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Sat, Dec 01, 2012

'Lost' Spitfire Squadron Could Be Airborne Again In Three Years

Airplanes Buried In Burma To Hide Them From The Japanese At The End Of WWII

The British Spitfire airplanes that have been discovered buried in crates in Burma could be flying again in three years, according to experts close to the recovery effort.

The airplanes, thought to be rare Mark XIV Spitfires, were interred in August of 1945 as the Second World War was coming to an end. The airplanes had been shipped to Burma for use in the campaign against the Japanese in that country, and were buried in an effort to keep them out of enemy hands. They have lain under about 30 feet of dirt since 1945.

They were discovered by aviation enthusiast and farmer David Cundall, who now has the rights to 30 percent of what ever is recovered. The UK newspaper The Telegraph reports that Cundall's agents will receive 20 percent, and the Burmese government will get 50 percent ... which are expected to be sold.

The airplanes had been preserved and crated before being buried, so they are expected to be in very good condition. Cundall thinks they may still be wrapped in tar paper from Castle Bromwich, where the airplanes were manufactured. They are later model airplanes powered by Rolls Royce Griffon engines rather than the Merlins found in earlier examples.

The recovery effort is being sponsored by Wargaming.net and its owner Viktor Kiskli. Cundall told the paper that he hopes "they will be brought back to the UK and will be flying at airshows." He said he expects it will take as long as three years to bring the airplanes back to flying condition, and that he's had offers from British companies to fund the restorations and put logos on them. Cundall said that "is acceptable to me."

Excavation is expected to begin early next year.

(Spitfire image from file)

FMI: www.secondworldwar.org.uk/spitfire.html

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