Lost Spitfires found Burma
British statesman Earl Mountbatten ordered the RAF to bury them in the summer of 1945 amid fears that they could be either used or destroyed by Japanese forces.
But within weeks, the atom bomb was dropped to end the conflict, and the brand new planes - which were in crates and yet to be assembled - were seemingly forgotten.
Experts from Leeds University have linked up with an academic based in Rangoon and believe they have identified the sites where the craft are concealed using sophisticated radar techniques.
Although around 21,000 Spitfires were built during the war effort, only 35 are believed to be in flying condition today.
Mr Cameron raised the issue during talks with Mr Sein, who officials said was "very enthusiastic".
If the planes can be salvaged, some could potentially go on display in Burma.
A Downing Street source said: "The Spitfire is arguably the most important plane in the history of aviation, playing a crucial role in the Second World War.
"It is hoped this will be an opportunity to work with the reforming Burmese government, uncover, restore and display these fighter planes and get them gracing the skies of Britain once again."
The Prime Minister secured a historic deal that will see the fighter jets dug up and shipped back to the UK almost 67 years after they were hidden more than 40-feet below ground amid fears of a Japanese occupation.
The gesture came as Mr Cameron became the first Western leader to meet Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy campaigner held under house arrest for 22 years by the military regime, and invited her to visit London in her first trip abroad for 24 years.
He called on Europe to suspend its ban on trade with Burma now that it was showing “prospects for change” following Miss Suu Kyi’s election to parliament in a sweeping electoral victory earlier this year.
The plight of the buried aircraft came to Mr Cameron’s attention at the behest of a farmer from Scunthorpe, North Lincs, who is responsible for locating them at a former RAF base using radar imaging technology.
David Cundall, 62, spent 15 years doggedly searching for the Mk II planes, an exercise that involved 12 trips to Burma and cost him more than £130,000.
When he finally managed to locate them in February, he was told Mr Cameron “loved” the project and would intervene to secure their repatriation.
Mr Cundall told the Daily Telegraph: “I’m only a small farmer, I’m not a multi-millionaire and it has been a struggle. It took me more than 15 years but I finally found them.
”Spitfires are a beautiful aeroplane and should not be rotting away in a foreign land. They saved our neck in the Battle of Britain and they should be preserved.”
He said the Spitfires, of which there are only around 35 flying left in the world, were shipped to Burma and then transported by rail to the British RAF base during the war.
However, advances in technology and the emergence of more agile jets meant they were never used and in August 1945, officials fearing a Japanese occupation abandoned them on the orders of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the head of South East Asia Command, two weeks before the atom bombs were dropped, ending the conflict.
“They were just buried there in transport crates,” Mr Cundall said. “They were waxed, wrapped in greased paper and their joints tarred. They will be in near perfect condition.”
The married father of three, an avid plane enthusiast, embarked on his voyage of discovery in 1996 after being told of their existence by a friend who had met some American veterans who described digging a trench for the aircraft during the Allied withdrawal of Burma.
He spent years appealing for information on their whereabouts from eye witnesses, scouring public records and placing advertisements in specialist magazines.
Several early trips to Burma were unsuccessful and were hampered by the political climate.
He eventually met one eyewitness who drew maps and an outline of where the jets were buried and took him out to the scene.
“Unfortunately, he got his north, south, east and west muddled up and we were searching at the wrong end of the runway,” he said.
“We also realised that we were not searching deep enough as they had filled in all of these bomb craters which were 20-feet to start with.
“I hired another machine in the UK that went down to 40-feet and after going back surveying the land many times, I eventually found them.
“I have been in touch with British officials in Burma and in London and was told that David Cameron would negotiate on my behalf to make the recovery happen.”
Mr Cundall said sanctions preventing the removal of military tools from Burma were due to be lifted at midnight last night (FRI).
A team from the UK is already in place and is expecting to begin the excavation, estimated to cost around £500,000, imminently. It is being funded by the Chichester-based Boultbee Flight Acadamy.
Mr Cundall said the government had promised him it would be making no claim on the aircraft, of which 21,000 were originally produced, and that he would be entitled to a share in them.
“It’s been a financial nightmare but hopefully I’ll get my money back,” he said.
“I’m hoping the discovery will generate some jobs. They will need to be stripped down and re-riveted but it must be done. My dream is to have a flying squadron at air shows.”
The aircraft were still boxed in their travel crates when they were buried deep underground at the end of World War Two.
It has taken 15 years to locate them in Burma, now Myanmar, but during Prime Minister David Cameron's visit last week an agreement was reached to begin a joint heritage project to retrieve the fighter planes.
Spitfire enthusiast Steve Boultbee Brooks, one of those leading the project, told Sky News: "We're not sure what we are going to find, but hopefully we'll bring some planes back.
"They are a long way down we think - six or seven metres.So it is going to be a massive dig and we have to work with the seasons as well."
The notorious rainy season in the region begins in June.
"It is going to be a very large hole, we would like to get in before the monsoon," he said.
The mammoth logistical operation is now being thoroughly planned out.
Mr Boultbee Brooks added: "We will create a mine, an opencast system and get in there and very gently go step by step.
"It has got adventure written all over it, we can't wait."
The lost aircraft have sparked such interest because there are currently only 35 Spitfires still flying in the world.
Paul Beaver, an aviation historian who is part of the team, told Sky News: "Our vision is grand - heritage in Britain and Myanmar linked together for the benefit of both nations.
"That's something worth taking our coats off and grabbing a spade with which to dig."