Idea of Spitfires being buried in Burma supported by Scunthorpe veteran of war in Far East
A WAR veteran has backed the search for dozens of Spitfires in Burma, after serving on the base where they are believed to have been buried.
Stanley Ross, 87, of Scunthorpe, was stationed at Mingaladon airfield in the south-east Asian country, from 1945 to 1947.
Mr Ross served as a warrant officer in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC).
He was responsible for the vehicle park next to the airfield during the Japanese surrender.
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He spoke after Isle of Axholme farmer David Cundall flew to Burma earlier this month, to search for dozens of Spitfire planes thought to have been buried in 1945.
Mr Cundall believes Lord Mountbatten ordered the unused, unassembled planes to be buried at the airfield and has spent 17 years researching the project.
Mr Ross said: "The RAF lads on the base used to mix together with us quite a lot.
"It was mostly Dakota planes that I saw there, but as the war finished there were more Spitfires.
"The base was very basic and we lived in tents with the airfield one side and vehicle park the other side.
"I had never seen or heard anything to do with buried Spitfires until reading about this chap a short time ago.
"All the newer vehicles that were left over were shipped to Singapore and lots of the older ones were put together and sold at auction.
"If they are buried there, it will have been a very well- kept secret because none of the RAF lads we knew ever said a word about it."
Mr Cundall believes 36 aircraft may lie under the airfield and is "confident" of finding them.
His excavation team includes archaeologists, scientists and researchers from the University of Leeds.
Mr Ross said he felt the team did have a chance of finding the buried planes.
He said: "It is quite possible that they are there and they would be in a lot of large crates, I would imagine.
"It is hard to tell how well they will have lasted though.
"When the monsoons came, you were wet through the entire time and there was no escaping it.
"We even had to dig monsoon trenches."
Mr Ross also has memories of seeing Allied prisoners of war returning from liberated camps during the Japanese surrender.
He said: "You wept as you saw the prisoners of war coming through Rangoon.
"They were skin and bone and many had to be kept in hospital until they were strong enough to return home.
"It was not very nice to see at all when prisoners were liberated. It brought tears to your eyes when you saw how badly some of them had been treated."