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Spitfires Lost During ‘WWII’ Mission Found In Burma

04/18/2012 08:25 PM ET

Spitfires Lost During ‘WWII’ Mission Found In Burma - Twenty British WWII fighter planes known as Spitfires were buried during the war under 40 feet of soil and lost until they were found in Burma. Now after the 15 year search to locate the planes, British Prime Minister David Cameron has stepped in to deal with the diplomatic diplomacy to get the lost warplanes returned to England.

Cameron will meet Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy campaigner held under house arrest for 22 years by the military regime, after inviting her to visit London. It’s her first trip abroad in more than 24 years.

He also called on Europe to suspend its ban on trade with Burma now that it was showing “prospects for change” following Miss Suu Kyi’s election to parliament in a sweeping electoral victory earlier this year. The actions of Cameron were part of a deal to secure the return of the planes.

Remarkably it wasn’t any sophisticated research team with expansive equipment that was looking for and eventually found the planes but rather a farmer with some radar equipment that spent his savings and 15 years trying to find them.

The daily telegraph reports that, “David Cundall, 62, a farmer from Scunthorpe, North Lincs, located the planes at a former Royal Air Force base using radar-imaging technology after a 15-year search that cost him more than $207,000 and involved 12 trips to Myanmar.”

The reason the planes were buried to begin with was to hide them from the Japanese when it was feared they would soon occupy the nation of Burma. Cundall says there is only about 35 spitfires left today in running condition and even know they have been buried for several decades the 20 in Burma should be in near perfect condition.

“They were just buried there in transport crates,” Cundall said. “They were waxed, wrapped in greased paper and their joints tarred. They will be in near perfect condition.”


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