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Fri, Oct 19, 2012

Spitfires To Be Unearthed In Burma

Agreement Will Allow Excavation Of Dozens Of The Planes Buried By The British

Nearly 70 years ago, British forces buried dozens of Spitfire fighter aircraft in Burma to keep them out of the hands of invading Japanese forces. The aircraft, properly crated and preserved, have lain hidden underground in Burma ever since.

Now, a British aviation enthusiast, David J. Cundall, has uncovered their location after 16 years of searching for the aircraft, and a deal has been struck between the British and Burmese governments to allow them to be unearthed and brought home.

And it's not just a few. There are an estimated 60 of the iconic fighters in the ground in Burma, according to a report appearing on Fox News. The Myanma Ahlin newspaper said that the two sides had signed an agreement Tuesday. Htoo Htoo Zaw, the manager of Cundall's partner in Burma the Shwe Taung Paw company, said it will be "the largest number of Spitfires in the world." A British embassy spokesman said that some will be displayed in Burma, but that he hoped many would be brought back to a flyable condition in the U.K.

At least one organization, the Boultbee Flight Academy in Britain that is dedicated to the Spitfire, said it was disappointed that it will not be involved in the recovery effort, and that it hopes some of the aircraft will be used to re-build ties between Britain and Burma. The British Embassy said that the project will give the U.K government an opportunity to work with the new reformist government in Burma.

The recovery effort is expected to get underway by the end of the month.

(Spitfire image from file)

FMI: www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/560558/Spitfire, www.boultbeeflightacademy.co.uk

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