I know there are quite a few old plane enthusiasts here, so some may find this story interesting.
Did they find anything?
There were reports of buried WW2 gear in Australia as well.
Manuel in Oz
everybody is reporting that there are no buried spitfires, but the dig was stopped because they hit powerlines. but they had discovered several large crates buried that were the proper size for a spitfire, but they couldnt retrieve them because of mud.
so whats the truth?
Reminds me of the fabled 'new in crates WW2 Jeeps' buried somewhere or the 'new wrapped in wax paper candlestick telephones buried under the driveway of xyz telephone exchange'.
Funny thing is no one ever tries to dig them up!
I also recall there was a car deliberately buried in a concrete bunker in 1957 (a finned car of the time),or thereabouts, as a time capsule experiment. It was retrieved a couple of years ago. It was in pretty poor condition with severe rust and rotted tyres - no idea if they tried to start it.
That was the famous 1957 Plymouth Belvedere rust bucket from a Tulsa time capsule.
NPR did a story on the planes today. Sounds like they don't have anything to show for their efforts so far.
The '57 Plymouth suffered from a broken seal on the big metal box they used for a time capsule & it flooded. Car Craft magazine did a big story on it. I think Codington took on the project to restore it but I lost track of where it is now.
This is a follow up on the Spitfires in Burma. Regards, John
These sort of myths have been around for a while. I grew up near Debert, which during WWII was the largest base in Canada, and the last stop for all soldiers from Canada before heading overseas. I have been hearing these things since I was a child, like new jeeps store in undergound bunkers, etc. The only evidence of old jeeps I have found is in a local lake, where jeeps were unceremoniously dumped after the war to dispose of them
How about the 1950's rumor in New England about 3 Moons on Moon Hill?
Some T fellows followed it up and found 3 Moons and an Auburn in a barn on Moon Hill.
It seems that a guy invested a bunch of money in the Moon Motor Car Company and when it went bust they gave him the cars.
He was so upset he put them in his barn and refused to look at them until the T fellows showed up
It was helpful that they were driving a T.
After talking for awhile he offered to show them the cars.
I remember meeting the guy when they brought him to a Bridgewater Mass club meet in one of the Moons in the late 50's.
Freeman Field an Army Air Force base near Seymour, IN was used to evaluate German and Japanese aircraft during WW2. After the war both ircraft and tons of spare parts were buried. Digs in the last few years have revealed many aircraft parts and the tail of an FW109. Unfortunately many are believed to be buried under the concrete flooring of some large warehouses so no access,
The same thing happened in Australia Rob.
Apparently they took a lot of new stuff a few miles off shore and just threw it all over board.
From ammo to bikes to jeeps. It was all just dumped.
Manuel in Oz
A shame on both accounts - the 58 Plymouth and the Spitfires. I was really hoping they would find those planes purely from an armchair historical perspective.
And that 58 Plymouth...argh! One of my cars of choice for many years (Since I saw Road Warrior in high school) has been the 58 DeSoto or Plymouth. But when I find the right one to buy, it'll have a bit less rust....
I was amazed how rusty it was. Obviously not sealed tight enough?
Manuel in Oz
Donald: Freeman Field was where my Father went to take Helicopter training in WW2. He was in the first class of Instructor pilots the Army trained. Any news of old R4 or R6 parts there? Thanks, Dan
Apparently Nissan ( during the late 70's and early 80's ) did the same with rally cars/ parts, brought in to Australia, cost to much to ship the parts and cars back as they couldn't be kept or sold here.
That coast between Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane ( if you believe all of the US after war dumpings to make way for returning home soldiers and all of the other cases of cost over use ) must be littered with heaps of really cool stuff... OR NOT !
Iv got a feeling that even if they do find these planes that the bulldozer that was more than likley used to the job compacted anything usable. Im sure there wasnt much care given to the job of putting things underground
I was a combat engineer back in the day of my service in the mid 70's. I know anything we were told to put underground it was done without any care as to what it was, We would dig the hole and then compact it (crush) with are dozers what ever filled the hole to make space for what ever was next
My dad told stories, about when, he was operating a dozer while they were building Bunker Hill Air Force base in Indiana. They told a construction company to move a big tool shed and the co. didn't. He was told to level it and bury it, which he did.
Sometimes what is dumped comes back to bite the next generation.. The fishermen in the baltic sea isn't very happy about the Soviets who dumped all the german mustard gas into the comparably shallow sea after WW2. The grenades rust to pieces, but the mustard gas stays at the bottom and clings to nets..
Hi Manual and David.
First off they have not given up as they have moved to the next location due to the cables but they were told it was the wrong spot in the first place but there are new players on the block, there is a dig team from Israel now in Burma digging to find them first.
If you would like to read some more accurate accounts then go to this site as the news/press never lets the truth stand in the way of a good story. http://www.warhistoryonline.com/
As some say these stories are a bunch of fables but there are many cases that are true. My fathers last job in Darwin in 1945 was to dump lots of equipment into fanny bay before being shipped out and while I was working in the Territory there was two jeeps pulled from the water in soggy wrapping and once landed they were sized and taken away with many comments on the news radio. There were lots of planes dropped off Sydney heads in 1946 and if you check the Sydney Morning Herald you can find stories of the plane remains coming up in fishing nets.
While I was working in North Queensland there were a number of planes (Bellair Cobras) retrieved from the Atherton Table lands were they had been left, the only problem was that the Royal Australian Air Force sent a team up to remove the live ammo and they blew the fronts off some of the planes, the motors were behind the cabin so they did not get touched. There was also a group flying between the coast and the Gulf in helicopters looking for a Air Field that was reclaimed by the jungle and they came out with a Kitty Hawk and a C47/DC3. There were two very memorable arms dump stories that were said to be buried in NSW which was treated as a fable till after a lot of hand guns and auto weapons started to turn up the Military started to take notice and efforts then happened to clear them out. The most easiest one to find was at a area near Parkes NSW by checking the tree growth from the air and the bunkers could be seen by a patch of small trees caused by a solid area under them and surrounded by a square area of tall trees and the other large one was near the Queensland border. I have been on one dig at Williams town New South Wales with planes coming out of the sand dunes till some clown dug up a bomb and the RAAF shut it down with the finial number of planes unknown.
In western NSW there was a lot of gear buried and one more that took my eye was a farmer who sells WLA Harley Davidson's and Indians still in the wrapping when he needs cash that just popped up in his paddock but you have to be in the know for his details. I can give you more sites but it will just take up space so I will stop at this as I have been on digs in England in Surry and France in the First world war areas and two in North Queensland and near Darwin so I do not dismiss it as a load of rot or fair tails... Ray
Regarding the Plymouth: it was featured in an American Hot Rod episode. Boyd Cottington was involved. The improperly sealed chamber filled with water. The car's junk. Ever see the documentary about the crashed B-29 on the ice? A team works months to get it air worthy only to have an auxiliary generator tip over during a taxi run and burns it to the ground.
Slightly less OT. This brings to mind the old wives tale about a Model T supposedly buried in a neighbor's back yard in Brooklyn. During an extended dry spell back in the 60's wells had a resurgence and 2 attempts at driving a pipe down in this guy's back yard resulted in hitting something about 6/8 feet down. Tried one spot hit whatever, moved over a couple of feet and tried again with the same result. Don't know. Just sayin'.
Actually, there are stories that a lot of the WW2 USA equipment was not taken out to sea and dumped overboard.
Dig deep enough and you will discover that Chiang Kai-shek was at all the other war conferences with the other Allied big-boys, he just didn't get a podium seat most of the time.
There has always been a story (rumor/wives tale/lore) that the reason Chiang was not often at the podium is that he was doing the back-room politics thing assuring everyone else that he and not Mao would emerge as the true leader of China. (The China civil war started in the 30's and was suspended by agreement during the war)
The story goes that he pleaded that he could use influence control of new Asia as the Indo-Chinese countries were liberated and the Korean Peninsula was liberated. But he needed money and supplies to make that happen. Of course the Russians balked, but the rest apparently said 'Hmmmm'.
The supposed deal was that that eventual surplus was to be given to Chiang to split with a part of it going to Korea thru Chiang...part of it to a place called Vietnam thru Chiang and the 'depot' would be this island called Formosa! This way the Russians would be boxed in and USA was going to do martial law in Japan anyway. Those ships that went out to sea 'supposedly' tied up at Formosa and dropped their loads.
After WW2, Chiang couldn't unite China and Mao ran him off in almost no time at all. He went to Formosa then renamed Taiwan and was the west's best friend for decades in the area.
Don't know how true the WW2 surplus story really is...could be fact or could be fiction...but FWIW thought to share.
Lots of ammo' dumped off the coast and they blew it up because it was getting caught in nets. There was rumors of some buried jeeps for a long time now and someone said he found them but he is not telling me where.
I had a boss who was on a cargo ship that was heading for the jap islands when the A bombs went off. They were told to turn around & come home, but come home empty. They pushed dozens of jeeps, trailers, dodge ammo trucks, & assorted other vehicles over the side without thinking a thing about it.
Waste is something our goverment has been well practiced at for decades.
Americans did without so much during the war,for alot of it to be wasted.
In the early 70's rt.150 was being built in Chesterfield co VA. when they started digging at Rt 1 Jeff Davis hwy. They dug up a Civil War bunker full of live shells,it took 2 dump truck loads to haul them away!
Hey Charlie, a year or two ago, someone here posted an old (early 60s maybe) newspaper article with the pic of a Model T being dug up out of someone's yard....other than that I can't recall any details.
Don't forget about the Model T pick up trucks still in the shipping crates sitting in the old gold mine in Alaska. That story was around a few years ago.
Years ago I showed up at Skull Cap Bridge in Shelbyville Tennessee after reading the account of Wheeler playing rear guard for Bragg's withdrawal and blocking the bridge with two 12 pounders and their being pushed off the bridge during the ensuing pursuit. What made it most interesting was that he actually held it for Forrest...probably the only time in the war the two actually cooperated with one another.
Thinking I was the first EVER person to figure this out I went and found where the original bridge was behind a house.
I knocked on the door and asked the lady if I could go down to the river through her yard. She looked at me and said "Are you here looking for those silly cannons?" (sic)
Turns out I was like number 400 to have shown up since she had been living there. Apparently they were pulled out during WWI or II for melt.
That story about the model T buried in the yard. I believe it's this:
"In 1966, a group of enthusiasts dug up a 1911 Model T that had been buried, upside down, by a Detroit man in 1926 to "preserve its lines" for posterity. It's now in the Detroit Historical Museum.. - OTHER INFO: 1911 Model T Ford buried in backyard by Perry Andrews because son-in-law William Morris wanted to modify car.
However, no matter what the museum says....how can that possibly be the same car as shown in the before and after shots......I ain't buyin' it..
One of my uncles owned a farm that had a large spring near the house and outbuildings. In the late 30s he decided to build a small earthen dam to create a large pond by the house. He told me that they pulled in several old vehicles to act as ballast to hold the fill in place. One was a T car; another a T truck. He showed me the rough location and let me dig on the back side of the dam. (this is 30 some years later). I did locate a front fender and a smashed carbide headlight. Turns out it was a 1914 T. The parts were extremely corroded through and useless. I didn't dig any farther so as to not disturb the dam. This was my first found T part and sparked my interest in T's from then on. So, cars did get buried for various reasons. Over the years I have dug up many parts that were half buried and found the worst corrosion right at the ground line or below (most were unusable). The combination of air oxygen and moisture at that point severely corrodes the metal. I'm sure there is T treasure buried but it's fool's gold. Now if a vehicle is in deep enough cold water that is a different story. Not enough oxygen to attack the metal. Sunken cars have been recovered in almost perfect shape in those conditions.
Sure hope they find some Spitfires in restorable condition but sounds like a long shot.
Great reading ....
As to the Ocean Ordinance: When re-plemishing beaches here in N.J. an ordinance specialist is on site because they pull up shells and grenades quite regularly. The screens on the dredge's are quite large and a lot gets through. Nothing's ever gone off but the stuff's live.
There should be a Graybeard or two on here that can relate to this. At the end of WW 2 in the ETO, the AF took Ground crewmen and others on low and slow observation flights over the recent areas of combat, the idea was to let them see what their efforts had done to bring about Wars end. You could easily see on these flights literally thousands of aircraft, fighters to bombers, parked on every available airstrip. Almost immediately, our government, in all its wisdom, began the destruction of these aircraft. The local German's, ex Wehrmacht, were hired, given an axe, and told to go to work. You can imagine the grins when they were chopping away, that they could do what their Luftwaffe was unable to do. I personally never knew of anything ever being buried with the idea of retrieval, quite the opposite, deep six it, run over it with a dozer, burn it, whatever. Same thing going on now in Arizona, worth the trip out there to see your tax dollars at work.
I was stationed at an IBM installation in southwest Germany for 16 months, 1958/59. When they discovered a hand grenade in our arms room just before an IG inspection they got a couple of guys to get rid of it. They threw it into a nearby deep small lake. I have often wondered if that grenade is still there. I still have friends in that area and have passed by that lake many times.
I know a spot in the UP of Michigan that served as the dump for a small lumbering town. Many T parts are still visible, mostly unuseable.I have a brass door handle from there, that is being used as a door handle in my sauna. It is a deep ravine, and shaded very well. it is amazing how some of the parts have survived this long. I have pulled up a good '32 Ford front fender, a couple T frames, and some running boards. People used to just push the junk over the edge. Many hundreds of glass bottles, too. I spent most of a day digging a T frame out, to find that it had been repaired with plates, and held together with square headed bolts and nuts.
In 1952 or 53 I was stationed on Guam on a TDY
for 3 month. Just outside of the base was a dump that could be seen from the road that had
tanks, aircraft,truck and landing craft( all in different stages of destruction, mostly from the war ) that had been put in there, it was about 50 acres or more. I wasen't interested in that kind of thing then only about 17 or 18 but it was for all to see. There were also caves in the cliffs over the beaches where we went swimming and parts of the jungle that were off limits to all personal. I believe that all of this was salvaged by the asian countries. I also remember my dad in the 39 and 40 when we would go to watch the San Francisco Seals baseball team play in Keszar (SP)
stadium seeing all the scrap metal being shipped to Japan that it would all come back at us some day.
Just things that you recall from the past in your old age.
After the reunification of Germany, three ex-USAF pilots discovered an underground Nazi fighter plane factory, partially bombed-out, but with 3 new Me.262 jet fighter planes still intact from WWII.
With help, they spirit them out of Germany and fly them to a WWII airfield in England.
You can read all about it in The Golden Scimitar, available at barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com. Great story!
I belong to an organization called AWON. Basically it is a war orphans network. It has stories in its news pamphlets that often are amazing. One such story was told by a lady whose dad was a US pilot over France when it was still occupied. She never knew her dad since he was MIA a month before she was born and he was never found. Seeking closer even near the end of her own life she went to France to visit the small town where it was reported that his plane went down but because it was an occupied town when it went down, no rescue was possible then and no trace of him was found later. While she was visiting the town and searching for anything she could find, she met several surviving townspeople who were sure that no US plane was lost anywhere near their town and the only plane lost nearby was at a town some 15 miles away. She returned to the US and reported her info to the Quartermaster and to their credit the agency said they would look into her new info since her dad was still officially MIA and presumed KIA. A soldier was dispatched to the "nearby" town as mentioned and the day the QM soldier arrived it was pouring down rain and he was stuck at the hotel. He decided to stay at the hotel and have lunch at the pub attached to the hotel since it was the only place in town for a sandwich. He was asked by the head waiter what brought him to their town from the USA and the soldier explained he was investigating a WW2 downed aircraft and missing flyer. He also asked the head waiter if there was anyone who might know about a downed plane in their town in WW2. The man was astonished and replied
"As a boy during that time I delivered papers and I heard that their was a US plane downed at the edge of town. My father and some towns folk pulled the dead pilot out and buried him in a field behind another house in town. The towns people prayed for him and put up a marker that only they would know what it was. The German soldiers came and took away the plane remnants and interviewed everyone as to what happened to the pilot but because it happened early in the morning, nobody actually knew what happened. We took the marker down since we were afraid that the Germans would shoot anyone who had helped the American - even just burying him was illegal". Then the man told the QM soldier "I know where the flyer is buried!!"
He took the QM soldier to the spot and the end of the story is that the lady has her dad back home now and he was buried with full military honors and this was within the last 10- years as I recall it. I can tell you this that for those left at home it is hard to have peace until you have all the pieces.
The Burma Spitfires. Where there is smoke, there is fire. I smell smoke!
For now, we'll just have to satisfy ourselves with what we've got - here are photos we took of two Mk9 Spitfires at an air show in New Zealand last weekend, where the Mosquito was flying!
Is it possible to rescue a WWII fighter from a corrosive environment and return it to flight?
Apparently, it is:
For Charlie B....
An Ordinance is something to tell you that you have to have a muffler on your T.
Col, US Army, Ordnance Corps (RET)
Kinda close to this discussion -- About 6 months ago I learned about the Collings Foundation with headquarters in Stow Mass and an aircraft operations base in Huston Texas.
They have a large collection of WW2 and Vietnam era military aircraft that are still flying and a bunch of vehicles from the early 1900's thru 1995 that include a Model T, race cars, and classics.
They run two sets of touring aircraft that include the Wings of Freedom tour and the Vietnam Memorial Flight.
Their web site is currently blocked in China so I can't give you the link but you really need to do a search and see what these guys are doing.
Try a search on the Collings foundation they will get your juices flowing .
I love those pictures. In addition to the neat planes, they also show that part of New Zealand looks remarkably like part of California.
This German fw109 was found outside Leningrad in the forest a few years back.
And this one in the Egyptian desert.
If the Spitfire has a ceiling of 40,000 ft and a top speed about 750 km/p hour, how may radiators would it have to keep the engine cool when on the ground ???
Hi David, I believe there are two on the later ones but the early ones had a different system of evaporation cooling and pure glycol, the later models also had cover flaps for use on dusty or desert air field. I had a look at one in Tamworth belonging to the Late Col Page and that Merlin engine was fantastic.
About 20 years ago they dug a plane out of the Greenland ice cap, IIRC it was a P-38, down about 200 feet. There was 5 or 6 of them but they only rescued one of them. The planes were being ferried to Britian and ran out of fuel due to weather and other dificulties.
Anybody know what happened to it?
The original story of the landing is in a book called "War Below Zero" (1944)
Found a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacier_Girl
Several years ago, I stopped at the big army surplus yard in Ogden, Utah, I was sitting in the back office talking to the fellow in charge of the surplus part of the business. He commented that people still come in insisting that they had WWII jeeps new in the crate. I snorted when he said that, and he asked why. I told him that a few years earlier, I have been on my way south to go 4 wheeling in the southern Utah desert with my 1942 GPW and we had stopped at the surplus store for provisions (they also sell everything else there). People quickly gathered to ask where I got the jeep, and how much I paid for it. I told the honestly that I had pad $300 for it, but did not tell them that I bought in the 1970s. I then told them that I bought it at the surplus store, and that they still had some in the back, but you had to talk to the right person, as not everyone knew where they were. I got a chewing out for that prank, but we are still friends. One of these days, I am going to take the T ambulance down there and drive in the back gate and out the front with a SOLD sign on the car just to wind them up again.
PS The New in the crate jeeps myth was boosted in the mid 70s, by a swindler who was going around the western US with a truck load (10) of jeeps, selling lots of 10 for $350 per unit. He would then give the buyer a receipt and instruct them to take it to their nearest army base to collect their jeeps. He was long gone by the time buyers found out that the army did not know anything about the deal.
A friend of mine came up with a rough Bantam Jeep and I found a fellow in California that bought it from him.It is strange what you can find sometimes.
I only wish I could take part in the recovery and restoration of something like this but I know so little about airplanes I would just be in the way.
But now if ye dug a jeep out of the ground still greasy,I could probably get that running! Hint hint!
Find me 1! :>)
Where is this lake at with them in it?
anybody want a p-38? or a b-17? theres 7 more of them under the ice in greenland, they already got one.
Interesting. Wiki describes it as a "fighter" plane. I always associated that term more with smaller, faster and more aerodynamic military planes. This looks more like a bomber.
Great follow up to the story though. I remember the excitement when they brought it out at the time.
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Named "fork-tailed devil" (der Gabelschwanz-Teufel) by the Luftwaffe and "two planes, one pilot" by the Japanese, the P-38 was used in a number of roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, night fighting, photo reconnaissance missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.
The P-38 was used most successfully in the Pacific Theater of Operations and the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations as the mount of America's top aces, Richard Bong (40 victories) and Thomas McGuire (38 victories). In the South West Pacific theater, the P-38 was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war.
The P-38 was unusually quiet for a fighter, the exhaust muffled by the turbo-superchargers. It was extremely forgiving, and could be mishandled in many ways, but the rate of roll in the early versions was too slow for it to excel as a dogfighter. The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day.
I have the privilege to talk with Old Bold Pilot Tom Simms nearly every Tues at breakfast. He and his P-38 wingman got separated from their formation in cloud in Sept, 1943, and were jumped by several Zeroes over New Guinea. It was his wingman's first mission. Tom's plane was shot up and on fire, so he bailed out, something there was no procedure for. He broke his back after falling from trees that snagged his parachute. After laying there overnight, he realized he would die if he stayed there, so he started walking. He was helped getting to Americans on the coast by natives, and spent five months in a cast in Aussie hospital.
He went on to fly several different kinds of planes, mostly in Calif, until the end of the war.
You reminded me of a story.
A long time ago a T friend of mine drove his mint 55 T bird to the Pate Swap meet. We had spaces on Ave C and most of the incoming traffic had to drive by our spaces. There may be many of you who on the forum that remember the "Judge from Huntsville Arkansas". Any way there may have been a little bit of alcohol involved but the Judge went on his way to view the swap meet and Bob and I found some cardboard and placed a sign in the rear window of the T Bird that read "For Sale $5000 OBO" and crossed it out and wrote SOLD on the sign. That car was easily worth 2 to 3 times that at the time. We left the sign in the window and when anyone asked us about it we said that we saw the car coming up the road and flagged him down. We told the crowd that was gathering that the guy driving it told us he was involved in a nasty divorce and had been ordered to sell his car collection and split the proceeds with his soon to be X-wife and that he had indicated to us that he was going to sell his cars for pennies on the dollar rather than split the real value with his wife. We then told the growing crowd that we pooled our money and told him that we would like to buy the car but only had $3500 between us and that he had sold it to us with a clear title. Several folks offered to double or triple our money. The crowd got out of hand and we had to take the sign out of the car and lay low. We felt guilty and once the Judge returned we fessed up and told him what we had done. He put the sign back in the car and spent the rest of the swap meet in a folding chair next to the T Bird embellishing on the story and was in Hog Heaven. I was a board member of the Pate Swap Meet at that time and went to a BBQ dinner for the people that worked to make the swap meet happen. As I was standing in line the guy behind me said to his friend "Did you see the 55 T Bird that sold for $3500". It took every thing I had to keep from bursting out laughing. True story and there are still witnesses.
It must be a true story, because even I had heard it.
I always have fun at swap meet's but that was one of the best. I will never forget it. However, there are more swap meet stories and one involves a airplane crash that is a hoot. No one was injured past a broken bone or two but the way events played out make a classic story. All I have to say is it involved my Arkansas family and friends. You have to visit me to here that story.