Yangoon, Jan 19 (): Archaeologists who are hunting for World War II Spitfires in Burma have now said that there are no planes buried at the sites where they have been digging. They have concluded that the evidence does not support the original claim that a lost squadron of World War II Spitfires, as many as 124 Spitfires were buried at the end of the war beneath a busy airport in Burma.
Wargaming.net, the company financing the project says there are no planes but David Cundall, who leads the team says that the evacuation team was searching the wrong place. The captain still maintains that as many as 124 Spitfires are buried in sites around Burma.
Britain built about 20,000 Spitfires. It was originally thought that as many as 140 Spitfires were thought to have been hidden in near-pristine condition in Myanmar by the American engineers when the war came to an end. Of those, 36 Spitfires are believed to have been kept buried under the grounds of Mingaladon airport, about 100 yards away from the runway.
Cundall has been searching for and digging up crashed aircraft for the past 17 years. He has been fighting to find out the facts and battling with official stubbornness and old records, trade sanctions, other treasure hunters and tense international politics, visiting Burma 16 times and even urging David Cameron to raise the issue on his visit to Burma last year.
David has found unassembled Spitfires packed into crates and buried by the RAF at sites in Burma on the orders of Lord Mountbatten at the end of the war in 1945.
Further, he has also collected eyewitness accounts from British and American service personnel as well as local people. Cundall said the practice of burying aircraft, tanks and jeeps was common after the war.
Before excavations, scientists had discovered large concentrations of metal under the ground around Rangoon’s airport lending support to the theory that up to 36 planes are buried there. The excavation measures started in October when Burma’s government signed an agreement with David Cundall and his local partner. They have signed an actual contract to start digging for the planes.
The contract allows the dig to go ahead where the Burmese government would take 50% of the value of aircraft recovered, while Mr Cundall’s share will be 30% and his agent 20%.