Work Set to Start on Burma Spitfire Recovery


In two weeks, aviation archaeologists will start working to unearth what they expect will be as many as 36 new-in-the-box Supermarine Spitfires. British warbird researcher David Cundall believes the fighters were buried in crates near the end of World War II in Burma, now Myanmar. He worked for years to locate the cache, and earlier this year** secured the rights to dig up the aircraft**.

Cundall said that a camera in a hole bored into the site reveals “an object that resembles a Spitfire.” He said the crates were sealed with tar and supported by teak timbers. British troops also placed a protective covering over the crates to help prevent water seepage, he said. The crates are thought to be buried about 30 feet underground alongside a runway at the Mingaladon Airport.

Just why they would take the extreme measures to preserve so many of the Griffon-engined fighters is subject to some controversy. Some say it was to preserve them for later sale. Also, if there are, in fact, three dozen pristine Spitfires to be found, the effect on market price for the aircraft will be interesting to watch. Whatever the outcome, the waiting will soon be over, as work begins on January 12.

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