Post by ngatimozart on May 11, 2012 20:28:51 GMT 12
I copied and pasted this because as slurker says link isn't working but got at it when was looking at another article.
It’s Spitfires at dawn in Burma
The hunt for valuable planes buried at the end of the Second World War is turning nasty.
By Neil Tweedie (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/neil-tweedie/) , and Victoria Ward 7:30AM BST 27 Apr 2012
This is a story of buried treasure, a map with X marking the spot and the race to recover untold riches. The treasure in this case is of the winged variety, some 60 Spitfires, maybe more, quite possibly in pristine condition, never flown in anger, interred in Burma at the end of the Second World War. There are only three dozen Spits in flying condition around the world, commanding prices of £1.5 million or more. So this is big money. And as with all tales of treasureseeking, there is mistrust, manoeuvring and bad blood.
The story begins in August 1945 as the irradiated ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still smouldered. The war against the Japanese in Burma, always something of a strategic sideshow, was suddenly truncated, leaving the British with vast quantities of war material too expensive to ship home. What to do, then, with some of the latest versions of the Spitfire, Griffon‐engined Mark XIVs, recently delivered and still in their crates? Wary of leaving high-performance aircraft in a country with an uncertain future, Britain’s South‐East Asia command decided to bury them. As many as 120 Spitfires, original cost about £12,000, may have been disposed of in this way. There they have lain for 67 years, protected by tar seals and grease, steadily accumulating in value, just waiting for someone to find them and dig them up.
“Spitfires were ten a penny in 1945,” says David Cundall. “You have to remember that we built more than 20,000 of them, and by the end of the war theywere nearing obsolescence, thanks to the advent of jets.”
Mr Cundall, 62, a farmer and aviation enthusiast from Lincolnshire, has devoted much of the past 16 years and a lot of money (“I stopped counting after £130,000”) to unearthing the Spitfires and restoring them to flying condition. The project has involved hundreds of hours of research and interviews and repeated visits to Burma, until very recently a pariah state run by a corrupt and very dangerous military regime.
“I had an AK47 pointed at me once,” says Mr Cundall, who has endured mosquitoes and jungle heat in his search for the aeroplanes, many of which were buried around the old British airfields at Myitkyina and Mingaladon. “There were also six non-crated Mark VIIIs,” says Mr Cundall. “They are very rare and I believe they were buried in a quarry.”
Then, in February, he finally struck gold. Geophysical returns combined with eyewitness testimony narrowed the search to specific points. But to get the aircraft out Mr Cundall needs money, about half a million pounds. That is where Steve Boultbee Brooks came in.
Mr Boultbee Brooks, 47, is a self‐confessed Spitfire lover and owner of a trainer version of the fighter. He is also very rich, the result of a career in property investing. In need of a backer, Mr Cundall approached Paul Beaver, a former defence journalist, now in public relations, who suggested Mr Boultbee Brooks. There was a meeting, an agreement in principle to proceed and a fairly rapid falling‐out. Mr Cundall was presented with a “memorandum of understanding”, which effectively placed his activities in Burma under the control of Mr Boultbee Brooks’s company, Spitfire Display Limited. Mr Boultbee Brooks then took off for Burma to lobby support from David Cameron, who was making a landmark visit to the country as part of its slow reintroduction into the international community. The Spitfire story provided Number 10 with a stirring example of future Anglo- Burmese co-operation. Cameron met with Boultbee Brooks and duly climbed on the bandwagon, waxing lyrical about Spitfires gracing the skies. The millionaire was also allowed a ride home on the prime ministerial jet. Mr Cundall says he knew nothing of the trip until contacted by Mr Boultbee Brooks from Burma. He was also appalled at the terms of the memorandum, calling them an insult.
“I had an hour with him [Boultbee Brooks]. He didn’t say yes, he didn’t say no. He had all the information he wanted to make up his mind. People tell me he was on television making claims that it is his project. Last Sunday he said if we didn’t come to an agreement, the Prime Minister would close the door. I can do it without Brooks, I can do it without anybody. I’ve been digging up aircraft for 35 years. I’ve pushed the boat out financially. I’ve struggled like hell to keep it going. I’ve dug up Burma before, and I don’t need them.” Mr Boultbee Brooks says he did inform Mr Cundall of the Burma visit in advance and that the memorandum did not represent a contract. “I totally see why he [Mr Cundall] could be rather annoyed,” says Mr Boultbee Brooks. “I see that the letter could be misunderstood. We have therefore gone to some great lengths to explain that to him. “We have got nothing against Mr Cundall. We do not want to push him off this team. We would love to be working with him, and we cannot understand how this wonderful situation is turning into such a ridiculous situation. It’s very sad.”
Mr Cundall has already moved on, however. He has secured new backing from an anonymous investor, who wants to buy all the Spitfires recovered from Burma. Under the deal, Mr Cundall and the Burmese government each net 40 per cent of the sale proceeds, while Mr Cundall’s agent in the country gets 20 per cent. “He [the backer] wants to buy all the aeroplanes,” says Mr Cundall. “He’s putting half a million pounds into the project for me to go over, dig them up, and I will then sell them to him. The Burmese have agreed to sell their share to him. My agents have agreed to sell their share to him, at a fair and reasonable price. Between £1.25 and £1.5 million.”
Undeterred, Mr Boultbee Brooks is proceeding with his own recovery project. “It is a massive project, and it is between two nations that haven’t traded for 50 years. We think it is an opportunity that just can’t be passed off: to bring these machines back to England and get them flying again. We train pilots to fly Spitfires, we train engineers to build them, so yes, we would love to. We will keep this project on the road.”
The race is on. Mr Cundall says he has given the millionaire detailed information about the whereabouts of aircraft so far detected, which should not be acted upon because it is his intellectual property. Mr Boultbee Brooks says: “I would dispute that we got the information [from Mr Cundall]. He didn’t pass anything across to me. He assured me that he had the information, and I’ve taken him at his word.” Time is running out. The monsoon breaks at the beginning of June and the ground in Burma will be so waterlogged as to be unworkable until the end of the year. A temporary holiday on sanctions against Burma means the recovery work should soon be deemed lawful. Mr Cundall is counting on his ties with the Burmese, cultivated over many years, to see him through. But Mr Boultbee Brooks is obviously not a man to back down at the first fence.
I have just heard that the guy who wants to dig for these spitfires has been given permission to do so by the Burmese Government can anybody update? Apparently it was in NZ Hearld today but I can not find it anywhere online?? Or as a chick would say you had a man look....
Burma's government has signed an agreement with Lincolnshire farmer and aviation enthusiast David Cundall to allow the excavation of dozens of rare Spitfire fighters which were buried in the country at the end of the Second World War.
There are only 35 Spitfires still flying around the world Photo: REX FEATURES By David Eimer in Bangkok 3:05PM BST 17 Oct 2012 16 Comments The historic find could total 60 of Britain's most iconic fighter plane, the largest number of Spitfires left anywhere in the world.
The deal comes after the personal intervention of David Cameron, who discussed bringing the planes home to the UK when he met Burma's President Thein Sein in April.
Revered as the plane that won the Battle of Britain in 1940, there are only 35 Spitfires still flying around the world.
With a price tag of £1.5 million or more each, Mr Cundall struck the aviation equivalent of a gold mine when he located the planes in February this year, almost 70 years after they were carefully greased and wrapped to preserve them, before being buried in crates.
"We estimate that there are at least 60 Spitfires buried and they are in good condition," said Mr Htoo Htoo Zaw, Mr Cundall's Burmese business partner.
Post by planecrazy on Oct 19, 2012 18:03:16 GMT 12
Just wondering if say 60 Spitfires make it to market will their value decrease. As in they are no longer as rare and therefore the price comes down? In theory I guess they would but am I a dreamer.............?
IF these aircraft can be recovered in their original wartime preventative grease-proof packing, which was very effective, then arguably they could be be restored to flying condition with considerably less expense than some of the airframes currently flying around the world.
Logic of supply and demand dictates that, if these aircraft were to be restored to flying status in any numbers, then they would be in huge demand which may or may not reduce the price somewhat! My guess is that , if they are virtually new, and original aircraft, then they could well occupy a niche market which would probably not impinge on the existing market.There would be a lot of people wanting to buy an on oiginal, unissued Spitfire.
I'll believe it when someone produces some evidence - ie current photographs - seeing as every report seems to be different - ie. between a dozen and 124 aircraft, in anywhere up to 5 different sites, some of which might be Hurricanes or Tempests, that were buried (COMPLETE AND CAREFULY PRESERVED) to deny them being used by a unstable regeme - sorry, but if I wanted to ensure them were not used by anyone, I wouldn't leave them where they could be dug up - a big bonfire would of been quicker and more final.....
"It’s taken 15 years, an international team of experts, political wrangling and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But the search for a squadron of British World War II fighter planes thought to be buried in Burma seems to have ended in disappointment as archaeologists involved in the search admitted that the planes probably don’t exist, reports the Daily Telegraph.
(MORE: The Regime’s Inner Reformist: Can Thein Sein Change Burma?)
British farmer David Cundall, who began the project after hearing a group of war veterans say that they helped bury Spitfires in Burma in 1945, said the archaeologists had been looking in the wrong place.
It was thought that as many as 140 Spitfires — many more than the number of airworthy models currently known to exist – were buried in crates 40ft below the ground in the last days of the war to make sure they didn’t fall into the wrong hands. Mr. Cundall had claimed that some of the aircraft could possibly even fly again, and compared his quest to the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
In addition to $200,000 of his own money, he managed to secure funding for the search from a Belarusian online gaming company and had to overcome acres of bureaucratic red tape. It took a meeting between Burmese President Thein Sein and British Prime Minister David Cameron to secure permission to dig for the planes underneath the former capital Rangoon’s international airport.
British 91-year-old war veteran Stanley Coombe, who says he witnessed the aircraft being buried near what is now the airport’s main runway, was on hand to watch the closing stages of the search, reports the Daily Mail. But a planned celebratory press conference was cancelled after the archaeologists said they had found no evidence of buried planes, while Burmese officials worried that continued digging could damage the runway. “Today has been a nightmare,” one team member told the Daily Mail.
Mr. Cundall will now look to other possible burial sites in the north of Burma, reports the Independent. Earlier this month, the search team found a wooden crate believed to contain one of the planes in the northern Kachin state, but it turned out to be full of muddy water."