The extraordinary plans to dig up the lost squadron were revealed this weekend as David Cameron visits the country.
Now, David Cundall, 62, of Sandtoft, near Scunthorpe, has spoken about his quest to recover the Spitfires and get them airborne.
Mr Cundall has spent £130,000 of his own money, visited Burma 12 times, persuaded the country’s notoriously secretive regime to trust him, and all the time sought testimony from a dwindling band of Far East veterans in order to locate the Spitfires.
Yet his treasure hunt was sparked by little more than a throwaway remark from a group of US veterans, made 15 years ago to his friend and fellow aviation archaeologist Jim Pearce.
Mr Cundall said: “The veterans had served in a construction battalion. They told Jim: 'We’ve done some pretty silly things in our time, but the silliest was burying Spitfires.’ And when Jim got back from the US, he told me.”
Mr Cundall realised that the Spitfires would have been buried in their transport crates.
Before burial, the aeroplanes would have been waxed, wrapped in greased paper and their joints tarred, to protect them against decay. There seemed to be a chance that somewhere in Burma, there lay Spitfires that could be restored to flying condition.