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

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Member for

22 years 11 months

Posts: 10,029

Substantial distortion at the top of the aluminium seat noted.

Mark

Interesting to see those images. If I had seen them before (I am not sure???) then I had never noticed the cut harness, although you cannot see the fixings and harness straps at the seat end.

I agree that the item in your first picture, Mark, looks very much like the 'D' ring.

As Mark12 notes, the seat distortion would surely mean that whoever was sitting in it when it took a welt like that would, must likely, have had significant back and possibly pelvic injuries.

Member for

13 years 1 month

Posts: 282

P40

Also noticed the damage.

See the harness was fitted to the tubular frame and not actually the seat which would make sense.

http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=P40+cockpit+seat&hl=en&biw=1898&bih=997&tbm=isch&tbnid=gc0h_lIArWheWM:&imgrefurl=http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/p-40/A29-150/A29-150_cockpit.html&docid=o2Jd5CDIBXvaNM&imgurl=http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/p-40/A29-150/A29-150_cockpit.jpg&w=400&h=256&ei=FEGiUOepGNC10QW7pYDwAQ&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=229&sig=117804988925934821385&page=1&tbnh=137&tbnw=210&start=0&ndsp=50&ved=1t:429,r:8,s:20,i:153&tx=133&ty=55

All the pictures were from JP initial set he posted way back when.

I had also assumed the parachute was used by Dennis copping for shade and warmth at night.

regards

MS

Just realised that the other end (where it has been cut) of the Sutton harness is sticking out of the sand in the seat. You can clearly see the metal strengthening plate.

The most significant thing would have been to see if the cross-pieces were still attached and, importantly, if they were still locked to the leg (or lower body) straps. However, it seems as if (possibly) one of the visitors has taken the bits of harness out of the cockpit at some point. I would also suggest that the fact that this much of the main harness strap is hanging over the seat top (the bit before it goes into the "Y" joint where it branches into the two shoulder straps) is perhaps significant, too. Ordinarily, the metal strengthening plate and the bit of dangling strap would have been further back behind the seat. The fact that it has pulled right forward might point to something having pulled it right forward 'to the stops' and over the seat back. That, in itself, might have caused the seat to buckle and I would have thought would do the wearer not a lot of good. The more I look at that seat damage, the more I am convinced that is what happened.

Very frustrating only to have bits of the picture and the puzzle.

Its a grim subject, but I rather think the staining on the parachute might well be significant, too. I wont elaborate, and sure I don't need to.

Member for

16 years 1 month

Posts: 8,950

I would have thought the seat damage would not be the vertical impact but the pilot moving FW and his harness crumpling the seat back during deceleration, the pan seems straight as far as you can see.

But none of this gets round who fired the charges if not the pilot....

Tony T

Yes....exactly my point re the seat damage.

What 'charges' are we talking about, though?

Member for

18 years 5 months

Posts: 447

Additionally, I have heard from a couple of sources that the verey pistol was found in the cockpit during the recovery. Now if that was the case, I tend to believe he was seriously injured in the crash landing as it was extremely hard with a flash fire around the engine - hot oil/fuel after removing the sump.

This bit sounds to me as if the verey pistol found had (by accident?) been fired while inside the cockpit, although I cannot remember having read anything about a fire on board. Misunderstanding?

Not sure where the suggestion of the fired Verey pistol comes from?

I don't think that is what Shepsair said.

Member for

13 years 1 month

Posts: 282

P40

You have to remember that nothing could be taken from the cockpit as it was only open 8" or so and the perspex was complete originally. No-one has managed to open the cockpit in the months between discovery and recovery though that does not necessarily mean it could not be opened in the past.

Whether bits of harness etc were pulled out after the perspex was broken, I don't know.

Shows how important undisturbed 'crime scene' photos are being everything gets disturbed!

Said nothing about the pistol being fired. It was just found! ?

The fuselage damage is still thought to be Flak damage from the recon on the morning of the 28th June 1942.

regards

MS

Member for

22 years 11 months

Posts: 10,154

You can clearly see the empty Very pistol holder in the one picture.. Would the explosive charges for the IFF be fired with an impact switch in a crash?? That seat damage is disturbing I sincerely hope after all the triumphs and mistakes that have followed this discovery, that the family does get some closure and Dennis is found!

Member for

18 years 5 months

Posts: 447


Said nothing about the pistol being fired. It was just found! ?

My mistake then. However, I still don't understand the bit about the "flash fire"...

Member for

22 years 11 months

Posts: 10,154

Chaps, have a look at these pictures ..I have never seen them before and show great details.. In gallerie4, the last picture shows part of the harness out in the sand. Is this a shoulder strap or lap belt..?? Andy??
http://www.egipska-sahara.pl/index.php?id=132

Member for

16 years 4 months

Posts: 199

The damage seems to indicate that there was a fire which melted various parts of the engine.

Cheers,
Matt

Member for

10 years 2 months

Posts: 11,141

Although wholly unqualified to contribute I am fascinated by the forensic detail knowledgable members are contributing to this thread. I can only hope that there will be an outcome for the family at the end of it all.

Member for

13 years 1 month

Posts: 282

P40

Chris

At the point of impact, the sump, was removed along with oil and fuel feeds and no doubt with metal/stone impact and sparking caused a flash fire within the engine area (flash fire = high temperature/short duration fire). As the P40 is thought to have been very low or about out of fire (we assume the engine was still turning due to the damage of the propeller). might have been windmilling - it was not feathered which I assume would be possible).

I was under the impression the IFF was a small electrical charge - it would not have caused the sort of damage visible in the photos.

regards

MS

Member for

12 years 2 months

Posts: 491

The last photo shows part of the lap strap, they are easily removable.

Member for

13 years 1 month

Posts: 282

P40

previous post should say out of 'fuel'. Not fire.

MS

Member for

16 years 1 month

Posts: 8,950

You can clearly see the empty Very pistol holder in the one picture.. Would the explosive charges for the IFF be fired with an impact switch in a crash??

Interesting thought, with the amount of forced landings with ruptured fuel tanks etc the last thing I'd imagine you would want is an explosive going off, if its not a walk away from crash one would surmise there wouldn't be a lot left, if it was a walk away then you could fire it.. Though open to be proved wrong.

From the previously posted link

http://www.egipska-sahara.pl/uploads/pics/10_134cf7.JPG

As Knifedgeturn points out, the section of harness shown in the photo above (thanks for posting the link, Peter!) is one of the lap-straps. It would appear that this one has been unbolted from its fixing rather than cut, and I cannot imagine it has been torn from the mounting. That would have been pretty nigh on impossible and would probably show signs of distortion to the two black steel and square-ish mounting eyes at the end of the strap. Maybe, now, the balance of probability tilts back to the possibility that somebody started to remove this harness a long while ago thinking it might be useful, and not to get the pilot out. Seems unlikely (if not impossible) that anybody would be forraging around in the lower cockpit alongside a dead or disable pilot to undo the bolts!

I dont think there are clear photos of the other one to see if that is a lap strap or a chest strap, or to be able to see the method of its removal from the P40; ie cut, torn or deliberately unfastened.

All that is clear is that the main harness strap has seemingly been cut just behind the metal strengthening plate.