Setback in search for WW2 Spitfires lost in jungle after archaeologists say the planes were never taken to Burma in the first place
Archeologists spent nearly two weeks trying to find 37 unused spitfires in the jungle
They were thought to have been delivered to Mingaladon, no Yangon international AirportIt now isn't clear if they were ever sent to the country
02:00 GMT, 16 February 2013
07:54 GMT, 16 February 2013
A hunt for dozens of Second World War Spitfires thought to have been buried in the Burmese jungle has proved fruitless.
Last month, archaeologists spent nearly two weeks trying to unearth unused unassembled aircraft which they believed were packed into crates and buried by the RAF in 1945.
But they failed to find any Spitfires at RAF Mingaladon, now Yangon International Airport.
Archeologists spent two weeks hunting for the spitfire planes in the Burmese jungle
The aircraft were thought to have been delivered to Mangaladon Airport during World War II
Some 36 planes were thought to be lying undiscovered in Mingaladon – one of three potential locations in the country – with as many as 124 buried in total.
But Wargaming Ltd, who were funding the project, today said they believe no Spitfires were delivered in crates and buried at RAF Mingaladon during 1945 and 1946.
The company said that archival records showed that the RAF unit that handled shipments through Rangoon docks only received 37 aircraft in total from three transport ships between 1945 and 1946.
None of the crates contained Spitfires and most appear to have been re-exported in the autumn of 1946, they said.
Evidence also pointed to appalling weather conditions leaving a shortage of equipment, timber and labour at Mingaladon around the time meaning it would have been impossible for the RAF to bury aircraft 30ft deep in wooden crates even if it wanted to, according to Wargaming.
Wing Commander Robert Stanford-Tuck, with Hawker Hurricanes for film Battle of Britain in 1968
Tracy Spaight, Wargaming's director of
special projects, said: 'No-one would have been more delighted than our
team had we found Spitfires.
'We knew the risks going in, as our
team had spent many weeks in the archives and had not found any evidence
to support the claim of buried Spitfires.
'However, the team's assessment was that even if there were no crated Spitfires, parts of Spitfires or other aircraft might well have been found, since Mingaladon was a major airfield occupied by three different air force and hundreds of service people during World War Two.
'Had Spitfires been found we were equipped to recover them using the best available technical expertise. And we would have done the work to the same high ethical and archaeological standards which we brought to the rest of the project.'