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Spitfires on their way home?

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Welshboy18/10/2012 06:53:22
59 forum posts

Just caught this on the radio yesterday. Upto 60 may be recovered.

Edited By Steve Hargreaves - Moderator on 18/10/2012 09:22:49

Jon Laughton18/10/2012 07:41:25
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1175 forum posts
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Fingers crossed! I hope that they film the recovery and opening of these crates and that we are not too disappointed...

Greybeard18/10/2012 07:48:58
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726 forum posts
6 photos

A story to be followed closely, I pleased that progress is being made.

Steve Hargreaves - Moderator18/10/2012 09:32:30
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Yes we had a chat about this a while ago see here

Seems the guy who found them (a Lincolnshire farmer) after doing all the detective work fell out with his partner about who "owned" the rights to them & this has now been resolved...in his favour...

Might we see Tony Robinson getting all excited about some blotchy "Geophys" picture on Channel 4 soon I wonder....."The Big Spitfire Dig"...wink 2

As & when they do dig them up it will be really interesting to see what condition they are in.....the articles I have read talk about them being carefully greased & wrapped in waxed papers etc before burial....which sounds odd if they just simply wanted to get rid of them..... 70 years in a hole in the ground in a jungle has got to have taken a serious toll on the airframes no matter how well they were prepared I would think.

It will be very interesting whatever happens.....

Greybeard18/10/2012 10:09:38
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I suspect that the components would have been carefully protected within their crates because of the long sea journey that they underwent to get where they are. Other than that I imaging they were buried without any particular care being taken; I look forward to being proved wrong.

As an aside I once watched whilst a number of Dakotas and B25’s were buried in Saudi Arabia, they were just pushed into a hole by a guy in a bulldozer who then trundled back and forth until they were nice and flat. I hope the same bloke didn’t bury the Spits.

Simon Chaddock18/10/2012 10:41:38
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5442 forum posts
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I suppose the question is why they were 'buried' in the first place.

If they were just being disposed of still in their transit boxes then burying with a bulldozer might be expected. The transit boxes were intended to protect the contents rather than survive long term.

If they were being buried to stop them falling into the wrong hands then there might have been a case for a bit more care but would you really go to the trouble of additional long term protection unless there was a realistic possibility of them being reused, like the planes stored in the desert in the US.

Unless that part of Burma in which they are buried has very low humidity and rainfall it is difficult to imagine they will not be seriously corroded.

We can hope!

Aky20818/10/2012 18:30:14
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151 forum posts
33 photos

As much of a worthy cause this is, I would think that it is just a load of rotten wood and rust

Would be nice to be proved wrong though!!

buster prop18/10/2012 21:25:37
464 forum posts
9 photos

I read about this in this mornings' 'Times' on page 4. The Spitfires had been shipped out from the UK factory (Castle Bromwich) protected from corrosion and in crates. They arrived in Burma just too late for WW2 so rather than ship them home again the War Office decided to bury them, still in their crates and with factory protection from corrosion. This was because Burma (now Myanmar) was thought to be an unstable place for new and useful aircraft to be left in. Ironically, a year or two later airforces were buying up ex-RAF Spitfires! Apparently they are Griffon engined Mk XIV's and have been located by ground penetrating radar and some of the crates have been looked into by camera. If they are still good, brand new Spitfires this would be a sensational discovery. We've only just heard about it because they are obviously valuable at £2M+ a pop and there may be 128 buried at three sites, so necgotiations about ownership and distribution of the proceeds has been going on. The discoverers must be satisfied that they are in good enough condition to warrant negotiations.

Aky20818/10/2012 23:45:10
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151 forum posts
33 photos

Hopefully! The skies are a bit too empty of spitfires.

Daithi O Buitigh19/10/2012 16:56:00
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1356 forum posts
49 photos

In the original reports it said that the crates were buried in pits which were then 'roofed' with logs of mahogany, As they were still in the crates, everything would have been coated with Cosmolene and the Griffons would have been inhibited (lanolin squirted in the fuel line, engine turned and then left so that the lanolin dried on the moving bits).

If I recall, David Cameron was negotiating the return of some (with some being handed over to the Burmese government

Just on a side note - G-HURI (a Packard 29 engined Canadian built Mk XII Hurricane is going up for auction in December at Brooklands (anybody got a spare couple of million?)

Dale Gibson19/10/2012 18:02:14
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123 forum posts
26 photos

Let's just hope that whatever they find and whatever the condition we don't give it all away. I'm following this with a great deal of interest and although some reports seem far too good to be true....I'm keeping my fingers firmly crossed.

Dale

Tom Sharp 219/10/2012 20:26:36
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3523 forum posts
18 photos

Existing flying Spitfires can't get enough demonstation slots to earn enough money to maintain their upkeep never mind more appearing on the circuit.

Daithi O Buitigh20/10/2012 00:05:57
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1356 forum posts
49 photos

Here's the latest info on the Burma Spitfires. They expect to start at the end of this month to retrieve them (they now reckon there are 60 Mk XIVs there)

If even 50 of them get back here the government will probably sell them off at 2 million a time - they'll probably spend that on more US imports

Edited By Daithi O Buitigh on 20/10/2012 00:09:06

bouncebounce crunch20/10/2012 00:22:39
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1739 forum posts
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Where are all the men or women that helped dig the holes for them and why none have come forward to say they knew about it?

Greybeard20/10/2012 08:03:09
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Posted by Tom Sharp 2 on 19/10/2012 20:26:36:

Existing flying Spitfires can't get enough demonstation slots to earn enough money to maintain their upkeep never mind more appearing on the circuit.

Does that mean I can have one? surprise

Tom Sharp 220/10/2012 22:39:51
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3523 forum posts
18 photos
Posted by Greybeard on 20/10/2012 08:03:09:
Posted by Tom Sharp 2 on 19/10/2012 20:26:36:

Existing flying Spitfires can't get enough demonstation slots to earn enough money to maintain their upkeep never mind more appearing on the circuit.

Does that mean I can have one? surprise

Not until I get Mine.smiley

Daithi O Buitigh20/10/2012 22:42:44
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1356 forum posts
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Remember the holes were dug almost 70 years ago and a lot of jungle has sprouted since (plus the fact that memory dims and no-one would be able to point to the right spot with any degree of certainty and also that a lot of Burmese would have been doing a lot of the heavy digging and lifting)

Edited By Daithi O Buitigh on 20/10/2012 22:43:33

bouncebounce crunch20/10/2012 22:46:52
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1739 forum posts
212 photos

Even 20 years after burying them, If I were in any way involved i would have been back there to get some bounty to better my living standards and add to my retirement fund, so I am wondering why not one person has come forward at all.

Edited By bouncebouncecrunch on 20/10/2012 22:47:21

Daithi O Buitigh20/10/2012 23:48:14
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1356 forum posts
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I supose the fact that in 1945 (when they were buried) Burma was part of British India - by 1947 it was independant and they wouldn't have been too happy about people arriving to dig stuff up again in 1965.

Also keep in mind that late mark Spitfires were still in service with the RAF Temperature and Humidity Flightup until 1957 (PR XIX) with the last operational flight in Malaya (Mk XXIV) in 1954

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