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Dozen or more Spitfires to be un-earthed in Burma

Discussion in 'Everything Else Heritage' started by Sheff, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    Can't believe there isn't a thread for this, but I've not managed to un-earth one, unlike this guy who's hoping to dig up crates containing between 12 and 20 Spits straight of the Castle Bromwich production lines!

    British farmer’s quest to find lost Spitfires in Burma - Telegraph

    Can you imagine say ten to a dozen effectively brand new Spits at an air show??
     
  2. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    As with all the previous "buried .............. (insert name of WW2 aircraft here)" stories, I'll believe it when the first crate emerges from the ground.
     
  3. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    "It's being so cheerful as keeps me going"

    You'll be telling me next that there's no strategic reserve of 8F's ;)
     
  4. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Of course there isn't, the strategic reserve is all WDs. :)

    All joking aside, I hope that at least one Spitfire emerges but I'm baffled as to why anybody would order them buried.
     
  5. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

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    An acquaintance of mine insisted that it consisted entirely of black Granges!

    Apparently these Spits were ordered buried as they were still in their packing crates and with the Japanese army advancing the engineers didn't want to let them fall into enemy hands but didn't have time to make them/transport them out. I've read elsewhere that the belief is that they are all 40' down, having been buried at the bottom of already deep shell craters. Carefully covered in preserving materials - oils and tars and suchlike - they also had heavy beams put across the top of the crates so as not to have them crushed by the earth atop them. Sounds a bit like a Warbird geeks wetdream, so like you I'll truly believe it when I see it, but here's hoping!

    I wish that this had come to light a few years ago. My Great Grandfather who died in 2008 had served as an Armourer/Fitter on Spits in Burma, and every christmas each section would use the crates of the spitfires it had made in the year to make something - a Castle, a Ship - and the winning section got a bottle of Scotch off the Camp Commander! He may have been involved in it, for all I know.

    The other story he told me (sorry, I'll get back on topic in a minute) is that the commander had a female Great Dane - and his 2IC a male Jack Russell. When the Great Dane came on heat, they apparently made a little box for the little chap to stand on! I would have loved to have seen what the puppies looked like...
     
  6. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    It was said that they were to be converted to the marine version to be used on this new aircraft carrier in place of the US aircraft that were not to the correct spec.....
     
  7. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    After 70 years underground what state are they going to be in...? Burma after all is rain forest... They will have had a 70 year soaking... We all know what a Barry wreck looks like without the wet soil..and only 40 years exposure.

    A few years back a specially prepped, waterproofed US car was unburied from its purpose made time capsule that it was placed in 50 years earlier... It was a rusted mess.
     
  8. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    What I don't get about this story is that by the time these Mk.XIV Spitfires arrived in the Burma theatre of war the Japanese were all but defeated and not advancing anywhere.
    Also why would the RAF transport aircraft in crates over hundreds of miles of difficult terrain instead of assembling them at maintenance units well away from the fighting and flying them to where they were wanted as per standard procedure?
    Finally, to stop materiel that couldn't fly, drive or sail away from falling into enemy hands it was normal for it to be destroyed. Burying it carefully preserved would give the enemy every chance to retrieve it.
    I'd love this story to be true but after so many other tales of buried aircraft that have failed to result in a single airframe being discovered, I'll not get excited about this one until the first one sees the light of day.
     
  9. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Who told you that? Major differences structural and otherwise between a Spitfire XIV and a contemporary Seafire. Powerplants and propellers were different too. Reckon this particular tail is a load of hogwash.
     
  10. guard_jamie

    guard_jamie New Member

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    All fair points. As I noted in my comments, they are 'what I read', and I don't pretend they are the truth. As I said, I'll believe it when I see it!

    ADB968008 - Burma does have a fair amount of dry desert region too, so who knows...?
     
  11. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    A friend of mine restores and flies Spitfires and he's even more sceptical than I am.
     
  12. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Apparently the supposed burial site is at Rangoon/Yangon airport.

    Whilst I would also like the story to turn out to be true, none of the 'information' really make much sense to me ...
     
  13. Sheff

    Sheff Well-Known Member

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    And there's me thinking Ralph was having an ironic dig at the current carrier fiasco ;)
     
  14. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    Maybe that's why Cameron got involved... He's going to convert them for use on the new carrier.
    Maybe the LNERCA should get a claim in on those teak planks covering them :)
     
  15. martin butler

    martin butler Member

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    If this was true, then the airframes would have been dug up for scrap years ago, i think its just wishfull thinking, Some aircraft do turn up from time to time, mostly ones that were taken behind what was the iron curtain and earmarked for museums but never got there.

    And even if it was true,the damp would have long ago destroyed much of what had been burried there are still plenty of airframes in crates waiting to be rebuilt as it is, most of the doug arnauld collection is still crated up somwwhere
     
  16. RalphW

    RalphW Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    :rolleyes1: Moi..... Irony......
     
  17. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    In that case they could have been delivered by water transport following the fall of Rangoon and the clearing of mines from the Irrawaddy.
    Still doesn't make sense though as by this time the fighting in Burma was all but over and the Allies were preparing for the invasion of Malaya - rendered unnecessary by the atomic bombs - so why would you bury aircraft that would have been vital to any planned invasion?
     
  18. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    exactly ... and if they were surplus they would not be buried carefully, they would most likely be bulldozed into a convenient ditch and mashed down with the bulldozer to make sure they were beyond use.
     
  19. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205207770
    ROYAL AIR FORCE OPERATIONS IN THE FAR EAST, 1941-1945. | Imperial War Museums

    Lovely picture, but confirms my belief that place is quite wet.

    Looking on google maps at the airport.. You can see several large swamps around the airport.
    amazing story in that it happened, but flight worthy spitfires being recovered... A bit remote... Decaying box of bits, a Nat geo tv program and a grateful museum is more likely... Something to inspire kids to hunt for in the future.. As most pirate treasure seems to have been recovered :)
     
  20. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Nat Pres stalwart

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    It could be wet alright as my Dad found out when he got posted to XIV Army.
     

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