Archaeologists believe no Spitfires buried in Burma

 

The site at Rangoon airport is one of three that David Cundall (left) believes holds buried Spitfire planes

The site at Rangoon airport is one of three that David Cundall (left) believes holds buried Spitfire planes

Archaeologists hunting for World War II Spitfires in Burma believe there are no planes buried at the sites where they have been digging, the BBC understands.

The archaeologists have concluded that evidence does not support the original claim that as many as 124 Spitfires were buried at the end of the war, the BBC’s Fergal Keane reports.

Wargaming.net, the firm financing the dig, has also said there are no planes.

But project leader David Cundall says they are looking in the wrong place.

He told the BBC that he still believes Spitfires are buried at Rangoon airport and other sites.

An initial survey of the site began in early January, with excavations due to begin after that.

A scheduled press conference was cancelled on Friday morning by Wargaming Ltd, with a spokesman saying he hoped to give more details later.

When pressed, the spokesman said there are no Spitfires, our correspondent says.

Muddy waters

David Cundall has spent the last 17 years trying to discover the truth of claims that unused, unassembled Spitfires were 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.

He has collected eyewitness accounts from American and British service personnel as well as local people.

One of them, British veteran Stanley Coombe, had travelled to Burma to witness the excavation.

The dig got the go ahead after it secured funding from Belarusian video games firm Wargaming.net, and received permission from Burmese President Thein Sein during a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron last year.

Mr Cundall maintains that as many as 124 Spitfires are buried in sites around Burma.

Prior to the dig, 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.

Earlier this month, a crate was discovered in the Kachin state capital Myitkyina, but muddy water stopped an immediate identification of its contents.

The central city of Meiktila was another site identified as a possible burial ground for the Spitfires.

 

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