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

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P40

Bruce

All feasible.

Would have thought the damage to the rear fuselage from the distortion is what popped the hatch, not an IFF explosion. Would have thought they would have been more distortion if that powerful.

Whether flak or not from the flight 28th June - need to see pic of lower fuselage to see if there is an entry hole.

regards

Mark

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Bruce

To my eye the battery dismantling appears to be a recent occurrence (after it was found) as opposed to something from 70 years ago, maybe the army guys who removed the ammo couldn't read English very well and thought they were flares or something - who knows? The cardboard looks to be in too good condition with the writing clearly visible, I can't imagine this to have been ourside for that long.

Paul

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My thought is that the whole thing was covered by a dune, so it would have protected the whole thing quite well.

If the battery had been in one piece, it would have been obvious that it wasnt armament of any description.....

Bruce

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IF it is F/Sgt Coppings machine -

flight of two battle damaged aircraft from LG-85 to LG-100 for repairs 30-40 minute trip F/Sgt Copping leading.

Once airbourne gear would not retract. Also took up a heading approx 90 deg to what would be expected.

All attempts at contact by radio down to hand signals ineffective. Second aircraft then obliged to break off and head the right direction, arriving LG-100 1 hr 50 mins later.

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"flight of two battle damaged aircraft from LG-85 "

Interesting all indications I have so far say they took off originally from LG-09 (where 260 Sqn were based at the time)

So did they stop en route at LG 85, Amriya South, Egypt?

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P40

Bruce,

The P40 was on a rocky escarpment. No sand dunes anywhere and literally in the middle of nowhere as you would expect.

Have also been given the OK to confirm that the Royal Air Force Museum are actively pursuing this P40 (which is probably not surprising for most of us) with the intention to recover and conserve. This is being discussed and dealt with at the highest levels.

Paul, have also been told it left LG09 and probably in the morning to take two damaged P40's to 53RFU and return with two replacements.

As for it being recovered, it was still there yesterday :-)

regards

Mark

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paulmcmillan you are probably right, the account I have shows the line of retreat to be LG-76, 115, 09, 106, 85 in rapid succession, F/Sgt Copping departing the afternoon of the 28th, probably shortly before the move from LG-09 to LG-106 by the looks of it.

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Have also been given the OK to confirm that the Royal Air Force Museum are actively pursuing this P40 (which is probably not surprising for most of us) with the intention to recover and conserve. This is being discussed and dealt with at the highest levels.

As for it being recovered, it was still there yesterday :-)

regards

Mark

Great News!!

Is this to say that the site was visited yesterday? Do we have any confirmation as to the aircraft's serial number yet?

Thx

Shay
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Semper Fortis

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Bruce,

The P40 was on a rocky escarpment. No sand dunes anywhere and literally in the middle of nowhere as you would expect.

Thank you Mark - It was not particularly evident from the pictures!

Regardless, the batteries could have been covered with a layer of sand, but we will see!

Bruce

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P40

Bruce

It is a two pronged approach.

The RAFM are very interested in the P40 due to its obvious historic significance to the RAF.

Due to its location, the MOD are looking at the information available as there is a high probability that there that there is a missing Commonwealth pilot, WHOEVER he is. (Just due to its very remote location).

The ID is critical and should be confirmed this week. Would love it to be sooner but will have to wait.

Mark

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Fingers crossed then for a recovery.

If the plan is to conserve it and display, then I reckon they should set up a fund as that is something I would definitely contribute to. The very least we could do in recognition of all and any brave men who were faced with those kind of conditions and options when force landing in the middle of nowhere.

No matter whose plane it is, or what the outcome was for them, that its been there 70 years shows you how remote it was and what a dreadful set of options it presented the pilot and for those reasons alone well worth the effort of recovery and preservation.

Here's hoping

Steve

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I agree with Bruce, that battery looks like it was removed from inside the aircraft recently and opened up. There is no sun or sand damage apparent on the box.
Also, as everyone is scrambling for the ID and also on how or where the aircraft should end up, I just hope that the missing pilot is also not forgotten about and can be found and given the proper burial he deserves thus ending a mission that has spanned 70yrs.!

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No, I thought the battery damage was old...

I think the pilot recovery is paramount - recovery of the aircraft is secondary.

Bruce

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I think the pilot recovery is paramount - recovery of the aircraft is secondary.

Bruce

Absolutely agree.

I hope before the aircraft is moved that a trained team goes in and looks for clues as to the where abouts of the pilot.

Does anyone know, has there been an over flight of the crash site area to see if the pilot made a marker or a signal that could be seen from the air?

In my mind this would have been one of the first things the pilot might have done as this is where likely help would have come from. Or in the very least tell rescuers what direction he walked off in.

What Commonwealth WW2 manual would have covered desert survival for pilots? And is there an online copy?

Anyone else notice the external rear view mirror has been removed? Perhaps he took it for signalling.

Also the aerial mast and the antenna wire at the tail appeared to have been removed not ripped out. Perhaps he used the wire for rigging up the radio or after he left the aircraft he used it for a snare to eat. Just thought it was worthy of noting that it looked cleanly removed.

Shay
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This discovery and on going search for the pilot brings a renewed focus on the hazards of operating during wartime in these deserts. I am glad to read here that the opportunity to highlight the sacrifices made has been taken up at high levels and the RAF museum is involved.

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Have i missed something here? Since when did the MOD get involved in searching for missing servicemen from ww2 (or any other war for that matter?) I have heard of numerous instances where known remains in the UK and in other areas of the world have been pinpointed to exact locations only for the 'MOD' to veto any recovery effort? (noble intensions or not) When recoveries have taken place (as i understand it) in a least one case even with the express approval of the servicemens' family the MOD launched a (failed) prosecution and the remains (of the aircraft) were confiscated? I have heard of one case where remains were located underwater and the person who found the wreck on informing the nearest embassy being told to leave well alone despite the offer to recover the pilots remains and give him a decent burial gratis. Don't get me wrong as a former serviceman myself i think the recovery of the poor pilot of this P40 is a noble endeavor (not to mention tens of thousands of other poor soles who perished for our freedom) however I think the likely hood of him being found in such an enormous area after all this time are close to zero. The cost of launching a search in this location and given the political situation in egypt is not insignificant and I am sure there is no way either MOD civilians of current servicemen will be deployed officially in an area where the FCO is advising no one to visit unless it is essential. UK policy on this subject does not cover us (The UK) in glory to say the least and we would do well to take a leaf from some other nations on this. If there has been a shift in policy i for one support that 100% but i have to say i am sceptical.

Pat

All that you say is absolutely correct.

Unless the remains of the unfortunate pilot are very nearby (and obvious) the MOD do not have either a policy or the organisation to search for him and deal with his recovery. The MOD's JCCC is a very different animal to the USA's JPAC, so unless a special exception is made in this case (Pat has pointed out the political and military considerations in view of the location) I am not sure by what mechanism the MOD will seek out his remains. The recovery of the aircraft itself (as Bruce pointed out) is actually secondary to the unfortunate pilot but even that itself is not exactly going to be easy - on lots of levels. Pat has considerable experience himself of recovering historic aircraft from hot and hostile countries, and it isn't easy as he will testify.

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To be honest I think the recovery of the pilot, although full of noble intentions, is unlikely. How far and in which direction would/could he have gone? If you only draw a box 1 mile in each direction you're talking of searching 4 square miles - for what - a few scraps of cloth, metal buttons or buckles and a few bones. If you allow he got as far as two miles it's an area of 16 square miles! And anything is probably buried well under the sand.

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To be honest I think the recovery of the pilot, although full of noble intentions, is unlikely.

Maybe Waghorn, maybe, however IIRC the remains of the crew of Lady Be Good were found & they baled some distance from where the B24 ended up.

Anything is possible.