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Kallie Szczepanski

The British Farmer and the Lost Spitfires

By January 26, 2013

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The Spitfire single-seater fighter aircraft was used by the Royal Air Force in World War II.

It's a quixotic tale. A farmer and aircraft enthusiast from Lincolnshire, UK, believes that the British Royal Air Force (RAF) buried dozens of Spitfire fighter planes in Burma (now Myanmar) during World War II, to keep them out of the hands of the advancing Japanese Imperial Army. The farmer, David Cundall, has spent the past sixteen years and hundreds of thousands of dollars searching for the lost Spitfires.

In 1942, Japan attacked the British colony of Burma, hoping to drive through into neighboring British India. Had India fallen, it would have been a major blow to the Allied war effort, but after quickly routing the British from Rangoon (Yangon), the Japanese advance stalled in the mountains of northern Burma.

Cundall believes that the British, before they evacuated, buried at least 36 Spitfires, still in the crates, around the Rangoon airport. Recent archaeological excavations, however, have revealed no such crated aircraft. The British farmer vows to continue his quest for the lost Spitfires nonetheless.

Photo by Antony Shepherd on Flickr.com.

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