Claridon Group to back Spitfire search in Burma

A Spitfire Mk XIV at Duxford (Photo Brian Proctor (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)).

A Spitfire Mk XIV at Duxford (Photo Brian Proctor (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)).

Press release: Global Logistics company Claridon Group Ltd have stepped in to save David Cundall’s project to locate buried Spitfires in Burma.  After 16 years of dedicating his life to the project as well as his life savings,  David is heading back to Burma to resume excavating and finding  the Spitfires.

Due to a lack of sponsorship earlier this year the project looked doomed. After hearing about David’s situation,  Claridon, stepped in to provide the funding to allow the project to continue. Claridon who’s HQ are located in Stanford-Le-Hope, Essex also have an office in Burma and are the first privately owned British company to set up there.

Chris Scott, Claridon Group’s MD said ” after meeting David and listening to how he has devoted a large part of his life as well as his  life savings trying to find  these iconic aircraft which played such a pivotal role in WW2, and seeing  his deep rooted passion for preserving part of our history & heritage for generations to come, we just had to get involved. David’s “never give up attitude” along with his incredible drive and devoting his life to the project deserves to   be applauded & supported throughout the country. Claridon Group  are proud to partner David and provide the funding to enable him and his team to find the Spitfires.   We will be supporting David every step of the way and look forward to bringing  the Spitfires back home for him.

David Cundall commented ” I am extremely grateful to Claridon for saving the project and providing the funding for the project to continue. Without their support, I wouldn’t be heading back to Burma to finish the work I started all those years ago. Being experts in Global Logistics as well their 20+ years experience in military logistics, the Spitfires could not be in better hands when they are eventually shipped  back to the UK ”

David Cundall estimates that restoring the Spitfires back to original will create 400 UK jobs over a 5 year period after which many of the aircraft will find homes in Museums up and down the country.

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    • John Guedel on December 4, 2013 at 1:07 AM
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    Bravo Claridon!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bravo David!!!!!!!!!!!! Go get ’em!!!!!!!!!

    • Ronnie Nattrass on June 9, 2015 at 1:41 AM
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    Good on you Claridon and David, stick to your guns David would love to be over there helping you. The most beautiful aircraft ever built what a man R.J.Mitchell was.

    • Richard Wood on November 7, 2015 at 6:38 AM
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    What about Mandalay airport?

    • G Hope on May 12, 2016 at 9:30 PM
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    Pointless exercise from the start, never any evidence a single aircraft ever buried. What on earth were Claridon thinking of sponsoring one man’s flight of fantasy?

    • Craig on October 26, 2016 at 11:08 AM
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    My grandfather was in Rangoon, and while he doesn’t like to talk about a lot of the things he saw in Burma – he does talk about the disposal effort that took place before they pulled out of the country (would have been around the end of 1947, I think).

    Quite some time ago, he wrote to a newspaper that had published an article about the hunt for the lost spitfires of Burma. His letter to the newspaper basically said (and I’m paraphrasing now) that “you might want to look in the Bay of Bengal, because that’s where I think we dumped them”. He never got a reply.

    He says that anything they couldn’t get out of the country was loaded onto boats in crates (Planes, weapons and even his own motorcycle). They were then taken about two hours out into the Bay of Bengal and pushed overboard at a location referred to as “The Trench”.

    Apparently It was large scale event, so enough people saw it happen.

    Although my grandfather can’t swear that the planes were spitfires, he said that you could clearly tell that the crates contained aircraft. He says that unlike everything else – the planes wouldn’t sink and they resorted to throwing hand grenades to try and get them to go down.

    Although there may well be spitfires buried in the ground, I find it sad that nobody has ever been interested in listening to a man that personally witnessed the sinking of aircraft from Burma at the end of the war – regardless of what kind of aircraft might have actually been in those crates.

    1. I understand your point of view, but I’ll be the devil’s advocate here: why contact a newspaper in such a case? They obviously have no interest in locating and recovering the aircraft. In addition, newspapers more than often are contacted by people with doubtful information. I’m not saying this is your grandfather’s case, but the newspaper’s staff would not be able to know.

      Perhaps contacting the man who’s actually trying to recover them would be a better choice. Even then, keep in mind that the Bay of Bengal is over 2 million square kilometers and extremely deep in most parts, so it would be impossible to search all of it (or even anything within two hours of Burma). A more precise location would be needed to even consider beginning to search for them. Even with such a location, aircraft or equipment that has been laying in saltwater for 7 decades are probably in very poor shape, and possibly not worth the cost and effort of recovery.

      You should consider putting your grandfather in contact with David Cundall or an aircraft recovery group that would be interested, and let them decide whether acting on his testimony is worth a shot. That’s what I would do in your position, for what it’s worth. 😉

    • Craig on October 26, 2016 at 1:40 PM
    • Reply

    Thanks for your reply and points well taken.

    To be honest, my personal comment about finding things “sad” was misplaced and not specifically (only) related to a letter that my grandfather sent to a newspaper. This just happened to be the point where I ‘vented’ a little. I’m sorry about that.

    My grandfather hasn’t been trying to instigate a deep sea search. He just read that people were paying a lot of money to dig big holes on land, and he believes that the things they are digging for (or perhaps some of it) might have been dumped in the deep blue sea before his eyes.

    All the best,

    1. You don’t need to apologize! 🙂

      I perfectly understand your point of view and I probably would have the same reaction as you do. As I said, I was being “the devil’s advocate”, something that I find useful to do to get a different perspective on people’s reactions.

      It is quite possible that Cundall or someone else would be interested in these facts. I don’t know what the current status of Cundall’s effort is, but I have the impression he has either given up or that he isn’t able to pursue.

      There is talk in the warbird community of a Turkish researcher trying to uncover up to 50 Fw 190 buried in Turkey, but what I’ve seen on the subject makes it seem very unlikely, much more so than Cundall’s quest.

        • Craig on October 26, 2016 at 5:25 PM
        • Reply

        Thanks. If I can find any contact details for David Cundall I’ll drop him a line. Even if he has been forced to give up his search, it might interest him to know that there were a lot of unknown aircraft in crates, which were dumped into the ocean around the end of 1947.

        As you say, trying to find them now would probably be impossible. The only thing my grandfather knows about the location is that it was referred to as The Trench. However, there are no references to this on modern maps (certainly not within a couple of hours or so by boat!),

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