WYG historical expert to participate in hunt for ‘lost’ Spitfires


Date: 2 January 2013

WYG historical expert to participate in hunt for ‘lost’ Spitfires

WYG’s Martin Brown, is joining an historic project to locate and excavate a number of World War II spitfires allegedly buried at the end of the war because they were surplus to requirements.

It’s taken UK aircraft enthusiast, David Cundall, more than 14 years to survey potential sites and to secure permission from the government in Burma/Myanmar and backing from computer gaming company, Wargaming.net, before any excavation work could begin.

Acknowledged as an expert in his field which includes the history of World War II, Martin will be one of the team starting work in January. Based on its knowledge of Mingaladon Airfield 1942-1945, the team will identify the most promising sites, and ensure that any discoveries are correctly identified and that accurate records are maintained throughout the excavation.

According to witnesses the aircraft, which originated from Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands, were transported to the Far East theatre in preparation for Operation Zipper, the reconquest of Malaysia. When the war against the Japanese in Burma/Myanmar came to an abrupt end, the planes were no longer needed and were struck off charge. David Cundall believes that many of them were buried in their original shipping containers.

Martin Brown said: “This is a remarkable project that will test a legend from the Second World War and potentially shed more light on the role of the Royal Air Force during the War. I am very excited about playing a part in such a unique opportunity.”

It is acknowledged that the project may not find any spitfires but evidence of the conflict will almost certainly be uncovered. At the very least, it will put an end to many decades of speculation and rumour.

If the hardware has survived as well as Mr Cundall believes, the intention is to restore the aircraft to operating condition. As well as flying at air shows, there are also rumours of interest from British businesses keen to explore potential branding opportunities. If all goes well, after excavation and restoration, the British public could be seeing more spitfires in the air within as little as two or three years.


Notes to Editors

1. About WYG

WYG is an established global management and technical consultancy to the built and natural environment that collaborates with clients in over 40 countries to help them realise their corporate and project ambitions. A top 15 European consultancy and employing more than 1,400 people around the world, WYG has the expertise for every stage of a project’s life-cycle from planning and design to building and completion.

WYG takes enormous pride in the work it does and has been recognised with several prestigious industry awards including: ROSPA Gold Medal Award 2012; Institution of Structural Engineers (Lancashire & Cheshire Branch) ‘Best Large Project in the North West’ and Concrete Society sustainability awards 2012 for Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Student Hub & Business School; S-Lab ‘Best Student Accommodation’ and Your Move Property ‘Best New Laboratory Building’ awards 2012 for University of Liverpool, Vine Court.

Official website: www.wyg.com
Media pack

2. About Wargaming

Wargaming is an award-winning online game developer and publisher and one of the leaders in the free-to-play massively multiplayer online (MMO) market. Founded as a privately held company in 1998, Wargaming has shipped more than 15 titles. Currently, Wargaming is focused on its team-based MMO war series dedicated to the mid-20th century warfare that will include World of Tanks, World of Warplanes, and the naval World of Warships. The three intertwined titles will form a common gaming universe integrated within the portal www.wargaming.net.

Official website: www.wargaming.com

3. Excavation programme

The excavation team is scheduled to depart from Heathrow Airport on 5 January 2013. The excavation will begin on 7 January 2013. Since the excavation site is located on the grounds of Yangon International Airport, the press will unfortunately not be allowed inside the airport perimeter fence. This is a restricted and secured area; only excavation personnel will be allowed inside.

4. Press conference 20 January 2013

A press conference will be held at the Park Royal Hotel on 20 January 2013, at which time the findings will be announced, and photos and video footage (from the documentary film crew) will be made available to the media. If you would like to send a representative please email frazer@wargaming.net stating how many will attend. Space is strictly limited.

Dig Briefing

What: Press call to reveal results of the search

When: 11.30am for a 12 start, Sunday 20 January 2013; Room: Padamyar 3

Where: PARKROYAL Yangon, 33 Alan Pya Phaya Road, Dagon Township, 11191, Yangon, Myanmar Tel::+95 1 250 388

A 16-year search by aircraft enthusiast, David Cundall, to locate a hoard of buried Spitfire World War II aircraft in Burma/Myanmar is about to enter its final stages. An international team of scientific experts and funders will come together to explain what has been found on excavation of the site and talk about the challenges of this unique heritage project. Team members will outline their plans, following which the media will be invited to participate in a Q&A and photocall.

Speakers include:
David Cundall, Project Leader
Dr Roger Clark, Senior Lecturer in Geophysics, University of Leeds
Dr Adam Booth, Research Associate, Imperial College London (formerly University of Leeds)
Andy Brockman, Project Archaeologist
Tracy Spaight, Director of Special Projects at Wargaming

Not speaking on the pane,l but available for interview, will be Rod Scott, Military (Conflict) Archaeologist.

Attendance is by invitation only. Journalists must pre-register to attend. RSVP to Frazer Nash, PR, Wargaming, phone +44 (0) 1296 712 522 or email frazer@wargaming.net

One-on-one interviews

There will be an opportunity for one-on-one interviews with team members from 12.30am, however due to time constraints these must be agreed in advance and interviews will be limited.
If you would like to request an interview with David Cundall, Tracy Spaight, Andy Brockman or Rod Scott, please contact Frazer Nash at frazer@wargaming.net. Please feel free to contact us directly if you need further details.

More about Wargaming’s involvement here: http://wargaming.com/en/news/2012/10/23/burma_expedition/

For more information about WYG please contact:
Louise Gardner, PR and Communications Executive

Arndale Court, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 2UJ
Tel: : +44 (0)113 278 7111
Email: louise.gardner@wyg.com