Twenty “lost” Spitfires that were buried in Burma during the Second World War could return to the skies.
Prime Minister David Cameron and Burmese president Thein Sein recently agreed to work together to find and restore the historic aircraft as part of a thaw in relations.
Amateur aviation enthusiasts uncovered evidence of the Spitfires’ existence years ago, but have been unable to gain access to their potential locations. The latest discovery was made in February by David Cundall, 62, a British farmer and patriot who spent 15 years – and a lot of money – searching for the missing aircraft.
Since then, Cameron has stepped in to resolve political and trade entanglements that might have prevented their return. It’s believed the 20 planes will be in near perfect condition as they were buried in their shipping containers waxed, wrapped in greased paper, and with their joints tarred.
British statesman Earl Mountbatten had ordered the RAF to bury the Spitfires in 1945 amid fears they could be either used or destroyed by Japanese forces. Within weeks, the atom bomb was dropped to end the conflict, and the brand new planes – which were in crates and yet to be assembled – were seemingly forgotten.
Around 21,000 Spitfires were built during the war effort but only 35 are believed to be in flying condition today.