David Cundall flies out to dig for Spifires 'buried in Burma jungle'
An Isle of Axholme farmer is flying to Burma today to lead a search for dozens of Spitfire planes thought to have been buried in the jungle at the end of the Second World War.
David Cundall, 63, has spent 17 years and thousands of pounds researching the project.
The aircraft enthusiast believes Lord Mountbatten ordered the unused, unassembled planes to be buried in 1945.
Excavation work at the Mingaladon airfield is due to begin on Monday, with a team of around 17 people flying out for the dig.
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Mr Cundall says 36 aircraft may lie under the airfield and he is "confident" of finding them. A total of 124 Spitfires may be buried at sites throughout Burma.
His team includes archaeologists, scientists and researchers from the University of Leeds.
Mr Cundall wants to return the planes to Britain for restoration to allow them to be flown again.
He said: "I think this is on the same level as the Tutankhamun find in Egypt.
"If we're successful, I'd like to repeat what archaeologist Howard Carter said then. Lord Carnarvon asked: ’Can you see anything?’, and he replied: ’Yes, wonderful things’.
"There’s lot of rumours about why they were buried but the common theory is that they were buried after the war – in August and December 1945 – because they were surplus to requirements. Somebody gave the order, let’s dig a hole and let’s bury them.
"They will be restored to flying condition and hopefully they’ll be flying in about three years’ time at air shows, and promoting British industry as well."
Gaming website Wargaming.net is providing financial support for the hunt, which it is hoped will unearth the first Spitfire in about two weeks.