Eleven years of research
Before the camera first rolled in August 2006, James and Karl had spent six years exhaustively researching the legend of the Oakey Spitfires. Their search has taken them all over Australia and the world and just recently their research endeavours have uncovered even more tanatilizing information in their pursuit of any leads that might shed further light on the legend.
Recent discoveries based upon information gleamed from interviews and a number of other sources, have uncovered a wealth of invaluable information to back-up some of James and Karl's theories. These discoveries will be further explored during the next shooting phase of the documentary.
What aircraft remained at Oakey?
Based on documents in the National Archives and other sources, the breakdown of aircraft at Oakey on 13/11/46 looks like this:
Mustang (Cat B) 1
Mustang (Cat C1) 49
Spitfire aircraft (Cat E) 225
Kittyhawk (Cat E) 240
Boomerang (Cat E) 38
Total Aircraft 553
However according to aircraft data cards:
410 Mk V and Mk VIII Spitfires arrived in Australia during WWII
220 ended up at Oakey at the end of the war awaiting destruction
55 of those were Mk V’s and 165 were Mk VIII’s
Based on the cards it appears that none of the aircraft appear to have been in crates as they were all assembled at other bases (primarily Laverton here in Melbourne) and eventually flown to Oakey for their final disposal.
However we have heard stories of “unofficial” aircraft being delivered to Oakey including some sort of top secret experimental Spitfire, that were never logged in official records. If no aircraft were officially in their crates, that does beg the question, where did the legend of crated Spitfires begin?
Talking with Oakey locals, it appears to be just one of those stories that’s known to everyone, something that’s been passed down over the years and has become local folklore. Everyone knows about it, but no one knows how it began. However there are even eye witness accounts of trucks dumping items from the base around the area.
What has become apparent was that when the data cards are compared with disposal documents and other letters and correspondence from the Department of Air and other wartime government departments, there are a number of irregularities in the total number of aircraft being disposed of at Oakey.
Operational Records from 6AD have shown that there was a vastl number of aircraft coming and going from 6AD throughout 1945 and 1946. Given the inconsistencies in the number of Spitfires being disposed of, it begs the question, did the Air Force or indeed the Department of Air really know how many Spitfires were sitting at 6AD at the conclusion of the war? We’re of the firm belief that no one really knew what was sitting at Oakey at the end of the war. In fact, we know that top secret F-82 twin-boom Mustangs were at the base in 1945. There is no record of them being there, but there is photographic proof. So were crated aircraft put there just to get rid of them from another base? Is there some other reason why they were there? More to the point, would they notice if some of them went missing?