Andrew James John Mackenzie
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Clipped Wings; British Spitfires Unearthed from Burma


In the aftermath of the Second World War, dozens of Mark XIV Spitfires commissioned for the Pacific Theatre were summarily decommissioned and destined for burial under the orders of Lord Mountbatten to ensure they could not be used by Burmese independence fighters. Almost 70 years later, the possible discovery of nearly 36 aircraft buried in Burma has electrified the aerial and archaeological community.

Farmer and aviation enthusiast, David Cundall, has already put plans in motion to uncover the hidden squadron, an effort 16 years in the making and at a personal cost of many thousands of pounds:

 

“I have been flying aeroplanes for 45 years and been digging up sites looking for military aircraft for 36 years. It’s in my blood.”


Electromagnetic surveys carried out at one of the three sites have revealed large areas of metal buried beneath the surface, approximately 30 feet deep. Moreover, these findings are consistent with reports given to Cundall himself:
 

“We put a camera down a borehole and went into a box and through two inches of Canadian pine…Yes, we did see what we thought was an aeroplane.”

 



If the discovery is genuine and there are a number of Spitfires buried, it would prove an unprecedented find should they prove salvageable and in a flyable condition. Restoring them, however would prove astronomical, costing in excess of £2-3 million.

 

Despite the high costs and enormous effort made, Cundall is committed to their excavation. It is hoped that not before too long, these legendary aircraft will be in squadron formation flying in British skies once again:
 

''My share will be brought back to the UK and will hopefully be flying at air shows within three years or so.”
 

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Sean Spencer, “Spitfire being prepared for burial in Burma,” The Telegraph, (15 April 2012)  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/burmamyanmar/9204921/British-farmers-quest-to-find-lost-Spitfires-in-Burma.html. © Copyright Sean Spencer / Telegraph Media Group Limited.
 
All copyrighted material used in this article or cited by this website is the property of their respective owners and ajjmackenzie.co.uk in no way accepts any responsibility for an infringement on one of the above.
 
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