David Cundall revealed that he has received permission for the second time from the Burmese government, allowing him to continue his search for a squadron of Spitfires that is buried in Burma.
This is the latest installment in a 20-year struggle involving a lot of red tape, the loss of financial backing, lengthy delays, skeptics, and competition for the right to dig for the aircraft at the Yangon International Airport, formerly the RAF Mingaladon.
The Lincolnshire farmer declared four years ago that he had determined the location of the cache of planes after sixteen years of searching. His contract to dig for the planes expired before he could overcome the numerous issues plaguing his project.
He believes the planes were buried at the airport at the end of World War II and claims to have evidence to prove it. He has spent thousands of pounds of his own money over two years and has flown back and forth to Burma to negotiate the right to renew his contract.
Now, he has confirmed that he once again has the right to unearth the historic planes, saying:
“The Spitfire project is all mine now and I can confirm that it is going to happen and it will happen this year. It has been a long struggle. I can’t believe that the project is finally mine – I am over the moon. So many times it seemed I was so close to losing the quest after all the years of hard work to prove where the Spitfires were buried.
“To think that I’m now closer than ever to seeing these wonderful, iconic planes brought back to the surface so that I can, if their condition permits, restore them to their former glory is just unbelievable.”
He added: “Some of the damaging statements made about the Spitfire project were from people who are members or supporters of other groups, trying to derail the Spitfire project and get permission to dig the Spitfires up for themselves. There have even been personal attacks on my family, and myself, which have also come from people I have never met.”
“My team has overwhelming evidence that we have found something. We plan to go back to Burma and hopefully bring the lost squadron of Spitfires back to the UK where they belong. This should generate jobs to those who have no jobs and give them prosperity all being that it is now four years late.”
Part of his success lies in depending upon a Harrogate-firm that uses X-ray-style satellites in space to confirm that the planes are definitely where he believes them to be.
Cundall also has recently-declassified documents and eyewitness accounts to bolster his claim. The Spitfires were too costly to ship home and too dangerous to allow to fall into enemy hands, so they were buried at the end of the wall.
He wants to display one in Birmingham, where they were built.