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

Read the forum code of contact

Profile picture for user pat1968

Member for

18 years 1 month

Posts: 258

Democracy in Action

For those of you who may be thinking that you agree with the sentiments expressed here but that it won't do any good. We have received some heartening news from Qattara and his team. The MOD have finally contacted them regarding the bones and are apparently in discussions about a possible joint expedition to the site. Whilst we don't know the specifics and there are a great many hurdles to overcome it is at least a start. So democracy apparently works! Thank you to all of those who have taken the trouble to post on the forum and contacted their MP's. DO NOT STOP NOW! We must continue to apply what little pressure we can exert even if it just means we are shaming the MOD into action. Redouble any efforts that you might be making, sadly this is not an isolated incident. Rather one that has had the spotlight shone on it.
I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to Qattara and his team, (especially given the reception he received in some quarters) whilst these remains may turn out not to be those of Dennis Copping, had it not been for the discovery we would not be in a position that we are now and Dennis would have been quietly forgotten.

Profile picture for user Peter

Member for

22 years 4 months

Posts: 10,149

This sounds very promising...

We can but hope so, Peter, although rest assured that some of us will remain very much "on the case"...!

Profile picture for user Nachtjagd

Member for

13 years

Posts: 249

I recall reading one of quattara's earlier posts after finding these bones when he said that the 'parachute' material was not the same as the main chute found at the aircraft. He also said there was a faint 'red stripe' in the material. This sounds very much like a resupply chute, which might easily have been used by someone to cover a body for a desert burial. I wonder if too much importance is being placed on all of this business? I am sure that the crew of the 'Lady Be Good' B-24 managed to walk amazing distances through the desert. Of course we will never know how long the poor guy stayed by his plane but maybe bones found so close to the crash-landing are just too convenient?

Member for

15 years 7 months

Posts: 8,947

Either way, the question needs answering to bring some closure to identity of the remains for the family, and by simply leaving those bones in place means it never will be.

Exactly as Tony T says, leaving the bones unexamined is not an option. The famliy are now left wondering, and especially since they were misinformed by the MOD that the remains were definitely not his when, in fact, nothing has been done to determine that fact - one way or the other.

As regards to the parachute section reportedly found with the bones; in the photographs it looks to me exactly like the pieces at the crash site. There is a reddish/pinkish hue to portions of that 'chute, but no red stripe that is visible in the photograph.

As to Nachjag's statement "I wonder if too much importance is being placed on all of this business?"....exactly! I wonder, too. And that is the whole point here. We all wonder, especially the family. And that is why it is important to find out.

Postscript...one thing is curious about the parachute, though. In all the photographs I have seen, all that is visible are shards of the canopy and shroud lines. I have seen no evidence of the heavy webbing straps, the full harness, back-pad and seat pack...or of the metal bucles, D-ring or release box. Odd that they were not immediately obvious.

Member for

15 years 7 months

Posts: 8,947

I hope you do not mind, I have edited the above letter and have sent in my version to my MP

Dear Andrew Bridgen,

As Remembrance Day approaches, and as an ex serviceman, I am drawn to remember Flt Sgt Copping. He was the pilot of the P40 aircraft found (like a time capsule) in the Egyptian Desert earlier this year.
It is odd how easy it was to focus on the aircraft and the 'richness'/tantalising thought of it as a time capsule. Mentally, some had it being restored and flying...others pictured it in an 'as found' setting. All seems pretty silly now.....the bigger picture was a brave man surviving combat, surviving a crash landing and then attempting to walk out the desert and back into combat:- sadly to fail.
We REALLY do owe him more, we need to find him, we must find him and show how heroism and human sacrifice for others means more than just an exhibit in a museum.
In this day and age of repatriating the dead of our brave servicemen from the likes of Afghanistan we really need to treat this real hero better. Without people like Flt Sgt Copping we wouldn't be enjoying the freedom of what we call democracy and you and your colleagues wouldn't be enjoying the position you find yourself in today, the World would have been a far more evil place. These people died to defend that, maybe they are not in the public image such as those from current ongoing conflicts, but they protected the freedom this Country endures as much as those that do today.
Apparently some human bones were found and the MoD have allegedly discounted them as being from the pilot without even seeing or testing them. This basic test should be done, it is the LEAST that could be done. In this time of Remembrance and with our brave forces still dying for this country, I implore you to please ask The PM to find this hero and afford him the hero's burial he richly deserves. It could be done as part of an exercise.

Yours sincerely,

Tony T

Tony T

Your letter, and all of those who have written to their MP, will doubtless help.

Hopefully, it will enable some conclusion to be reached in due course. Further, it may well help in securing an open and honest explanation from the MOD as to what exactly has gone on.

Now is not the time to take off any pressure on the authorities.

Profile picture for user l.garey

Member for

16 years 3 months

Posts: 2,117

Yes, keep up the pressure so that we may finally get some material for analysis, such as the family really would like to have.

Profile picture for user Mark V

Member for

18 years 11 months

Posts: 2,982


Postscript...one thing is curious about the parachute, though. In all the photographs I have seen, all that is visible are shards of the canopy and shroud lines. I have seen no evidence of the heavy webbing straps, the full harness, back-pad and seat pack...or of the metal bucles, D-ring or release box. Odd that they were not immediately obvious.
I would suggest that the owner very likely had a knife and decided to cut off and discard the heavy harness, etc once he decided to carry the 'chute with him in - order to save weight. Thats pure speculation of course...

That could well be the case, and a very reasonable theory. However, as far as I know the harness etc has not been found (unless it turned up in the recent recovery operation?) and thus it begs the question; where is it? As far as we can tell the major part of the canopy and shroud lines were at the aircraft crash site. But not the harness.

Member for

22 years 4 months

Posts: 9,780

The 'time capsule' nature of this machine was dispelled when it was mentioned that locals knew of its existance before the 'discoverers' this year . Therefore items like parachute material and harness might well have been taken years ago for use.

Yes, that is entirely possible.

However, if desert dwellers had visited the site to remove 'useful' items I suppose I'd have expected other things to have been taken, too. They seem not to have been.

Profile picture for user Bruce

Member for

22 years 4 months

Posts: 8,464

That hardly changes the fact that the aircraft was, and is a time capsule, in every sense of the word

Member for

22 years 4 months

Posts: 9,780

Its an assumption to believe that because items have not been disturbed the aircraft hasn't been visited in the last seventy years. Its been mentioned previously that locals knew of the aircraft. Apart from fabrics I am struggling to see what would be of massive use to local people -unless you have a reasonable tool kit much of what is fitted will remain there.

Perhaps so.

However, all of that is really of little importance here and doubtless will be revealed when the full story of the actual P40 and its recovery is told.

For now, and for the purpose of this thread, the interest lies with Flt Sgt Dennis Copping and his fate.

Profile picture for user paul178

Member for

11 years 1 month

Posts: 2,841

As Andy says
"For now, and for the purpose of this thread, the interest lies with Flt Sgt Dennis Copping and his fate."

I hope and pray he is found and given the full honour that he deserves.(along with any future aircrew recoveries wherever they fought and died for us.)

Perhaps things are moving a little towards that direction now, following the starting of this thread by Pat and through publicity in the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph.

Member for

22 years 4 months

Posts: 9,780

Will we actually ever know the true story of the aircraft ? The details are going to be a degree of guesswork as to why the aircraft ended up where it is and the sad fate of the pilot unless there is any kind of documentation found written by him at the time.

Profile picture for user pat1968

Member for

18 years 1 month

Posts: 258

I wonder if too much importance is being placed on all of this business? I am sure that the crew of the 'Lady Be Good' B-24 managed to walk amazing distances through the desert. Of course we will never know how long the poor guy stayed by his plane but maybe bones found so close to the crash-landing are just too convenient?

If you found a crashed vehicle today and there were what looked like victims of that crash nearby, surely you would not dismiss them on the basis that their location was too convenient! Surely the most probably explanation is the one that you would investigate first? There are certainly no guarantees that the remains are those of Dennis Copping but the location is known and the effort required to determine if they are is minimal?