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

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Profile picture for user TwinOtter23

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15 years 7 months

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I don’t disagree and sadly I have also encountered similar apathy in a ‘RAFVR missing person’ investigation in Europe; but I still do wonder about the ‘local situation’ – I sincerely hope for the right outcome!

Profile picture for user pat1968

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17 years 5 months

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It is not so easy to activate a procedure of removal of human remains from Egypt due to the archaeological history !

The fact that it may not be necessarily easy should not be a consideration.

In my opinion there are too few elements to argue that those are the remains of Copping!

Given the fact that modern technology can cheaply and easily determine, catagorically, whether or not these remains are those of Dennis Copping, i fail to see why they should not be tested to either eliminate them or identify them? We have a world leading forensic lab who will do it for us for free! The bottom line is that if no one from the MOD or embassy bothers to make any enquiries at all, it is very easy to dismiss them. It's a catch twenty two, we won't carry out any investgation unless we are sure they are the remains of Dennis Copping, but if no investgation is carried out we cannot move forward. Hence a convienient stalemate! One thing is absolutely true at this point we do not know that they are NOT the remains of Dennis Copping!
Profile picture for user pat1968

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17 years 5 months

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Picking my way through the complexities of this thread and trying to follow it through I have not understood why those who are being obstructive, are being obstructive. What have they to gain?

I think this is a really good question. Some months ago on the previous thread that is taking a 'short break' we discussed the fact that the MOD does not have a field team to carry out this kind of work. I believe i am correct in saying that we are one of the few industrialised nations who take this stance. They also discourage 'amateurs' from undertaking recoveries.
I believe the answer is simply that the resources are not actually available and the government does not want to come out and say that they will not be do anything to identify and recover these remains. I also believe that there is resentment that these issues are raised by us 'amateurs'.

Profile picture for user pat1968

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17 years 5 months

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Something is odd here.

The bones are reported to have been found five kilometres away from the wreck. Some have said five miles.

I believe the distance was reported by Qattara as 8km or 5 miles hence the confusion.

Imagine what one square kilometre of barren rocky sand looks like then multiply it by 78 and that is the square area that you would have to systematically search to find the bones working out to the five kilometre radius location.

Strange. I don't think we are hearing the full story here.

Mark

You are almost certainly right, I was just as skeptical about the possibility of discovering remains in such a large area. There may well be intelligence available to Qattara that he may not want to share in public? It may be a masterful piece of deduction or a complete fluke. The other thing to note is that things can look very different when you actually get on the ground. It maybe (and i don't know) that if any of us walked southeast from the crashsite the site where the bones are located maybe the only obvious source of shelter? I certainly think that there is likely to be more to this than meets the eye which is why the site and the remains need to be investigated further.

Profile picture for user l.garey

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15 years 6 months

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It would be so, so easy to find out one thing: are the bones found 8 km from the crash site those of Dennis Copping or not? All we need is access to them.

If they are not, then the rest would be more complicated, but let's do one thing at a time. If the embassy has this in hand, for goodness sake tell us!

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10 years 11 months

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" It may be a masterful piece of deduction or a complete fluke"

I suppose the question you have to ask yourself is, which way does a man walk when he is already hopelessly lost?

If I remember correctly from the original thread, Copping refused to change course, despite various attempts by his "wing man" to get him to do so.

Suggestions were that his compass was faulty, that being so, would it have remained faulty after the crash or indeed totally U/S, and what about the standby compass?

Profile picture for user dko

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8 years 10 months

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" It may be a masterful piece of deduction or a complete fluke"

I suppose the question you have to ask yourself is, which way does a man walk when he is already hopelessly lost?

If I remember correctly from the original thread, Copping refused to change course, despite various attempts by his "wing man" to get him to do so.

Suggestions were that his compass was faulty, that being so, would it have remained faulty after the crash or indeed totally U/S, and what about the standby compass?

I think this is the right approach to the problem. Put aside for a moment the track bones and try to imagine which directions ! We consider that in flight probably Copping decided what direction to take because from there he saw Farafra oasis (Km.40) or other...! I think he left the plane in good physical condition and knowing where to go! The deduction of this is because around the plane there are no things or signs of a long bivouac.

Quite simply, this whole thing could be moved forward very quickly if somebody were to take a grip on the situation and act.

All it needs is for Captain Collins in Cairo to contact the Italian team, or vice versa. Simple! Or am I missing something?

Both parties know where the other is. Both parties have said they will work with the other to take this forward, although we currently have a situation where the MOD say that their man in Cairo (presumably Capt. Collins) is already in touch with the Italian team, whilst the Italian team say that is not true.

It is pointless arguing about whether they have been in contact, or whether they haven't. Whatever the situation, both of those parties know the truth - even if we (and the family) don't.

For the sake of Flt Sgt Copping lets hope that both parties now speak with each other if they haven't already - and urgently.

Surely that is not too much to ask?

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12 years 9 months

Posts: 922

The bottom line to this sad tale is test the remains,if they are DC,s good ,his family have closure and the right thing can be done regarding his memory.If they are not his,they could be one of the lost Pharoes,Lord Lucan,but the answer is test them.
Capt. Collins do,snt have to leave the comfort of the embassy,just send a underling but at least do something positive instead of nothing but making excuses.
regards
jack...

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for Tangmere1940
No, I'm just assuming a different interpretation of what could have happened! Your conclusion is too abstract, let's be rational!

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I think this is the right approach to the problem. Put aside for a moment the track bones and try to imagine which directions ! We consider that in flight probably Copping decided what direction to take because from there he saw Farafra oasis (Km.40) or other...! I think he left the plane in good physical condition and knowing where to go! The deduction of this is because around the plane there are no things or signs of a long bivouac.

...having firstly cut the straps of his harness to release himself and leaving his Very pistol on the cockpit floor?

More likely, in my view, that he did not survive the landing or subsequent immediate period, and was found days, months, or even some years later and cut loose....by which time the Very pistol was now buried in sand...but the cartridges had been removed from their stowage.

I think it most unlikely, and I suspect that is the view of the authorities, that the bones found some eight kilometres away, human or otherwise are those of Sgt Copping.

Mark

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They are human, as I have said before.

Profile picture for user Bruce

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21 years 8 months

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If the Italian team have found human remains, that later do turn out to be those of the unfortunate Dennis Copping, then there is something they knew, or know that they are not telling us.

I'm with Peter; I cant believe that you would set out from the aircraft, walk for 8K and stumble on those remains.

Did someone tell them where to look?

Bruce

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14 years 11 months

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And the fact they are human does that make it any less of a priority to recover them because they are not Sgt Copping's ?
somewhere a family will want to know what finally happened to their loved one.
Why now are you all turning on those that found the remains, you should be disgusted with yourselves, they put their money where their mouths were.

Profile picture for user l.garey

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15 years 6 months

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That has been my point for some time: these bones were suggested to perhaps be those of Dennis Copping, then that was denied by the MOD for no good reason (as they seem to have admitted when challenged). I maintain that these human bones could easily be tested for age and relationship, IF WE CAN HAVE ACCESS to them.

If the Italian team have found human remains, that later do turn out to be those of the unfortunate Dennis Copping, then there is something they knew, or know that they are not telling us.

I'm with Peter; I cant believe that you would set out from the aircraft, walk for 8K and stumble on those remains.

Did someone tell them where to look?

Bruce

Bruce

That was indeed the view of the majority from the very outset. It is far from being an issue that hasn't been thought of or discussed before - although I am not suggesting you are saying it is.

Yes, it does seem remarkable and quite baffling how the Italian team just stumbled across these remains (unless they had clues or evidence we don't know about!) but it would seem that they did find remains 8km from the site. Those remains are now known to be human. And, apparently, they are closely associated with a portion of what seems to be the same parachute material that was extant at the crash site. That said, there are no known effects or artefacts associated with the remains that can be said to be RAF or aircrew related. Those that were found were, to say the least, not very convincing in terms of any likely link with Flt Sgt Copping.

However, we do have a situation where human remains exist 8km from the crash site. And we do not know whether they are Flt Sgt Copping or not.

It could be easily solved.

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10 years 11 months

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Having re examined the pictures, the item protuding from the sand in the seat base is definately the lower strap fixing, the webbing has also been cut (along with the removeable section of the shoulder straps) the waist strap laying in the sand has been removed without cutting.

As Tony D has said, waist straps are secured with a folded metal bracket, some have adjustment buckles and are removable at that point.

If you are removing a body/remains, (and as Tangmere says cannot see the pull clip) you would in all reasoning cut the straps, but at least one of them isn't cut, and the lower back strap is cut as close to the fixing as possible, which means you would have to push the body/remains all the way forward, to get right down there, in reality you would cut the strap much higher up, as there is no need to cut at the bottom (especially as it would be partially obscured by the parachute pack)

I am also unsure how you would open the canopy that was locked shut for flight, without breaking the perspex; the photo linked by Tony T shows the canopy shut and (originally) intact.

Was the very pistol found (I can't remember now) if it were I wouldn't be that surprised ; didn't this bit of desert change hands frequently at that time? in all probability you would be signalling your whereabouts to the enemy.

Profile picture for user dko

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8 years 10 months

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I appreciate the mission of Qattara of June 2012 regarding the visit to the wreck, but the discovery of the bones
is a fact without credible evidence!
Now we are on standby..... MOD says nothing , Qattara says nothing !!
We must go forward and I would like to study what direction Copping went on foot after landing because
I think he has walked a lot more than 8 km.
I ask you who are experts in flight:
- A pilot is able to navigate by the sun without instrumets ?
- A pilot can fly for two hours, not knowing where to go?
- At the flight altitude of Copping he can see and recognize an oasis or a village at a distance of 40 km?

Profile picture for user Moggy C

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1) Yes. Approximately, as long as his watch remains working and he knows his starting location accurately.

2) Easily. Any number of aircraft have disappeared aimlessly out to sea

3) Recognise? There is a great tendency to convince yourself that ground features are what you want them to be.

Moggy

Again, we are endlessly debating scenarios that we just do not know the answers to and we do not know, anyway, whether the canopy was shut or open at the point he landed. Again supposition, but I would have thought he would have opened and locked open the canopy for the crash-landing. But, as with all else, we just don't know. If it was open on landing, then it may well have been opened and closed by subsequent visitors until the point that it became jammed shut. But we just don't know!

All we do know is that Dennis Copping is missing. How, by whom or when the canopy was closed, we don't know. How, by whom or when the straps were cut/removed, we don't know.

The only other thing we know is that human bones (they are confirmed as human, Mark12) have been reported as found by the Italian team some 8km distant. We know that the MOD had previously dismissed these as not being Flt Sgt Copping. We also know that they have since admitted that they do not know whether they are or they are not; ergo - they could be. One way or another, the family want to know.

If the MOD/British Embassy are serious in wanting this resolved, and in wanting to deal with the Italian discoverers, then all they have to do is contact them. Or vice versa.

All debate, at this stage, about which direction he walked.... or whether he died in the cockpit....who cut the straps...and who opened/closed the canopy is an irrelevance. As is what happens to the P40 itself.

Isn't this whole thread, fascinating though it is, starting to sound like a broken record in some respects?

Hopefully, in a few posts time, we will be hearing that finally the British Embassy are in touch with Qattara and his team.