The "myth" Spitfires were crated-up, then buried in Burma has been shot down in
flames - by one of the archaeologists who searched for them.
But the expert has refused to criticise aviation enthusiast David Cundall who spent 17 years of his life trying to uncover the hidden cache of wartime fighter planes.
Andy Brockman, a specialist in aviation archaeology who spent three backbreaking weeks removing thick clay soil in Burma's searing jungle heat, said: "At the end of the day, everyone has the right to pursue a dream. The only thing that has been hurt by this is a few bank accounts.
"David, as is his right, is convinced his interpretation is correct. Yes, it's chasing a rainbow, but everyone has the right to chase a rainbow." But the 52-yearold, part of a six-man team who spent three weeks earlier this year hunting for Spitfire plots, said: "There is no documented evidence to suggest it happened. The eyewitness evidence does not stand-up - it's all hearsay."
Mr Cundall, a Lincolnshire farmer, plans future Far East forays. "I still strongly believe that there are Spit-fires buried in Burma and I am still as determined as I have ever been to unearth them," the 63-year-old said.
His ambition is not shared by the archaeologists and geologists who scoured a site near Yangon Airport - an exploration funded by gaming company Wargaming.
net. Mr Brockman made the journey with an open mind - despite failing to uncover a shred of evidence while sifting through wartime documents in this country.
He did find RAF logbooks that revealed over 100 planes were broken up in Burma in 1945 alone - and given to locals for scrap.
"No one would have been more delighted than me if the aircrafts were there," he insisted.
The digs quickly debunked folklore. One site had been uncovered and nothing found. The soil at another had never been disturbed, rubbishing claims pits had been created during the war.
"I've come across this story constantly all over the world," shrugged Mr Brockman.
"It always involves something iconic and valuable.
Jeeps, Harley-Davidsons, Spitfires - always discarded at the end of the war, you always hear of it second or third hand."
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