth anything up to £2m each, remain in flying condition' Actually there are approximately 50 airworthy Spitfires in the world, of which around 18 of them are in the UK. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has 6 airworthy Spitfires, even that is more than 'a handful'. meechy

4:26pm Thu 10 Jan 13

one in a million says...

Lets hope that they'll be flying for the 100th anniversary of the first flight over southampton in 2036!
Lets hope that they'll be flying for the 100th anniversary of the first flight over southampton in 2036! one in a million

5:02pm Thu 10 Jan 13

sarfhamton says...

So who owns them? The RAF or the land owner?
So who owns them? The RAF or the land owner? sarfhamton

5:05pm Thu 10 Jan 13

SOULJACKER says...

meechy wrote:
This article states ' Today only a handful of Spitfires, worth anything up to £2m each, remain in flying condition'

Actually there are approximately 50 airworthy Spitfires in the world, of which around 18 of them are in the UK. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has 6 airworthy Spitfires, even that is more than 'a handful'.
Holy cr@p,

The Echo ain't never gonna get anything right in some peoples eyes are they.
No matter what they say some 'expert' is always gonna shoot them down & criticize them like something out of the 'Big Bang Theory'.

Now I ain't no expert so I could be wrong but probably given how many were originally built what is left is surely a handful.
Just saying.

Good story Echo :)
[quote][p][bold]meechy[/bold] wrote: This article states ' Today only a handful of Spitfires, worth anything up to £2m each, remain in flying condition' Actually there are approximately 50 airworthy Spitfires in the world, of which around 18 of them are in the UK. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has 6 airworthy Spitfires, even that is more than 'a handful'.[/p][/quote]Holy cr@p, The Echo ain't never gonna get anything right in some peoples eyes are they. No matter what they say some 'expert' is always gonna shoot them down & criticize them like something out of the 'Big Bang Theory'. Now I ain't no expert so I could be wrong but probably given how many were originally built what is left is surely a handful. Just saying. Good story Echo :) SOULJACKER

7:07pm Thu 10 Jan 13

richieroo says...

SOULJACKER wrote:
meechy wrote: This article states ' Today only a handful of Spitfires, worth anything up to £2m each, remain in flying condition' Actually there are approximately 50 airworthy Spitfires in the world, of which around 18 of them are in the UK. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has 6 airworthy Spitfires, even that is more than 'a handful'.
Holy cr@p, The Echo ain't never gonna get anything right in some peoples eyes are they. No matter what they say some 'expert' is always gonna shoot them down & criticize them like something out of the 'Big Bang Theory'. Now I ain't no expert so I could be wrong but probably given how many were originally built what is left is surely a handful. Just saying. Good story Echo :)
Gotta agree with you. I think they mean airworthy ww2 Spitfires & not including the ones they build now over on the I.O.W.
[quote][p][bold]SOULJACKER[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]meechy[/bold] wrote: This article states ' Today only a handful of Spitfires, worth anything up to £2m each, remain in flying condition' Actually there are approximately 50 airworthy Spitfires in the world, of which around 18 of them are in the UK. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has 6 airworthy Spitfires, even that is more than 'a handful'.[/p][/quote]Holy cr@p, The Echo ain't never gonna get anything right in some peoples eyes are they. No matter what they say some 'expert' is always gonna shoot them down & criticize them like something out of the 'Big Bang Theory'. Now I ain't no expert so I could be wrong but probably given how many were originally built what is left is surely a handful. Just saying. Good story Echo :)[/p][/quote]Gotta agree with you. I think they mean airworthy ww2 Spitfires & not including the ones they build now over on the I.O.W. richieroo

10:22am Fri 11 Jan 13

The Wickham Man says...

Has anyone discussed which Spitfire mark these would be? I'm guessing they would be a Mark XX or above, in which case these would have the more powerful Griffon engines, not the Merlins that were used earlier in the war. Personally I think the Griffon sounds better than the Merlin so hope they find something - but after 65 years in swampy water? I'm not so sure these will ever fly even if they find them.
Has anyone discussed which Spitfire mark these would be? I'm guessing they would be a Mark XX or above, in which case these would have the more powerful Griffon engines, not the Merlins that were used earlier in the war. Personally I think the Griffon sounds better than the Merlin so hope they find something - but after 65 years in swampy water? I'm not so sure these will ever fly even if they find them. The Wickham Man

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