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Busterbvi

BURMA SPITFIRE DIG STARTS JAN 5

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Hi Guys.

 

If anyone is interested in following the Burma Spitfire recovery operation, check out this blogg site link and add to your favorites.

 

The team leader, a Geophysicist from the Imperial College, London, Dr Adam Booth, will be blogging updates from the site.

 

Digging starts Jan 5.

 

Exciting stuff !

 

Cheers, Buster.

 

 

http://geolog.egu.eu/2012/12/19/a-story-of-spitfires-archaeological-geophysics-in-burma/


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There's still some things about that story that are a tad strange. Spitfires being buried in Burma to keep them out of the hands of the Japanese, in 1945? Still, it will be exiting to see what, if anything, they find.

Also somewhat odd this is being paid for by wargaming.net: http://na.wargaming.net/


John-Alan Pascoe

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Just another heads up on another good blog site for the Spitfire dig in Burma.

 

This one from Wargames the project financers.

 

Cheers, Buster

 

 

http://worldofwarplanes.com/en/blog/project-spitfire-blog


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There's still some things about that story that are a tad strange. Spitfires being buried in Burma to keep them out of the hands of the Japanese, in 1945?

 

Yes, that led to a lot of head scratching when the story first came out. The latest clarification is that the Spitfires arrived in Burma just after the Japanese surrender, and so were surplus to requirements. Why they were buried is another question. One conjecture, which rings true, is that the aircraft were no longer needed, but were not worth freighting back home. And as nobody had the authority to destroy them ( Government property and all that ), or the correct paperwork to send them elsewhere, they buried them intact so that the problem went away. I don't suppose anyone was bothered by that time - they just wanted to get on the first ship home.

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Good point. It may seem strange to us now, but in the context of the time it was a perfectly logical thing to do, and perhaps the only thing to do.

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I don't think we ever buried such things as large as tanks or aircraft for possible future reuse, did we,,,particularly ones that were becoming obsolete anyway ? And It sounds very unlikely as there is no guarantee that the burial locations would be accessible at a future date, especially if there had been a change of national government, or we no longer had any presence in the country anyway. If we had had to go back, I think we would have found empty packing cases lying around, and Spitfires with strange markings overhead, giving us a hard time.

 

Its not like pre-positioned equipment, to use the modern vernacular, where the gear is stored in an allied country, fully assembled, maintained and ready to run - such as US armour in West Germany during the Cold War.

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Thanks for the links... The cool level of this story is off the charts.

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The BBC today reports:

 

British experts looking for a cache of World War II Spitfire planes believed to be buried in Burma say they have discovered a crate. The team has lowered a camera into the crate in the Kachin state capital Myitkyina, but says muddy water has stopped them identifying the contents.

 

"Muddy water" sounds ominous in relation to the state of preservation..


Gerry Howard

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"Muddy water" sounds ominous in relation to the state of preservation..

 

Depends on the acidity or alkalinity of the water I suppose - which will in turn depend on the chemical composition of the surrounding earth. No big surprise that the crates are filled with water given that they're buried a tropical region.

 

I think there is an expectation that these aircraft are going to be in such good condition that they will require just a quick clean up, the wiring tested and away they'll go. Realistically we know that even if they are in near-perfect condition, each airframe will be subject to a complete strip down, examined for corrosion and damage, and then rebuilt from the wheels upwards, in accordance with all the regulations that cover any other Spitfire rebuild. These aren't crates of flyable Spitfires - they are, at best, crates of major restoration projects.

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I read somewhere that they are going to try and pump the water out of the crate in order to assess the contents. This lead me to wonder whether the water table might be high enough to put them in a "pumping against the tide" scenario. If each crate has to be pumped out this could add a lot to the time and budget needed to recover anything.

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This morning the BBC reports that

 

 

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...d-asia-21074699


Gerry Howard

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124? Spitfires for everyone!

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According the the BBC there are no Spitfires and the search has been called off.

 

Apology

 

Wargaming Ltd {the financers] said they now believe no Spitfires were delivered in crates and buried at RAF Mingaladon during 1945 and 1946.

 

The company said that archival records showed that the RAF unit that handled shipments through Rangoon docks only received 37 aircraft in total from three transport ships between 1945 and 1946.

 

Most of the Spitfires that were in Burma at the time appear to have been re-exported in the autumn of 1946, they said.


Gerry Howard

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