10/21/2012

Another Spitfire link to Switzerland.

In Burma there may be unassembled Spitfire aircraft buried in boxes. Now that Burma is opening up, maybe these can be found and assembled.


There have previously been links between Switzerland and those wonderful World War II fighter planes. It is pretty sure that during the war some would have been forced to land here, then have been impounded. Then, at the Sion air show in September of last year, one of the highlights (for me, anway) was the demonstration flight. More interesting, but doubtless less important than the Saab Gripen demonstration.

Now it has been announced that there are perhaps as many as 124 Mark XIV Spitfires buried in 5 different sites in Burma. They had not been assembled at the time of the Japanese surrender in August 1945 (a direct result of the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki).

Now Burma is opening up, for which the Nobel peace prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, is certainly one of the persons to take the credit. In response, when David Cameron became the first serving Prime Minister to visit Burma since its independence in 1948, it seems that the subject of these Spitfires took up most of the time of his discussuins with President Thein Sein.

There is, of course, a financial interest behind this. If these aircraft can be assembled then they are likely to be worth a lot of money. Supposedly, half of the money from their sale would go to the Burmese government, which might explain the intense interest of the Burmese president.

So what connection with Switzerland? The Spitfires were manufactured at Castle Bromwich, a suburb of Birmingham. Football enthusiasts will make an association with West Bromwich, another Birmingham suburb not so far away, and which is associated with the West Bromwich Albion football club. This club has performed so well in the last three seasons that their manager has been chosen as the new England Manager. His name, Roy Hodgson, is one that the Swiss remember fondly: he was a very successful manager of Neuchatel Xamax, and then the Swiss national team. Indeed, he took the Swiss team to the World Cup in 1994 and the Euro in 1996. Under him, at one time Switzerland were in third place in the FIFA world rankings!

Now the Swiss team has made a good start to trying to qualify for the next World cup. Neuchatel  Xamax, however, having gone bankrupt, are now relegated to the second inter-regional league. As it is written in the bible :-

How are the mighty fallen!

 

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