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Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:35 am
by MadameConcorde
I received the following by email. I thought I would pass the information by starting a new thread.

This is the full text as received - there's no copyright that I know of.

December 27, 2012

The long-anticipated dig to unearth a cache of brand-new Spitfires that are
believed to be buried in Burma is expected to start on Jan. 12, local press
has reported. According to The Irrawaddy
(http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/20929), archeologists first will spend
about a week studying the site, then the digging can begin. Up to 36
pristine Spitfires, still in the packing crates they were delivered in near
the end of World War II, are expected to be found. David Cundall, who
located the burial site said he has confirmed
the airplanes are there by sending a camera through a borehole. "We went
into a crate, you can see an object which resembles a Spitfire," he said.

The British troops buried the airplanes when they left Burma in 1945,
Cundall said, because they didn't want to take them home, but also didn't
want anyone else to use them. The crates were tarred and placed on massive
teak timbers to assist drainage, and a wooden roof was placed over the
crates to protect them, Cundall said. The crates are buried about 30 feet
deep in an area close to a runway at Mingaladon Airport in Rangoon. Cundall
also has permission to excavate two other sites in Burma. At one of those
sites, Cundall said he expects to find up to six crated Mark 8 Spitfires, a
rare variation with only one copy still flying.

                       

So many unearthed treasures remaining!

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:58 am
by connies4ever
Truly amazing ! A message from the past.

Congratulations to Mr Cundall for his perseverance in this quest.   

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:35 pm
by Zkpilot
They will be amazing if still intact

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:58 pm
by MadameConcorde
Not sure if any of you have checked the Irrawady article. It is really good with some good information in it.
I like how they still call the country Burma (which I do too).

BURMA
Quest for Hidden Spitfires Nears Completion

Burma’s first large-scale export since the suspension of sanctions may well be 36 World War II Spitfire fighter planes buried at Rangoon’s Mingaladon Airport in 1945, according to the man who found them, David Cundall.
Cundall, a British farmer and aviation enthusiast, tracked down the planes’ location by talking to Burmese and ex-Allied forces witnesses and carrying out geophysical surveys of sites where the planes were believed to have been hidden.
He pinpointed their location in 2004 but had to keep it a secret for eight years until the lifting of sanctions earlier this year.
If the planes had been excavated while the sanctions were still in place, they could not have been taken out of the country.

read more and pictures:
http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/20929


                       

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:31 pm
by Francoflier
From the article:

“The Burmese government have been wonderful, they have been very helpful, they have given me every facility I could wish for and I’m very happy dealing with them,” he said.

I know this comes from the old 'don't bite the hand that feeds', but that made me cringe a bit.
Then again it might just be true, especially since the government is keeping 50% of the tally, essentially for nothing. A Burmese 'agent' is keeping another 20% (it wouldn't surprise me if the government ended up regaining those 20% too).

I can't wait for the documentary and to see the birds back in the air.

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:49 am
by Slcpilot
I am very afraid of, well, this being the end result....

http://www.google.com/search?q=tulsa...2&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAA&biw=1311&bih=620

The restoration effort...

http://bangshift.com/blog/rustbucket...h-currently-resides-in-jersey.html

But rest assured, it woould be really COOL to see multiple "new" Spitfires flying again!

Happy New Year!

SLCPilot

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:07 am
by TheSultanOfWing
Exciting stuff!

I would love for some A-net photographers to shoot pics as the crates are opened.
I guess some companies are queueing up in the UK!!

I do wonder where the "Burmese planes" will end up though, I imagine they will sell them on!
Or would there be enough local interest and resources to get, and keep; them all up in the air?

Great to see that there is still money for projects like this!
Brand spankers buried in the ground........that's what movies are made of!
I should be so lucky to come across an absolute classic like that.


Staying tuned.......


FH

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:06 pm
by RJAF
Always been facinated with time capsules. Hope those Spits don't end up like the 1957 Belvedere in OK! Would love to see them fly again. Please keep us posted Madame  

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:27 pm
by kanban
I read yesterday they found the first crate full of water.. and are bringing in pumps.. well the plane won't initially be shiny.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/09/spitfires-buried-burma

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:19 pm
by kanban

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:24 pm
by canoecarrier
Quoting MadameConcorde (Thread starter):
The British troops buried the airplanes when they left Burma in 1945, Cundall said, because they didn't want to take them home, but also didn't want anyone else to use them. The crates were tarred and placed on massive teak timbers to assist drainage, and a wooden roof was placed over the crates to protect them

This doesn't make sense to me. Why would they go through all the trouble of trying to preserve them when they essentially had surplus equipment they didn't want anyone else to use and they were intending to dispose of before leaving Burma?

The US and British buried a lot of aircraft immediately after WW2, some captured German aircraft were run over with bulldozers and buried below runways under construction. I hope they are in decent condition if they find them but I'm skeptical that they went through all the trouble to preserve them mentioned above.

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:38 pm
by wb556
Digging suspended, all looking very very doubtful now.

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:45 pm
by bravogolf
This kind of reminded me of the old "You can buy a WWII jeep in a crate for $50."

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:38 pm
by A320ajm
One of my lecturers (I studied Geophysics) went to be one of the geophysical advisors. He is also a plane geek, and we got talking about planes on a field trip in 2011 and he told me "Keep your eye on the news, I'm working on a project with both geophysics and aviation and we may just find a great bit of treasure." At the time, it was quite secret and he couldn't tell me the details for obvious reasons!

Congratulations to all involved  

A320ajm

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:27 pm
by Francoflier
Quoting A320ajm (Reply 13):
Congratulations to all involved

Congratulations aren't warranted yet, unfortunately.

Let's hope they can keep digging other possible sites and find something.

The water isn't a good sign.

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:05 pm
by A320ajm
Quoting francoflier (Reply 14):
Congratulations aren't warranted yet, unfortunately.

Their effort and determination are worth congratulating. The fact they have tried is success enough.

Although being French you would have given up at the first hurdle?      
(I do joke here  )

Regards,
A320ajm

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:03 pm
by Francoflier
Quoting A320ajm (Reply 15):
I do joke here

You don't say.

I'm as excited as them and do wish they found something. It is indeed admirable that they made it this far.
Just allow my French self to be slightly phlegmatic, however ironic that might sound...

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:47 am
by GDB
Called off, it seems it was all just a myth, maybe rumours that got exaggerated with each new telling?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21483187

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:12 pm
by LMP737
It did sound a bit too good to be true.

[Edited 2013-02-16 13:12:43]

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:07 pm
by kc135topboom
Quoting LMP737 (Reply 18):
It did sound a bit too good to be true.

Yeah, bummer.

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:00 am
by celestar
Sooooooooooooooooooooo sad to hear this, I have been following this romantic story and no one would have doubt how beautiful Spitfire is, especially the earlier three blades propeller version.
We lost yet another chance to see history flying again....
BTW, why would the British be burrying something where everyone knows by the time they need them for war, it would be outdated. I meant, I know in some Asian country, especially China, the villeager people used to bury their hard earn money under the ground beneath their bed and only later to find them rotten.
I feel bad and sad.

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:25 am
by GDB
Quoting celestar (Reply 20):
BTW, why would the British be burrying something where everyone knows by the time they need them for war, it would be outdated. I meant, I know in some Asian country, especially China, the villeager people used to bury their hard earn money under the ground beneath their bed and only later to find them rotten.
I feel bad and sad.

At the end of WW2, vast amounts of equipment, aircraft, tanks, small arms etc, was rapidly disposed of, sometimes being buried. Or dumped at sea.
But some, including aircraft like the Spitfire, were stored then sold/given to other countries. Spitfires flew in the Mid East conflicts of the late 1940's, also in the far east and the RAF were still using them into the 1950's.

The sudden end of WW2 with the surrender of Japan certainly caught the British/Commonwealth forces by surprise - though Churchill and his senior staff and his successor after the July 1945 election - Attlee, knew of the atomic bomb.
Even so, after Germany's surrender in the May of '45, large amounts of men and equipment were then being deployed to the far east to augment the forces already there and to take part in the invasion of Japan with the US, should that be necessary. As well as fighting remaining Japanese forces in the region. The RAF element to this was known as 'Tiger Force'.

The sudden end to hostilities in August 1945 would have left of lot a equipment deployed but now no longer needed, the Spitfires in Burma were thought to be part of that.
It seems that the ones this team was looking for were in fact sent back to the UK, though the numbers actually sent to Burma are now disputed. It was a busy, even chaotic time and it's easy to see how poor record keeping, sudden changes could have created what seems to now be a myth.
On most of the minds of the British servicemen out there when the war ended was getting back home to their loved ones and re-joining civilian life, for some after 6 years in uniform.

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:27 am
by LMP737
There is one plce in world that we know for a fact that there are dozens of well preservd WWII aircraft. The bottom of Lake Michigan. The only problem is finding them and getting the USN to part with them since they still technically belong to the Navy

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:36 am
by rwessel
Quoting LMP737 (Reply 22):
There is one plce in world that we know for a fact that there are dozens of well preservd WWII aircraft. The bottom of Lake Michigan. The only problem is finding them and getting the USN to part with them since they still technically belong to the Navy

"Well preserved" may require a bit of imagination:

http://www.google.com/images?q=ww2+plane+lake+michigan+recovered

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:33 pm
by LMP737
Quoting rwessel (Reply 23):
"Well preserved" may require a bit of imagination:

When compared to most wrecked WWII aircraft I would say they are well preserved..

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:34 pm
by scbriml
Well, one of the main sponsors has now pulled out claiming that the existence of these Spits is "a myth". Zero evidence has been found from the digging.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/w...earch-despite-loss-of-sponsor.html

Quote:
The company said last Friday it believes the planes do not really exist and descriptions of their burial by Allied forces as the war drew to a close nearly 70 years ago are a myth.

RE: Spitfires' Excavation Date Set

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:38 pm
by canoecarrier
Quoting scbriml (Reply 25):

I didn't think it worth posting here at the time, but I read somewhere that Cundall got ill, spent a day in hospital, then against doctor's orders jumped right on a plane and flew somewhere else to look for the planes in another place.

I appreciate his zeal, but I think he wants the planes to be there more than he actually has proof that they are there.