Flt Sgt Copping's P-40 From The Egyptian Desert

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P40

:

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Reminds me (although different from) the remains of 8 Squdron Venom WR552 that still lie 2000m up in the Jebel Akhdar mountains of Oman. The pilot, F/L Owen Watkinson, is buried alongside his aircraft, where he crashed on 30 August 1958. Over the years the wreck has been recognisable as such, while the area was very difficult to access in terms of no modern road and the altitude, but since a new highway was constructed a couple of years ago I have seen people jumping up and down on what is left (essentially the engine and the centre section by now).
I do hope the P-40 can be recovered, but I also hope that the pilot's remains can too. If anyone has access to the British Embassy out there, or needs my help as a medical anatomist with experience of forensics and osteoarchaelogy, please let me know.

http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc39/apollo-fox/venomjakh.jpg

WR552 on Jebel Akhdar

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A man with the energy of Zahi Hawass is needed, although I am sure he is not without influence and would be able to encourage a recovery, perhaps his interest is in antiquities and not the remains of modern war.

I am not certain that he is any longer in any position to assist!

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Fallen from grace, a victim of his own personality cult. He'll be back I think.

Best wishes,

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G'day folks,

Wow, four days since the last post in this thread, and it has dropped to page four. That's the sign of a healthy discussion forum.

I'm guessing that nothing new has happened? Now that a positive identification has been made, I wonder if it brings a little more closure to the family. Obviously, location of F/Sgt Copping's mortal remains will be the only thing to really give peace.

Cheers,
Matt

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P40

Matt

Assume discussions are ongoing. We know who are talking from this end, just not who they are talking to at the other end due to Egyptian elections etc.

All the things you and I would do if we wanted to recover a plane from the desert are no doubt being readied.

Does not take into account any other interest parties and discussions.

Besides that, no more news.

Mark

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Here are some more pictures posted recently on siagtravel Facebook site. Posting date appears to be 3/6 and to be of their second visit to the site.
I would love to be on one of those tours!
Siag Travel appear to be a very professional and respected outfit and appear to be treating the site and the wreck with much more respect than previous visitors.
It's good to see some tape and signs as a token 'security measure'.
Hopefully the one on the pole in the cockpit says something like 'trespassers will be shot!' or as the Americans would say, 'Use of deadly force authorised!'.
Sadly a number of the instruments now have broken glass faces. Hopefully the wreck will not be further disturbed before it can be properly recovered and Siag Travels involvement can add an element of controlled access to those with a respectful interest.

Here's the link to the picture set - http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150874007696775.414344.91386686774&type=1

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So the Instruments have now been smashed and what is that on the seat?

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Possibly the Radio Transmitter that was previously photographed in the sand outside the plane (IMG_4493).
It appears that efforts are being made to gather the smaller items of loose wreckage and place them in the cockpit, hopefully to prevent visitors taking or disturbing more pieces?
Siag Travels Facebook page includes the following info to those attending the trip on 1st June :- " please to not attempt to remove or alter any items of or around the plane. This a great discovery and will be removed to the Alamein Museum where it will be on display. A scale model of the plane will be placed there in the future and used as a historical site. This is a national treasure and us desert enthusiasts should be the first to protect it."

Steve.

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Siag Travels Facebook page includes the following info to those attending the trip on 1st June :- " please to not attempt to remove or alter any items of or around the plane. This a great discovery and will be removed to the Alamein Museum where it will be on display. A scale model of the plane will be placed there in the future and used as a historical site. This is a national treasure and us desert enthusiasts should be the first to protect it."

Steve.

A worthy objective that simply now needs some effort to deliver it as a completed result. The Alamein Museum is a suitable resting place even though I had hoped it might make it back to the RAFM.

regards

Mark Pilkington

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It's worth pausing to reflect that the seventieth anniversary of this incident passed just the other day.

Lest we forget.

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Mark,
I agree as anywhere it can now be preserved has got to be better than the Sahara Desert. You never know though, it still may hopefully end up at the RAFM. That said, Egypt must have 'first claim'. After all, the German Govt. isn't clamouring for the return by us of the Dornier DO17 that the RAFM is planning to recover from Goodwin Sands.

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what about the search for human remains?

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Dobbins,

A good and very important point. Hopefully UK authorities (RAF/MOD/RAFM) are liaising with the Egyptian Govt. with a view to being allowed access to the site; at the very least to search for and hopefully recover the pilots remains. This needs to be the first priority before any recovery is attempted of the aircraft, as once the aircraft is removed the location, as an important start point for any search, will be lost and any impetus to search for the pilots remains will reduce. A 'low level' air survey of the immediate area should be undertaken, if no human remains are located close to the wreckage, in the hope of finding signs left by the pilot of his attempted route out. Such evidence was still discernible from the air when most of the crews remains, from the B24 Liberator 'Lady Be Good', were found in the Libyan Sahara.

Steve.

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That could be difficult, with the Lady Be Good they knew they had bailed I believe and had a rough course it had flown which they could follow back from the wreckage, with this he could have simply wandered off any direction as he was lost, though if he thought he was heading in the right direction and assuming he put it down on the same heading, either back tracking off the tail or heading off of the nose may be lucky, one does hope they find him and he at last finds peace.

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What a thoughtful tribute and story along with it.

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I would say a few of the items in the cockpit could possibly have been used to smash the instrument faces and simply dropped after the mindless vandalism.

That tribute is superbly fitting and what a nice gesture to mark the cowlings like that, hats off to them all.

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P40

JollyGreenSlugg It's worth pausing to reflect that the seventieth anniversary of this incident passed just the other day.

Lest we forget.

Bit early - 28th JUNE 1942 was the date he went missing.

Do like the tribute on HS-B in Canada to Dennis Copping. The family have been informed and I am sure are very appreciated.

The only small item I will let them know about is that the picture of Copping standing in the doorway is not Copping (Confirmed by family. It was provided by family but is actually of another 260Sqn pilot called Walter ? Still not established name). The pic of Copping in the cockpit is correct.

Been told that there has been no further damage.

Everything else - well, its onging.

Mark