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

Read the forum code of contact

Member for

16 years 4 months

Posts: 788

I think it may be a good idea to publicise this find in the UK media in the hope that officialdom and diplomats may get involved before it is too late. It is, after all, rather more tangible than a bunch of Spitfires which may or may not prove to be aluminium powder. There is also, should it prove to be ET574, the memory of a brave man involved.

Member for

12 years 6 months

Posts: 544

I am surprised the daily heil hasn't jumped on this, perhaps they're too busy writing articles about channel 4 documentaries, YouTube videos and whichever company has paid them to endorse their product!

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 74

Got to agree with Atcham Tower, a little intervention could be a really good thing regarding this historic find.
Got to ask the question....Has the so called Arab Spring made any difference to the state of Egypt?

Profile picture for user Dobbins

Member for

9 years 5 months

Posts: 442

Yeah just imagine it, 'a Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk has been found in the Sahara...'.

A what? A Spitfire??

Profile picture for user shepsair

Member for

11 years 9 months

Posts: 282

P40

I can assure you the people who you want to know DO KNOW.

Been a week since reported and 4 weeks since discovery.

There is a lot of things going on in the background that most of us are unaware of.

Frustrating it is but all we can hope for is a good outcome.

It looks more and more likely it is Copping's P40.

regards

Mark

Profile picture for user RAFRochford

Member for

15 years 5 months

Posts: 911

...Don't know why, but it just occurred to me that Christopher Lee was with 260 Squadron. Was he with the unit at the time this P-40 was lost I wonder?

If this is the aircraft of Flt/Sgt. DCH Copping, I was somewhat taken aback at the fact that he came from Southend-on-Sea, coming from there as I do.

Also, if it is his aircraft, it would be nice for the local rag to run a story on this by way of a memorial to the man. Personally for me, this story is becoming less about the aircraft and more about the pilot.

Regards;
Steve

Profile picture for user shepsair

Member for

11 years 9 months

Posts: 282

P40

Steve

Not secret and on the web, but the parents died in Rochford.

Before going too deep, serial needs to be confirmed first then it will be a case of finding Coppings in your part of the world.

Only question is, if Copping was flying back to an RSU, would he had a kit bag, log books etc. Additionally the airframe should have had all its maintenance records. These might still be in the door pocket but not holding out much hope.

regards

Mark

Profile picture for user Dobbins

Member for

9 years 5 months

Posts: 442

So who exactly has gotten their paws on the Kittyhawk? Despite the white blobs over their faces those chaps don't exactly look indigenous...

Profile picture for user RAFRochford

Member for

15 years 5 months

Posts: 911

Hi all;

This very interesting bit of info was posted over on Hyperscale;

"On 28/6/42 ET574 Piloted by F/Sgt DCH Copping 785025 left 260 for a ferry flight to an RSU . The A/C flew with u/c locked down due to damage . An incorrect course was set and the A/C was thought to have crashed in the Desert due to fuel exhaustion.
F/Sgt Copping is listed as missing on that date
Now I'm not saying this is the A/C , just that it MIGHT be, in view of :-
a) there being no apparent signs of Battle damage
b) the fact that the U/C was wiped off in the crash"

Could be a possibility?

Regards;
Steve

EDIT!! Please note that the above info was originally posted over on Hyperscale (I did mention that) by Terry McGrady (I unwittingly omitted that bit) Appologies to Terry for missing the credit.

Regards;
Steve

Mod Note. Steve I added Terrys Credit to that message .

Profile picture for user Mark12

Member for

21 years 6 months

Posts: 10,029

At that date 260 Squadron would have been at Landing Grounds 76 and 115. Assuming the former, that would be located about 30 miles due south of Sidi Barrani. The likely base for the RSU is the Cairo area. If so the choice would to fly along the coast to short of Alexandria then head SE to Cairo, the safer option, or fly direct across the Qattarra Depression. That latter course would take it to within about 50 miles of the reported 'Spitfire' in my earlier post. On a flight of that duration, over pretty featureless terrain, 50 miles is well within the zone of navigational error.

Not conclusive but a scenario is emerging.

Mark

Profile picture for user mark_pilkington

Member for

17 years 1 month

Posts: 1,776

Its the old, old argument.

If you restore it to fly, you'll throw away 50% of it

If you restore it to full static, you'll throw away 30% of it.

Its about interpretation. Properly presented, and laid out much as it is now, it would be a fantastic exhibit, and far more valuable as an artifact than it would be if restored.

No, recover it, but leave it alone please.

Bruce

I would agree, we have people with the skills and ability to punch out a P-40 from new material and fly safely for many years, theres no need to consume this into that process and fly around a facsimile of it, and if its to be statically displayed in a museum a strong part of its story is being found in this condition 70 years later and the apparant tragic loss of its pilot, as well as being a time capsule of a Desert war combat veteran.

Restoring it to prinstine condition would be destroying history to present a factory fresh colour scheme, it would be undistinguishable from every other factory fresh restored P-40 sitting in museums.

It would in effect be indistinguishable from this one:

http://i373.photobucket.com/albums/oo174/rcaf_100/CHAA/IMG_8082_small.jpg

A heavily rebuilt ex-RAAF P40N from the Pacific war, but restoration and a coat of paint allows it to adopt the history of an RAF Desert Air Force veteran in the eyes of the general public, and largely indisquishable by them to restoring a derelict one from the Sahara, ie other than us purists "knowing" one actually flew in those colours.

regards

Mark Pilkington

Profile picture for user mark_pilkington

Member for

17 years 1 month

Posts: 1,776

With dry cells/batteries and radios removed from the aircraft and remains of them sitting adjacent to the wreck I do wonder if the pilot tried to contact base by rigging them up outside?

regards

Mark Pilkington

Profile picture for user danjama

Member for

10 years 8 months

Posts: 429

Wonder if Copping had academic/practical experience in such areas? Or was a man acting in desperation :(

(if indeed it was Copping!).

Member for

11 years 10 months

Posts: 31

Maybe.. A BIG BIG MAYBE

From KITTYHAWK PILOT

"The following day, 23 October 1942, the last day before the major Allied offensive, enemy fighters put forth a particularly fine effort. 260 pilots were involved in heavy dogfights and Sgt Cartwright recorded: "Pilots racing to go after recent victories. 1st show: 109's shoot up Mink in N. Crash-lands. 2nd show: 109's get going again and shoot down B and C — one pilot safe. 3rd show: they shoot down Sheppard (comes back O.K.) and damaged X and O badly. We only get one damaged and Shep got a Macchi." Pilot Officer Mink, the American, was shot down in the first show by one of the German aces of Jagdgeschwader 27. Warrant Officer E. Tomlinson, one of the new Canadians with 260, was killed and Sergeant Colley was shot down in the second show. In the third show, Sergeant Sheppard was shot down and Kittys flown by P/O Thornhill and F/O Aitchison were badly shot up. It had been a good day for the Macchi pilots. No German claims were recorded for Tomlinson, Colley, Sheppard, Thornhill or Aitchison.
"The big push at Alamein started tonight when tanks advanced," Sgt Cartwright wrote in his diary on 23 October 1942. The final battle for El Alamein had opened."

Colley is F/Sgt (Pilot) John C. COLLEY - 1378464 - 260 Sqn (Nefatia, Libya), who died of wounds or injuries received in action 10-3-1943

Tomlinson is Canadian Warrant Officer Eric Tomlinson on El Alamein memorial

Colley forcelanded his aircraft on this date but got back ok...

Paul

Sorry to do this but incorrect types as 260SQDN was on Kittyhawk II's at the time of the above combat

from the 540 for 260SQN

23/10/42 12 Kittyhawk II (plus pilots names and a summery if you want it)

From my own research, Mink's aircraft HS-N is believed to be FL225, HS-B is FL229, HS-C is possibly FL222, Sheppard was in FL238 (HS-E or T), X is unidentified (may be FL346), and FL233 was HS-O.

260SQDN had converted to Kittyhawk II's in Sep 1942, first flights with Kittyhawk II's was the 1st Sep 1942, with full conversion by 3rd Spe 1942

Buz

Member for

11 years 10 months

Posts: 31

At that date 260 Squadron would have been at Landing Grounds 76 and 115. Assuming the former, that would be located about 30 miles due south of Sidi Barrani. The likely base for the RSU is the Cairo area. If so the choice would to fly along the coast to short of Alexandria then head SE to Cairo, the safer option, or fly direct across the Qattarra Depression. That latter course would take it to within about 50 miles of the reported 'Spitfire' in my earlier post. On a flight of that duration, over pretty featureless terrain, 50 miles is well within the zone of navigational error.

Not conclusive but a scenario is emerging.

Mark

Hi Mark

The Unit was actually at LG85 at the time this aircraft took off.

Think we really need to wait for a positive ID before we start to assume which aircraft it is. I have approx 25 aircraft that are unaccounted for in this general area from both air combat and Ferry flights.

Buz

Member for

11 years 11 months

Posts: 226

Think we really need to wait for a positive ID before we start to assume which aircraft it is. I have approx 25 aircraft that are unaccounted for in this general area from both air combat and Ferry flights. Buz

Buz, keep up your good P-40 work.
The way this does pan out will be most interesting.

JB

Member for

10 years 8 months

Posts: 485

If it helps any, I've been messing with the contrast on some of those pictures and the aircraft is definitely marked HS-B, no trace of a visible serial though. Ironic given the pic posted by Mark Pilkington!

Profile picture for user D1566

Member for

15 years 3 months

Posts: 2,024

"On 28/6/42 ET574 Piloted by F/Sgt DCH Copping 785025 left 260 for a ferry flight to an RSU . The A/C flew with u/c locked down due to damage"

Would it have been armed for such a flight?

Member for

11 years 10 months

Posts: 31

Would it have been armed for such a flight?

Hi D1566

All aircraft flying in to, from or around the forward operating area would have been armed.

Buz