While not a GIjOE article per se, this story is guaranteed to warm the hearts of all…
The Spitfire is considered by most aviation and military experts to be one of the most perfect airplanes ever built. It’s streamlined fuselage and elegant wing design are superb examples of aircraft engineering artistry at its very finest. It’s deadly nimble in the air and stunningly beautiful from any angle. The Spitfire’s unique silhouette has inspired the creation of countless TV shows, movies, documentaries, model kits, paintings and toys; each spin-off as popular as the next.
However, for over 67 years, ever since the end of WW2, the remaining number of serviceable, airworthy Spitfires has steadily dwindled, reaching today’s all-time low of just 35 planes worldwide.
Fortunately, for fans of the beloved “Spits,” however, the number of available planes is about to almost double, due to the recent astounding discovery of 20 additional aircraft found buried 40-feet underground in Burma. The vintage fighter planes should be in perfect and NOS (New, Old-Stock) condition, having never been un-crated or flown during the war.
Apparently, the planes were buried towards the end of the war because they had become obsolete and the Allies didn’t want them to fall into the hands of the Japanese. Of course, enthusiasts of WW2 “Warbirds,” military history buffs and action figure collectors are all equally excited about this stunning discovery, especially after learning that yes, the buried planes were still INSIDE their shipping crates, tarred, lubed and sealed up tight.
We have one man to thank for all of this wonderful news—David Cundall, a 62 year-old UK farmer from Scunthorpe. Using radar imaging technology, Cundall spent 15 years searching for the Spitfires, spending over £130,000 of his own money. Now THAT’S dedication. According to Cundall in an article in the UK’s Telegraph:
“I’m only a small farmer, I’m not a multi-millionaire and it has been a struggle. It took me more than 15 years but I finally found them. Spitfires are beautiful aeroplanes and should not be rotting away in a foreign land. They saved our neck in the Battle of Britain and they should be preserved. They were just buried transport crates. They were waxed, wrapped in greased paper and their joints tarred. They will be in near perfect condition. It’s been a financial nightmare but hopefully I’ll get my money back. My dream is to have a flying squadron at air shows.”
Bottom Line: Here at The Joe Report, we’re big fans of vintage, WW2 Warbirds. Our deepest thanks, congratulations and best wishes go out to Mr. Cundall for his amazing acheivement. Surely, as his 20 Spitfires are recovered, documentaries will be made and interest in the plane’s role in the Battle of Britain and WW2 will continue to grow. Perhaps we’ll even see the creation of additional RAF-inspired uniform sets!