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  1. #1
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    Spitfires in Burma 'could be found'

    Spitfires in Burma 'could be found'



    British and Burmese authorities could work together to find 20 Spitfires buried in Burma at the end of the World War II, officials say.

    The case of the missing planes was raised when PM David Cameron met Burmese President Thein Sein.

    A Downing Street source said it was "hoped this will be an opportunity to work with the reforming Burmese government".

    The exact location of the planes is unknown.

    The planes were buried in 1945 by the RAF amid fears that they could either be used or destroyed by Japanese forces, but in the intervening years they have not been located.


    “Start Quote
    The Spitfire is arguably the most important plane in the history of aviation”
    Downing Street


    At the time they were unused, still in crates, and yet to be assembled.

    Until a general election in 2010, Burma was ruled for almost half a century by a military junta.

    It has been reported that experts from Leeds University and an academic based in Rangoon believe they may have identified the sites where the craft are concealed using sophisticated radar techniques.

    On Friday, officials said President Thein Sein was "very enthusiastic" about the prospect of finding and restoring the planes.

    A Downing Street source said: "The Spitfire 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, uncover, restore and display these fighter planes and get them gracing the skies of Britain once again."



  2. #2
    Thailand Expat klong toey's Avatar
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    Guess that means DPMO will be have a good look round as well.

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    This is pushing the arms sales trip in to a rather surreal format.

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    RUSH HER TODAY david44's Avatar
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    Biggles and the subterranean squadron? Has all the making s of a ripping yarn

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    More details here :

    Spitfires buried in Burma during war to be returned to UK

    Twenty iconic Spitfire aircrafts buried in Burma during the Second World War are to be repatriated to Britain after an intervention by David Cameron.


    A Spitfire flying from RAF Manston Photo: © Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

    By Victoria Ward, and Rowena Mason

    7:00AM BST 14 Apr 2012

    The Prime Minister secured a historic deal that will see the fighter jets dug up and shipped back to the UK almost 67 years after they were hidden more than 40-feet below ground amid fears of a Japanese occupation.

    The gesture came as Mr Cameron became the first Western leader to meet Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy campaigner held under house arrest for 22 years by the military regime, and invited her to visit London in her first trip abroad for 24 years.

    He called on Europe to suspend its ban on trade with Burma now that it was showing “prospects for change” following Miss Suu Kyi’s election to parliament in a sweeping electoral victory earlier this year.

    The plight of the buried aircraft came to Mr Cameron’s attention at the behest of a farmer from Scunthorpe, North Lincs, who is responsible for locating them at a former RAF base using radar imaging technology.

    David Cundall, 62, spent 15 years doggedly searching for the Mk II planes, an exercise that involved 12 trips to Burma and cost him more than £130,000.

    When he finally managed to locate them in February, he was told Mr Cameron “loved” the project and would intervene to secure their repatriation.

    Mr Cundall told the Daily Telegraph: “I’m only a small farmer, I’m not a multi-millionaire and it has been a struggle. It took me more than 15 years but I finally found them.
    ”Spitfires are a beautiful aeroplane and should not be rotting away in a foreign land. They saved our neck in the Battle of Britain and they should be preserved.”
    He said the Spitfires, of which there are only around 35 flying left in the world, were shipped to Burma and then transported by rail to the British RAF base during the war.
    However, advances in technology and the emergence of more agile jets meant they were never used and in August 1945, officials fearing a Japanese occupation abandoned them on the orders of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the head of South East Asia Command, two weeks before the atom bombs were dropped, ending the conflict.
    “They were just buried there in transport crates,” Mr Cundall said. “They were waxed, wrapped in greased paper and their joints tarred. They will be in near perfect condition.”
    The married father of three, an avid plane enthusiast, embarked on his voyage of discovery in 1996 after being told of their existence by a friend who had met some American veterans who described digging a trench for the aircraft during the Allied withdrawal of Burma.
    He spent years appealing for information on their whereabouts from eye witnesses, scouring public records and placing advertisements in specialist magazines.
    Several early trips to Burma were unsuccessful and were hampered by the political climate.
    He eventually met one eyewitness who drew maps and an outline of where the jets were buried and took him out to the scene.
    “Unfortunately, he got his north, south, east and west muddled up and we were searching at the wrong end of the runway,” he said.
    “We also realised that we were not searching deep enough as they had filled in all of these bomb craters which were 20-feet to start with.
    “I hired another machine in the UK that went down to 40-feet and after going back surveying the land many times, I eventually found them.
    “I have been in touch with British officials in Burma and in London and was told that David Cameron would negotiate on my behalf to make the recovery happen.”
    Mr Cundall said sanctions preventing the removal of military tools from Burma were due to be lifted at midnight last night (FRI).
    A team from the UK is already in place and is expecting to begin the excavation, estimated to cost around £500,000, imminently. It is being funded by the Chichester-based Boultbee Flight Acadamy.
    Mr Cundall said the government had promised him it would be making no claim on the aircraft, of which 21,000 were originally produced, and that he would be entitled to a share in them.
    “It’s been a financial nightmare but hopefully I’ll get my money back,” he said.
    “I’m hoping the discovery will generate some jobs. They will need to be stripped down and re-riveted but it must be done. My dream is to have a flying squadron at air shows.”


    Spitfires buried in Burma during war to be returned to UK - Telegraph

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    loob lor geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bangyai View Post

    However, advances in technology and the emergence of more agile jets meant they were never used and in August 1945, officials fearing a Japanese occupation abandoned them on the orders of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the head of South East Asia Command, two weeks before the atom bombs were dropped, ending the conflict.
    Surely not ? Japan on the bring of defeat and they were worried about Jap occupation ?
    Sounds like poor Victoria and Rowena wouldn't know a Spitfire from their fannies as she twice refered to them as jets.

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    "a historic deal that will see the fighter jets dug up and shipped back to the UK" Ah, the famous Spitfire jet. Good thing the Japanese didn't get their hands on them.

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    ^ nah, the other more agile jets would have made mincejet out of them..

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    Member graym's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    On Friday, officials said President Thein Sein was "very enthusiastic" about the prospect of finding and restoring the planes...
    ...and returning them..?

  10. #10
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    Probably an addition to the Burmese Air Force, they could be used along the Thai border aginst the so called insurgents.
    I wonder if they old Thai F-16, could knock a new Spitfire MK.2 out of the sky?
    I suppose it would depend on the pilots of both aircraft!!!
    "Don,t f*ck with the baldies*

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    Quote Originally Posted by thehighlander959 View Post
    Probably an addition to the Burmese Air Force, they could be used along the Thai border aginst the so called insurgents.
    I wonder if they old Thai F-16, could knock a new Spitfire MK.2 out of the sky?
    It's kind of hard to knock things out of the sky when you are crashing into a hillside.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by graym View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    On Friday, officials said President Thein Sein was "very enthusiastic" about the prospect of finding and restoring the planes...
    ...and returning them..?
    Well he would be enthusiastic! They would probably be in near pristine condition and could be worth anywhere from 5-10 Million each.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gentleman Jim View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by graym View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    On Friday, officials said President Thein Sein was "very enthusiastic" about the prospect of finding and restoring the planes...
    ...and returning them..?
    Well he would be enthusiastic! They would probably be in near pristine condition and could be worth anywhere from 5-10 Million each.
    Unless the termites have eaten them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    the famous Spitfire jet
    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99
    other more agile jets
    ?????

  15. #15
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    They might have some nuclear radiation on them from those bloody french.

    The French Military conducted more than 200 nuclear tests at Mururoa and Fangataufa atolls over a thirty year period ending 1996.



    PS: Up yours DrAndy


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    Thailand Expat DroversDog's Avatar
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    Is this the rebirth of the RAF by bringing back the Spitfire?
    Personally I think the Mosquito and the Lancaster played a much bigger role in the 2nd world war. Doesn't really matter though as I would give butterfly's right nut to go for a flight on any of them.

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    So David 'Trouser Woopsey' Cameroon goes to Burma and discusses some buried WWII Spitfires that are only slightly rarer than 1968 Mini Coopers.

    Who is paying the airfare for that waste of oxygen?
    Makes me glad to be in debt to HMRC.
    Last edited by Neo; 15-04-2012 at 03:26 AM.

  18. #18
    Lord of Swine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by robuzo
    the famous Spitfire jet
    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99
    other more agile jets
    ?????

    Read the first article. (as an editor should have...)

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    Spitfire

    I was working in Sawankhalok in Sukhothai Province around 1972 or '73 and there was a Spitfire rotting away in a public park. Does anybody know if it is still there?

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    ENT
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    ^ Interesting.
    As a kid in Assam in the '50s, I remember my dad, an administrator there, hosting a British army team looking for a downed British plane in our district.

    Shillong, Assam, was the staging point for the campaign against the Japs in Burma.
    The British left tons of ammunition and supplies there after the war.
    Cherrapunji, where I lived was the recuperation area for the troops in that campaign, my mother was a Red Cross nurse at the time..

    Later, the two Brit. officers from that team tried to buy a gold mine there "for as much money as an elephant could carry", in my father's words.

    The Khasi people wisely refused their offer.

    Bordering on Burma, the Khasi hills are now an autonamous region under India, Meghalaya.

    Ri Khasi baha!
    Last edited by ENT; 15-04-2012 at 04:33 PM.

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    Jimmy Dolittle fly Spitfires when and the boys were flying 'The Hump' over Burma?

  22. #22
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shy Guava
    I was working in Sawankhalok in Sukhothai Province around 1972 or '73 and there was a Spitfire rotting away in a public park. Does anybody know if it is still there?
    Don't even think about it.
    A disabled Spitfire was left in Phrae airport for years. It was then moved to a school and used as a playground for the kids. Years later it was "discovered" by a farang and he bought it.
    When he tried to ship it out of the country it was confiscated and his money not refunded.
    I can't say who confiscated it but 'airplane' & 'confiscated' should point you in the right direction.

  23. #23
    loob lor geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by ENT View Post

    The Khasi people
    Some names just don't convey the desired majesty they were intended to.

    There is a Spitfire in the museum on Pahonyothin Road but not sure if it capable of flight.


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    I hope the excavation goes as planned. A very important find , and as pointed out, the Spitfire is an icon of the Battle of Britain". Much safer to fly than some of the elderly original War planes.

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    British farmer’s quest to find lost Spitfires in Burma

    A Lincolnshire farmer has told how he spent 15 years trying to find a lost squadron of Spitfires that was buried in Burma at the end of the Second World War.


    Image 1 of 3
    David Cundall with a painting of a Spitfire Photo: Sean Spencer



    Image 1 of 3
    Spitfire and Auster aircraft in Rangoon after the war



    Image 1 of 3
    Spitfire being prepared for burial in Burma Photo: Sean Spencer

    ByAdam Lusher

    7:50AM BST 15 Apr 2012


    The extraordinary plans to dig up the lost squadron wererevealed this weekend as David Cameron visits the country.

    Now, David Cundall, 62, of Sandtoft, near Scunthorpe, has spoken about his quest to recover the Spitfires and get them airborne.

    Mr Cundall has spent £130,000 of his own money, visited Burma 12 times, persuaded the country’s notoriously secretive regime to trust him, and all the time sought testimony from a dwindling band of Far East veterans in order to locate the Spitfires.

    Yet his treasure hunt was sparked by little more than a throwaway remark from a group of US veterans, made 15 years ago to his friend and fellow aviation archaeologist Jim Pearce.

    Mr Cundall said: “The veterans had served in a construction battalion. They told Jim: 'We’ve done some pretty silly things in our time, but the silliest was burying Spitfires.’ And when Jim got back from the US, he told me.”

    Mr Cundall realised that the Spitfires would have been buried in their transport crates.

    Before burial, the aeroplanes would have been waxed, wrapped in greased paper and their joints tarred, to protect them against decay. There seemed to be a chance that somewhere in Burma, there lay Spitfires that could be restored to flying condition.
    He was determined to find them. The first step was to place advertisements in magazines, trying to find soldiers who buried Spitfires.
    “The trouble was that many of them were dying of old age.”
    He visited Burma over and over again, slowly building friendly relations with the military junta that have for decades held power in the capital, Rangoon.
    “In the end the minders trusted me so much they would let me hold their AK-47s while they ate the lunch I had bought them.”
    And finally, he found the Spitfires, at a location that is being kept a closely guarded secret.
    Mr Cundall said: “We sent a borehole down and used a camera to look at the crates. They seemed to be in good condition.”
    Mr Cundall explained that in August 1945 the Mark XIV aeroplanes, which used Rolls-Royce Griffon engines instead of the Merlins of earlier models, were put in crates and transported from the factory in Castle Bromwich, in the West Midlands, to Burma.
    Once they arrived at the RAF base, however, the Spitfires were deemed surplus to requirements. The war was in its final months and fighting was by now increasingly focused on 'island-hopping’ to clear the Japanese of their remaining strongholds in the Pacific. Land-based Spitfires, as opposed to carrier-based Seafires, did not have the required range.
    The order was given to bury 12 Spitfires while they were still in their transport crates.
    Then two weeks later, the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The Japanese surrendered on September 2 1945.
    It is possible that a further eight Spitfires were then buried in December 1945, bringing the potential total of lost Spitfires to 20.
    Mr Cundall said that about 21,000 Spitfires were built, but at the end of the war very few were wanted.
    “In 1945, Spitfires were ten a penny. Jets were coming into service. Spitfires were struck off charge, unwanted. Lots of Spitfires were just pushed off the back of aircraft carriers into the sea.
    “On land, you couldn’t leave them for the locals – they might have ended up being used against you. It was a typical British solution: 'Let’s bury them lads.’ They might have planned to come back and dig them up again. They never did.”
    To meet the £500,000 cost of the excavation Mr Cundall enlisted the help of Steve Boultbee Brooks, 51, a commercial property investor who also runs the Boultbee Flight Academy, in Chichester, West Sussex, which teaches people to fly on the two-seater Spitfire that Mr Brooks bought for £1.78 million in 2009.
    Ground radar images showed that inside the crates were Spitfires with their wings packed alongside the fuselages.
    The Britons now want to work to restore as many of the 20 Spitfires as possible and get them flying. If the project works, it will nearly double the number of airworthy Spitfires. There are currently only about 35 flying in the world.
    Mr Cundall said: “We want to dig as many Spitfires up as we find.
    “Spitfires are beautiful aeroplanes and should not be rotting away in a foreign land. They saved our neck in the Battle of Britain and they should be preserved.”
    The final obstacle to recovering the Spitfires, however, is political: international sanctions forbid the movement of military materials in and out of Burma, and it was also feared the Burmese government would not allow any foreign excavations on their territory.
    Because of the new, reforming stance of the Burmese government, it is likely some sanctions will be lifted after an EU review begins on April 23.
    With the help of David Cameron and his visit to Burma, a deal is currently being negotiated and hopes are high that it will conclude with President Thein Sein of Burma granting permission for the dig.
    Mr Brooks, who returned to his Oxford home on Saturday, after helping open negotiations with the Burmese authorities, said: “Our hope is that we can be digging them out in the next three or four weeks. Then the plan is to get as many of them flying as possible.
    “They have been in the ground for more than 65 years, so it is not a case of taking them out of the crates, putting them together and flying them. There is a lot of work to do. We may have to use parts of many planes to make perhaps a couple airworthy.
    “But if the crates didn’t get waterlogged, the Spitfires might be in pretty amazing condition. It’s also encouraging that they put teak beams over the crates so they wouldn’t be crushed by the earth when they were buried.”
    Mr Cundall also raised the tantalising prospect that there may be more buried Spitfires out there.
    “It’s possible there are other Spitfires buried around different sites in Burma. I have heard about 36 in one burial; 18 in another; 6 in another. And when they were buried, they would have been brand new, never taken out of the box.”
    Mr Brooks, however, cautioned: “People have spent decades scouring the earth for Spitfires. If other aeroplanes are there, they may be very difficult to find.”


    British farmer’s quest to find lost Spitfires in Burma - Telegraph

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