The new Battle of Burma: Find 20 buried Spitfires and make them fly

#2
I wonder how the metals have dealt with the humidity over the years. Anybody have an idea if the Spitfires would have been professionally "mothballed" in 1945, with grease etc.?
 
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#5
IMHO anything buried in the jungle will have since turned to worm food after all this time. I promise to be truely estatic if intact wooden crates are dug up complete with brand new Spitfires inside.
This reminds me of that documentary on the telly a few years ago. A group of Americans went up to the artic to recover ditched WW2 fighters/bombers, they naturally believed that the frozen environment had preserved the planes. Expecting to sweep the snow off fill the fuel tanks and then fly the planes back. The aircraft were discovered to have sunk under the ice to over a 100 feet. After a multi million pound effort bits a P38 Lightning were recovered the rest were crushed beyond safe recovery.
What chance of worthwhile recovery from the jungle?
 
#7
None as yet

BBC News, Spitfires in Burma 'could be found'
British and Burmese authorities could work together to find 20 Spitfires buried in Burma at the end of the World War II, officials say.

The case of the missing planes was raised when PM David Cameron met Burmese President Thein Sein.

A Downing Street source said it was "hoped this will be an opportunity to work with the reforming Burmese government".

The exact location of the planes is unknown.

The planes were buried in 1945 by the RAF amid fears that they could either be used or destroyed by Japanese forces, but in the intervening years they have not been located.

The Spitfire is arguably the most important plane in the history of aviation”
Downing Street

At the time they were unused, still in crates, and yet to be assembled.
BBC News - Spitfires in Burma 'could be found'
 
#8
I would imagine that a lot of effort will go into finding and rebuilding these ones. There was/is much debate as to what constitutes the difference between a replica and a restoration in warbird circles. These would be restorations, with all the kudos and value that goes with that tag.

Strange that this should feature on the same news prog that mentioned the collapse of the wine as investment market, anyone want to buy a new Spitfire, one owner, low mileage, going cheap?
 
#9
Good luck to them, but I doubt they are going to find anything other than aluminium oxide dust. IIRC it was SOP to run trucks or bulldozers over aircraft scrap, just in order to compact it for convenient burying....
 
#11
They're underneath the apron at Yambon International Airport.

This search has been going on for over 14 years to my knowledge and has also involved "interested parties" in Israel...

Folks have been using post-delivery air photography taken by the RAF of the former RAF Mingaladon airfield and comparing it with modern "overhead". The key suspect location is, as I said above, under the main terminal apron...
 
#12
A thought occurred to me, when Coppola filmed 'Apocolypse Now' the aircraft he assembled was the fifth largest in the world. Now ignoring everything else, condition, location, etc. If someone like Abramovich, rolls up and says 'Here's lots of cash, fuel them up I'll take them now.' Where would he rank in the world air force league table?

It has to be more fun than a football club, and cheaper too.
 
#13
Sounds like crap to me. By 1945 the Japs were on their last legs in Burma. The chances of them capturing an airfield were remote and even if they did they'd have as much chance of flying the Spits as the typical British brigade of today would have of finding twenty fast jet pilots in its ranks. As for destroying them, so what? The RAF should have been switching over to Mustang production from 1943 anyway. The Spitfire had the operational radius of a pissed pelican and never did anything useful in the offensive role.

Massive numbers of lend-lease aircraft were disposed of in SEA in 1945. They were craned onto RN escort carriers, taken a few miles out to sea and pushed over the side. Job done. Can you imagine RAF ground crew digging a bloody great trench in the tropical sun just to carefully lower some untouched Spitfires into it and then carefully cover them up again? "Eh, Ernie, bet our great grandchildren are going to be really chuffed when they find this lot, hey?"

"Reet enough, Joe. And I'm leaving them some V for Victory fags and soya links as a special treat."

Somebody will be re-loading the Goon Show eventually and reporting that the 3rd Imperial Armoured Thunderbox Regiment is still fighting the Japs on the road to Mandalay.
 
#15
Bad reporting. They were ordered buried to prevent them, or parts of them, falling into the hands of a foreign power.

Naebody, save the reporter chappy, said owt about Japan.
 
#17
Mk2 Spitfires 'straight off the production line' in 1945?
The only theory I had on that was they were in storage in the UK and sent to make up numbers; the far east seemed to get all the clutter off the Q bloke's shelf. Must have been a bit like a permanent fire at Donnington.

Mind you, they did get Bomb. Atomic. Mk1. Before anybody else. Plus a spare.
 
#20
An interesting story whatever the facts actually are about the condition of these aircraft. It's also a good excuse to start building some serious bridges with Burma or Myanmar as they want to be known now. There could be immense diplomatic value in this both from a goverment point of view and also from a British public perception point of view particularly for Myanmar. The riots and the killings that took place over there which highlighted the kind of regime it has been in the past are not that long ago.