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

Profile picture for user michal_los

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Hello Look what I found on polish modelers forum http://www.konradus.com/forum/read.php?f=13&i=7154&t=7154&filtr=0&page=1 There is no information where directly is this plane, only that they found this on Sahara, and RAF was asked for identification.
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Profile picture for user pat1968

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Egyptian P40 scandal article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2222406/Dennis-Copping-Body-war-pilot-crash-landed-plane-Sahara-found.html I think his story plumbs new depths even for the incompetent MOD. Frankly the article is a fudge the MOD, JCCC and the Defense attache have been let off the hook. The MOD have acknowledged the fact that they wrongly informed the family that the remains discovered were 'categorically' not those of Dennis Copping. The MOD press officer stated that DNA testing had been carried out and determined that the bones were 400 years old. Not only is this impossible (DNA testing cannot be used to determine age) it is completely untrue. This is what the family were told and this is also the information that was released to the press. This has been confirmed to me both by the family and a reporter independently. When questioned the MOD press officer referred to the Joint casualty and compassionate center JCCC. they in turn stated that their information had come from the defense attache in Cairo namely Capt Collins. When Capt Collins was eventually contacted by a reporter. He allegedly stated that he dismissed the claims of the Italians as the information was not credible. He was allegedly told by an unnamed Egyptian that they find remains in the desert all the time they are probably 400 years old hence the age. This apparently filtered back to the MOD press office presumably by via JCCC who we must assume have accepted the veracity of the information without any further inquiry. This was then relayed to the family. All of this despite the fact that the defense attache visited the crash site and apparently took part in the recovery of the aircraft. It seems that the limited resources available didn't stretch to the five or so extra miles required to recover the remains! No attempt has been made to make any inquiries whatsoever by the MOD. When the MOD finally becane aware of what they have apparently decribed as a "terrible mistake" they indicated that would apologise to the family as soon as possible. That was nearly a month ago and the family have still not been contacted. I guess JCCC were too busy to contact them? The discovery by the Polish Oil workers looks very much to be suspect. The aircraft was in fact discovered as posted on the now suspended P40 thread by the Italian ARIDO team in February. They then informed the Egyptian authorities who asked them to keep quiet about it to preserve the aircraft from souvenir hunters. Unfortunately the information leaked out and it seems the polish team saw an opportunity. They took the pictures that were used around the world i am betting not for free! All of this despite the fact that oil exploration teams find the remains of servicemen regularly in the desert and whilst it is not a hard and fast rule. There is certainly a code of ethics amongst the oil industry that these finds are not publicized. To prevent precisely what happened in this case i.e. the family finding out from the press and not from the MOD after proper and thorough investigation. It is one thing to have a policy that does not include the recovery of the remains of fallen servicemen it is entirely another to disseminate false information to the family and wider public. This is an absolute disgrace and the only allegiance shown by the press is to the MOD and not the family of the fallen pilot. How would you feel in their place? it is utterly appalling. All of this on the anniversary of the second battle of Alamein and only a few weeks short of remembrance Sunday. I cannot be the only person that thinks that spending the meager sum of money required to recover and test a sample from the desert seems like a very small price to pay for the sacrifice made by Dennis Copping and his family?
Maybe the threads will get merged...until then, the wider the exposure the better.
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on going- http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=117756
I posted this on a separate thread because this is not really about the anniversary of Dennis Coppings' death but the appalling way in which he and and his family are being treated by the MOD.
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As long as it stays on that part of the topic and doesnt stray back to the p40 and all then it can stay..
Profile picture for user l.garey

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Well said Pat. As I have said on many occasions on each of the P40 threads, the remains found by the ARIDO team could easily be recovered and tested. The whole concept of them being 400 years old could be laid to rest, and their relation, if any, to Dennis Copping easily investigated.
It really is a shame that the 'exposure' of this story has been so low key. The MOD have seemingly done a pretty masterful job in covering their monumental embarrassment and effectively hiding what has gone on. Even now, the full story of incomptence over this has not been told and there are several posters on this forum who are very close to events here and know the full and sorry tale. I have little doubt that the truth will out in the end, because there are those of us who will ensure it is so. More importantly, those individuals are determined to try to resolve this one way or another for the sake of Flt Sgt Copping and his family - even if the MOD cannot or will not do so. Indeed, all the authorities have thus far done is involve themselves in the apparently more important quest to get the P40 out of the desert whilst telling the family a pack of untruths about the remains nearby which have been neglected and not 'tested' at all as they claimed. This goes all the way back to Captain Paul Collins, Defence Attache Cairo, who some months back stated to the press that "I am satisfied the remains are not those of Dennis Copping". He gave no reason or qualification for such a statement but it is now clear this was not based on any fact - and the fact was then, and still is, that he didn't know! And yet the family were sold this as a definite matter of fact. I am aware that a VERY senior RAF staff officer stated in an e-mail a few months back that this whole thing was a potential PR disaster. Give that man a medal! Where is Qatarra when you need him?

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*Sigh* Not at all surprised by this. There's a certain breed of person frequently found in British officialdom who's only contribution to the nation is a lot of blasé incompetence and a pension debt. Sadly for Copping's family, they seem to be dealing with several of the type. Hopefully one or two careers end up in the toilet over this farce.
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Totally agree on this. Even without all of the facts at hand, it can be seen that this is a very disgraceful affair. This got me thinking last night, as an ex Southend dweller, wouldn't it be nice to see some sort of memorial dedicated to Flt Sgt Copping in his home town. Maybe at the new terminal building at Southend Airport. Qatarra? It would be good to hear his current views here, but he doesn't seem to have posted in a while. Have to say though, that he did receive a fair amount of skepticism for a while, particularly about the remains. Regards; Steve
RAF Rochford You are, of course, absolutely right about Qatarra and he did get a bit of stick over things. I will openly admit that I was one of the doubters, but I have changed my views somewhat knowing what I know now - and albeit that I do still have some doubts as to the origin of the remains. However, there are several important facts that we now know for certain: 1) The remains are human 2) They were reportedly found in association with what seems to be part of the parachute found by the P40 3) No tests have been conducted to determine their age or if they can be discounted as Flt Sgt Copping, or confirmed as him All of that said, it is truly remarkable that these remains were discovered in the way they were and, personally, I do wonder if the artefacts and effects found nearby are anything to do with Dennis Copping - or the remains in question. The important and over-riding fact is that nobody has yet checked these remains to confirm one way or the other.
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Totally agree. See my post number 6 above. We now need to get the bones and examine them forensically. That should not be too difficult, in order to dispel the fairy stories that have been perpetrated about them and get to the scientific truth.
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Hi Andy; Totally agree on all of those points. Yes, it was remarkable how soon after these remains were found, but how these remains were not tested immediately is a complete mystery to me. After all, how many lost souls can there be in such a desolate area? I do hope we hear from Qatarra soon. I seem to recall his utter frustration that any sort of test had not been carried out. Without scanning back through the threads, am I to assume that the remains are still In Situ? Fingers crossed that something is done about this soon. Regards; Steve
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Qattara said that they reburied the bones near the rock where they found them as they had been asked to do so by the authorities.
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Hi Laurence; Thanks for that. So at least all is not lost yet then! Regards; Steve
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Nothing is lost, except opportunities. We have to discount the red herrings (400 years old, not Copping etc etc) that have been thrown at us. Those bones could be recovered without too much effort and analysed. But the immediate area under and around the wreck should have been carefully investigated just in case poor Dennis was still there then.
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All is far from lost with respect to the remains discovered by qattara and his team. I have no doubt that the MOD will do nothing so it will be up to us "amateurs" as i believe we have been described. If being a professional means you behave in the way the MOD et al have then i am very proud to be an amateur!
I would also add that if the MOD and British Embassy, Cairo, imagine that this will all quietly go away they are living in cloud cuckoo land. It isn't going to, and it won't - especially not in this Remembrance Day period and the at the time of the 70th anniversary of El Alamein. By keeping quiet on the matter I feel the authorities are simply making things worse.
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I suppose what it really needs is an urgent question from an MP to the Minister in the Commons. That usually gets plenty of attention. Especially if he is wearing a poppy......... mmitch.
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Right! Well the press have fudged it but this is still a democracy (thanks in no small part to the sacrifice made by Dennis Copping and so many others) so that means we have the power and not them! So if you want to make your voices heard in the first instance you need do no more than put a quick post on this thread saying that you think something should be done. The press have been reading this forum so give them something to read. If you want to write to your MP's then i can't see that it can do any harm. With remembrance day just around the corner it's a good time for everyone to spend a few minutes doing something that actually might make a difference to a family that have paid a heavy price for all of us. We are not asking for much, give it some thought. Pat

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As an ex Serviceman i feel appalled the way this has been handled, I also feel Quattara has equally been unjustly treated, they are trying to do what's right and I along with them feel nothing but loathing and disgust at the way the remains of Flt Sgt Copping and his family have been treated, the RAF museum does not come out of this smelling of roses either. One of the things you felt in the services was if killed abroad in the service of your country, you would at least have a fitting burial alongside your comrades... Clearly here this is not the case and those that are fudging this task up want to take a step back and remember if it wasn't for the likes of F Sgt Copping, the world they live in now would be a lot different.. Btw seen this http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/498845-whatever-you-do-do-not-die-country-lost-70-years.html