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

Profile picture for user jeepman

Member for

16 years 2 months

Posts: 1,938

To excuse the restoration as being to “third world” standards because of its location is specious. You only need the google the Great Egyptian Museum at Giza to see the intent and what can be achieved.

That restoration is pure technological and museological incompetence. No more, no less

Member for

20 years 6 months

Posts: 9,780

Detective- I think reality is the RAFM have already traded a Spitfire to have this P-40 moved . There isn't a bottomless pit of cash or Spitfires that can be traded to get this machine ! Reality is that if we get away from the Indiana Jones ideas - the P-40 has spent the majority of its existance in Egypt - the old ideas from the 1970s that the RAFM should scourer the world taking whatever they can from locals who don't appreciate them needs to cease .

Member for

16 years 3 months

Posts: 3,902

Detective, finding some glimmer of hope is commendable , but I think this particular ship has sailed.

Is anyone still actively investigating Flt Sgt Copping , after five years? Given the way things have panned out, such a respectful and committed endeavour would be very surprising. We know roughly how and where he met his fate, and that may be all we ever know.

For many people, a replica diorama would be of little interest, as it is just that, a replica. The aeroplane was ( past tense) compelling because represented such a vivid and robust connection to WW2 , and the sacrifice of one man. Now that connection is irredeemably severed, and it can never be returned to what it was.

Best leave it where it is now, as even in its new guise, it is at least displayed in the theatre where it operated, and the best place for a memorial to Flt Sgt Copping.

Profile picture for user l.garey

Member for

14 years 4 months

Posts: 2,050

Propstrike: as I said in my post 2341 above, to my knowledge there is NO memorial to Flt Sgt Copping. The least we might expect of the museum people is that details of the pilot's story be told.

Profile picture for user stuart gowans

Member for

14 years 6 months

Posts: 2,009

The only reason it survived for so long, is that Egypt is third world, ultimately it has become a victim of that environment,(as it would have, had it been left in the desert) and who knows another uprising may be just around the corner, giving the opportunity for someone to destroy it completely.

The blame falls entirely at the feet of the RAFM, who should have been smart enough to state "freight on board" in the contract; as said above there was no guarantee that the Egyptians would ever let it leave the country even before the "Arab spring".

The director has long since resigned, and his replacement has successfully dismantled at least part of the museum that would have been it's home; (but it's early days, she may yet be able to ruin Hendon completely) fair to say that the RAFM haven't learned any lessons.

Profile picture for user Junk Collector

Member for

13 years 10 months

Posts: 1,444

Did the Director resign to avoid any potential fallout from this farce ?. Has there been any sort of scrutiny on it, because there needs to be if there has not.

Detective, your point about a replica doesn't really do it for many, there are lots of plastic planes and as new restorations around, the importance in this case was the originality and the story it told. Now it doesn't look a lot different to your average plastic plane you see in many museums, whats done is done now, hopefully now though, maybe it may raise the profile of the case to lead to the location of the remains of Denis Copping, that would be something positive

Member for

16 years 3 months

Posts: 3,902

Despite our current distractions, we will remember them......

Attachments

Member for

8 years 1 month

Posts: 352

Jeepman:

To excuse the restoration as being to “third world” standards because of its location is specious. You only need the google the Great Egyptian Museum at Giza to see the intent and what can be achieved.
How much more attention is spend on the Giza museum as opposed to an aeronautical one? How much for funding does it receiver given that Egypt's economy relies so heavily on tourism and Tourists almost always go to Egypt to see the relics of the Pharaohs. And here is the clincher: How much international help and expertise is given the Giza museum in preserving its artifacts?

That restoration is pure technological and museological incompetence. No more, no less
It is a very good example of such, but was that the best the museum could do with the staff it hand on hand? The tools it had on hand? The information it had on hand? And the money and materials it could spare?

That is all speculation but then so is the assumption that the museum just didn't care.

Profile picture for user Southern Air99

Member for

5 years 1 month

Posts: 532

Would it not be possible (if the aircraft was somehow obtained back from Egypt) to do what they do to graffitied/vandalised buildings/sculptures, wash/clean off the new model kit style paintwork to reveal the original paintwork if it remains, underneath?
Then remove all the fabricated parts and see what's left of the original airframe?

Profile picture for user Junk Collector

Member for

13 years 10 months

Posts: 1,444

who knows what they did prior to paint, they might have taken it back to bare metal, in theory anything is possible but I doubt anyone would want to do it

Profile picture for user stuart gowans

Member for

14 years 6 months

Posts: 2,009

I wouldn't hold your breath, over reacquiring this airframe, hypothetically what you suggest is possible, however when you want someone to do a shoddy job and just paint over the original, inevitably they strip every last bit, and with regards to metal work, it was very badly damaged, (even though it appeared to be quite good) one can only imagine what was removed and lost to get to this "finished state"

Member for

2 years 10 months

Posts: 70

I remember when I first saw the pictures of this discovery in the desert, they were in a gratis copy of the Daily Mail courtesy of British Airways. What a lamentable end.

I'd be interested to see a picture of the cockpit of the 'restored' aeroplane - wonder if any of the original instruments still remain in place.

Profile picture for user Junk Collector

Member for

13 years 10 months

Posts: 1,444

Agree, with regards to the aircraft it's over now, it isn't going anywhere and it cannot be undone

Member for

16 years 9 months

Posts: 243

Heartbreaking to see what they have done................................

Member for

8 years 2 months

Posts: 629

So, the main gripe is in effect that the RAFM failed to gain possession of the airframe. It is too easy to point the finger at another country where different standards may apply. (Although the complainers should bear in mind that the RAFM would probably have "conserved" rather than "restored").

Member for

20 years 6 months

Posts: 9,780

Well no - I guess two points . One giving a Spitfire to 'gain' a P-40 when clearly the RAFM appears not to have a firm deal with Egypt .

Second gripe -an aircraft 'restored' now resembling a poorly made Airfix kit!

For what it is worth, from an official Egyptian source today (and to answer a point raised earlier in this thread):- "...there is no likelihood of this aircraft ever being returned to the UK."

As Laurence Garey also noted, it is sad that there is apparently no reference with the displayed airframe to Flt Sgt Copping and his unfortunate demise.

It also very sad that this whole saga most likely could have had very different outcomes if another path had been taken.

Profile picture for user Bruce

Member for

20 years 6 months

Posts: 8,430

We can't know - there were at least three proposals to repatriate the aircraft, and for whatever reason a particular route was chosen. The fundamental problem was the Arab Spring, which led to a change of government, and a change of approach in the country. None of us could have foreseen it. I think its fairly obvious now that the aeroplane will stay where it is, whatever we think about it. A missed opportunity - but perhaps one that was never going to materialise, whatever happened.