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

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Not in one go! Two trips yes ! However you need to get the Chinook to the P-40 !

Dobbins -why would it discredit the pilot to restore it? I don't think every pilot has in the front of their mind that if they ever damage an aircraft they would wish it to remain in that condition as a memorial to them ! The P-40 was doing a job out in the desert -to restore it isnt drastic -its just repairing it to the condition prior to hitting the sand.

As for the RAFM -they have the Hampden to finish and the Dornier depending on what comes out of the sand ! I think people are maybe expecting too much of the nationals when it seems our country cannot even manage to recover a P-38 on a beach in North Wales!

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The Vancouver Sun are running the story at http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Egyptian+sand+yields+wreckage/6611575/story.html and are naturally paying up the Canadian connections via "Stocky" Edwards. The Vancouver Sun would have you believe that "Stocky" Edwards flew this P-40 before it was damaged in combat, at which point it was assigned to be flown off for repairs, being replaced by another aircraft

A quick Google search has revealed that there are currently at least 68 newspapers and website running the story. Such as

The Voice of Russia: http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_05_12/74532889/

The Courier-Mail (Australia): http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/lost-wwii-plane-a-desert-treasure/story-fn6ck55c-1226353900222

The Southend Standard: http://www.southendstandard.co.uk/news/9702582.Essex_pilot___s_final_flight_is_found_after_70_years/ (playing up the possible Southend connection)

The Business Recorder (Pakistan): http://www.brecorder.com/world/africa/57259.html

Q13Fox.com: http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-british-wwii-fighter-jet-found-in-egyptian-desert-20120511,0,4234377.story (note that they seem to think the P-40 is a JET aircraft! Probably confusing it with a Lockheed P-80?)

Catholic Online: http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=46169 (Hmmm...was the pilot of the Catholic faith?)

The History Blog: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/16627 (and I agree with what they say: "Because of the location of the wreck, the search and recovery teams will need to be escorted by the Egyptian army. Coordination is a challenge, to say the least, and the clock is ticking.")

Gizmondo UK: http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/05/never-before-seen-world-war-ii-fighter-plane-found-in-the-sahara-desert-after-70-years/ ("...since the discovery of the plane has been made public, locals and scavengers have reached the site and have started pilfering whatever they can get their hands on. Hopefully it won’t be stripped bare. If it survived this long in the desert without getting buried or destroyed, it’d be a damn shame to see it disappear now")

...and even The Sun: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4309662/Crash-landed-RAF-warplane-found-in-Sahara.html (although I'm disappointed to find that they reported it "straight". I was hoping for "pilot kidnapped by Aliens in 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'" style report!)

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Is anyone running the story of it being a very good model???

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Yes, the RAFM do have their hands full at the minute. Maybe they could use the local smuggling route that's been mentioned...

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Yes, I agree it should be left alone though perhaps replace the vandalised perspex panels. I sincerely hope they won't do what they are doing with the Hampden or what the IWM did with the 109 and do a 'half and half'. I hope they use the photos that are available and display it as it was genuinely found, and indeed left, by the poor pilot.

I believe that the idea of a "half and half" Hampden restoration was quietly dropped when the new RAF Museum Director came into post

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There's another article in the telegraph by the military historian James Holland. He seems to have access to info that throws new light on Coppings disappearance. Also states that a body called the 'Historic Casualty Cell' are on the case searching for Coppings remains.

It seems that the day before, he damaged his plane in combat and that he and the squadron commander then had a disagreement in which Copping’s competence was questioned.
Such things happened; pilots were flying up to six sorties a day at this time – twice as many as most flew in the Battle of Britain – and by then were exhausted, physically and mentally. The intensity of the combat combined with the heat of the desert made it an especially harsh and hostile environment in which to live, fly, and fight.
Copping was ordered to fly his plane to a repair and salvage unit a short distance up the coast. Because his radio was out and his undercarriage fixed in the down position, he was accompanied by one of the squadron’s pilots, who immediately realised Copping had taken a dramatically wrong course. Despite frantic waving, Copping flew on, his friend eventually turning back in despair.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/9260334/A-victim-of-the-Second-World-War-is-still-lost-but-not-forgotten.html

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Nothing new there that isnt covered in this thread! I suspect that this thread and others like it have been a prime source of information.

Gentlemen, take a bow....!

Bruce ;)

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P40

Bruce,

Interesting 'story' from James Holland.

"It seems" does not really constitute evidence - diary, log book, letter?? Why say it if the family might read it and probably are! I would like to know more about this bust up with the CO? Additionally, would you need to make mention of it? Does it have any relevance and what good does it do now? Sounds more like embellishing a story for the British press.

Perhaps someone can provide us with that info and where it came from.

Obviously does not know everything as does not know the wingman's name! Squadron records have one mission and records it as "bomber escort completed without incident"! The squadron moved four times in June and were not operational for sections of it. Yes, there were days when there was 6 sorties though there would have been a rotation of pilots (often there were more pilots than planes). The normal seems to be two sorties a day. The casualty rate is another matter and might be of more consequence but this is not have it is written.

There are a few things I find out about the 'people' and out of respect to them and the families, I don't include it when it is more of a story about an aircraft.

regards

Mark

Additionally, agree with Dobbin. It should be restored to 'as found' state. Repair the perspex, replace the date plates and tags, weld repair the gouged metal. Display her as she was first found at the end of February 2012.

Beautfighter - you can be assured they have P40 erection manual, spoken to P40 experts who have worked on then and will know how to take one apart if and when the time comes. Its called forward planning!

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It's hardly suprising that insensitive information has come into the public domain when a number of researchers have used their 'best guess' aircraft identity as a means to reveal details of a pilot and his family.

Interesting in comparison to a modern accident where a pilot's identity is usually kept private until next of kin have been informed. In this case we have speculation which has been skimmed by the press and resulted in a story that might bring closure for a family or result in upset for no reason.

As for the machine itself -should it be preserved as it was found in February 12 or as found by any number of people at various times in the last seventy years!

As for recovery -there is the age old clamour to get it back to the U.K . Does it really belong here?? It's spent the majority of its life in Egypt - surely there is a national museum in Egypt that could display it just as effectively as in the U.K!

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P40

David

I agree that it should be displayed somewhere, whether Egypt or UK.

It may be possible it has been seen at some time over the last 70 years but the fact it was missing nothing when discovered seems to discount it. To me, as she was found at the end of Feb 2012 is how she should be displayed.

Look what has happened when it was finally 'discovered'.

regards

Mark

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Beaufighter - you can be assured they have P40 erection manual, spoken to P40 experts who have worked on then and will know how to take one apart if and when the time comes. Its called forward planning!

Regrettably I have seen the forward planning in action and the aftermath. Spitfire AB910 was recovered from it's collision in Switzerland by "professionals". More damage was done in the recovery operation as the crew made their own mind up it would never fly again, why have a plan.
Take a look at the stbd. wing l/e on the Tempest II in the RAF Museum, dropped by the same "professionals", plenty of forward planning, no technique.

Good to hear the "P-40 experts" are involved.

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The Mail on Sunday claims to have traced a member of Flt Sgt Dennis Coppings family: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2143592/My-Uncle-Denis-pilot-plane-time-forgot-First-pictures-man-crash-landed-plane-Sahara-walked-sands-death.html

Seems that his nephew is alive and well and living in Kinsale, Ireland, and seems to be the closest surviving relative

"He poses proudly in his RAF uniform and also looks down from the cockpit of his Second World War fighter plane, perhaps ready for a mission against the Desert Fox himself, Erwin Rommel.

These are the first pictures of 24-year-old Flight Sergeant Denis Copping, the wartime pilot who crash-landed his plane in the Sahara and then walked off across the sands to his death.

His story came to light last week when pictures of his Kittyhawk P-40 were published. The battered but well-preserved wreckage was found in the Western Sahara – 70 years after the plane came to grief. It was believed that Flt Sgt Copping had no surviving relatives, but The Mail on Sunday found his nephew, whose family album contains these poignant photographs.

William Pryor-Bennett revealed that, until now, the fate of his uncle had been a mystery because all the family had been told officially was that he was 'missing in action'.

The discovery of my uncle's plane has been more of a shock than I thought it would be after all this time,' said Mr Pryor-Bennett, 62, whose mother Edna was Flt Sgt Copping's sister.

'Our generation all speculated whether he was still alive somewhere. Obviously the answer was no.'Looking down into the cockpit and seeing the joystick, thinking that Uncle Denis was actually manipulating that and sitting in there, is very moving.'

He added: 'My mother used to call him her darling little brother. She said he was a very nice, quiet boy, not at all boisterous. They were amazed when he signed up. 'Even though I was born after he had died, we used to talk about him a lot. We used to have a photograph on the mantelpiece and flowers were placed next to it at Christmas and on his birthday.'

The report has what I think are the first publicly published pictures of Dennis Copping (presumably sourced from the family album). Now we know what he looks like!

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...There's an argument that this P-40 is in effect, a "war grave"

Hi
Sorry disagree, it is not a wargrave.
The pilot is not in the aircraft, so it by definition it can not be one.
It only might be technically, if they find the pilots remains under the aircraft, when it is moved.
Most likely he walked off site, so his 'war' grave is elsewhere, hopefully one day it is discovered.
To class it as a wargrave, in my opinion, lowers the respect given to the real wargraves, where servicemen still lie.
Cheers
Jerry

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Regrettably I have seen the forward planning in action and the aftermath. Spitfire AB910 was recovered from it's collision in Switzerland by "professionals". More damage was done in the recovery operation as the crew made their own mind up it would never fly again, why have a plan.
Take a look at the stbd. wing l/e on the Tempest II in the RAF Museum, dropped by the same "professionals", plenty of forward planning, no technique.

Good to hear the "P-40 experts" are involved.

Beaufighter

Don't mean to be rude here, but a Framie/Blackhander or Fairey (or any other flavour) would never ever ever make the same mistake.....would they??. For all the mismanaged accidents that have happened, how many perfect moves have been completed??? IIRC there have been some perfect moves undertaken recently (insert B-17, F-111 and many others), so not all moves lead to damage do they....I'm sure the percentage for good to bad moves is quite high.

In general would it please be possible to get back onto discussion of a certain aircraft found lying in the desert and the side story of a certain aircraft that was last seen flying south (and hopefully join the two), instead of degrading this into another bashing the RAFM, failed moves that caused damage, personal insults, and ego stroking discussions etc.

Buz

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Where is the evidence he tried to walk out?

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Hi
Sorry disagree, it is not a wargrave.
The pilot is not in the aircraft, so it by definition it can not be one.
It only might be technically, if they find the pilots remains under the aircraft, when it is moved.
Most likely he walked off site, so his 'war' grave is elsewhere, hopefully one day it is discovered.
To class it as a wargrave, in my opinion, lowers the respect given to the real wargraves, where servicemen still lie.
Cheers
Jerry

Most "likely" he left the cockpit and closed it, used his parachute as a sunshade and removed the radio's in an attempt to contact base to be rescued, but of course someone else over the last 70 years "could" have removed those items.

The canopy is closed, the cockpit appears full of sand to the base of the seat, we dont "really" know much for certain as to where the pilot's remains now lie.

He "could" have re-entered the cockpit to sit out a bad sand storm, he "could" be lying under a wing, at this point its got the same prospect of being a wargrave as a shipwreck as far as I'm concerned, until real onsite investigations are concluded.

He "could" have walked off and perished in the sands nearby or miles away.

A shipwreck is considered the wargrave of all the missing crew, without knowing which bodies are contained in it, and which others survived the sinking clinging to debris but still perished in the sea from the sinking, I dont see much difference at all to this situation.

If his body is found not to be under or in the wreck it would perhaps redefine its status as definately not being a wargrave, but we are surely not able to make such conclusions yet.

But there seems little point in arguing such issues from other continent's via views through a PC Screen, the most important thing is for UK representatives on the ground to conduct such a search.

regards

Mark Pilkington

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Beaufighter

instead of degrading this into another bashing the RAFM, failed moves that caused damage, personal insults, and ego stroking discussions etc.

Buz

Uh! Who is bashing RAFM, both incidents had nothing to do with RAFM.
Ego stroking, is that aimed at me? I have never dismantled or erected a P-40, just taken part in the operation of several Mks. of them over the years so all I know is the front from the rear. Recoveries, just a few, but not with the political/logistical problems involved with this one.

The director of the RAFM recently visited "P-40 experts" at Wangarratta who restore P-40's from the ground up, several of. Therefore he is aware of the wealth of knowledge available and just down the corridor from his office are more P-40 manuals than you need.
"Jungle Bob" of Swamp Ghost fame is well versed in the logistics of difficult recoveries, remember two P-40 recoveries from Vanuatu and his involvement with up to eight others along with Precision Aeropsace the P-40 guys..

There are more opinions about this aircraft than there are posts, let us hope it is recovered for all to view and learn about without vested interests turning it into a bun fight.

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P40

So the story goes into the Daily Mail even though the family saw it first in the Telegraph. Would like to think the slightly tactless follow up article might have had something to do with that.

The pic of Copping in the cockpit is in a British ordered Curtiss P40 Kittyhawk so not ET574 is that is the one in the Desert.

There are other photos but unfortunately no log book.

Least they re getting the plane right now, just the name wrong (Dennis not Denis).

regards

Mark

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Beaufighter

Can I ask where you got this information from please??, I ask as this doesn't match what I have come to learn in my research on Desert Kittyhawk Units.

Can I also ask where your examples are from please......would love to update my desert Kittyhawk information, because again doesn't match my research. I will say I have come across this in Europe a lot and some RAAF units in the SWPA, but not desert Kitty Units. Also I assume by the armoury you mean the Cam net with the Ammo and table beneath it.

Buz

Buz
I refer you to TO NO. 1-25C-2, Wing Guns, Page 1, Para 1a. Dated 1942.
"First identify all guns by marking, with chalk or paint, their respective location in the airplane to eliminate confusion when preparing the guns for installation."

This TO covers the Service Instructions for the P-40 Series of a/c. In my experience the RAF used the US manuals, re-numbering as an Air Publication with a pasted label over the front. Maybe RAFM have a copy which you could view. There are 77 pages covering all aspects of P-40 armament.

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Not in one go! Two trips yes ! However you need to get the Chinook to the P-40 !

Dobbins -why would it discredit the pilot to restore it? I don't think every pilot has in the front of their mind that if they ever damage an aircraft they would wish it to remain in that condition as a memorial to them ! The P-40 was doing a job out in the desert -to restore it isnt drastic -its just repairing it to the condition prior to hitting the sand.

As for the RAFM -they have the Hampden to finish and the Dornier depending on what comes out of the sand ! I think people are maybe expecting too much of the nationals when it seems our country cannot even manage to recover a P-38 on a beach in North Wales!

On th elast point I offered to go out and help recover the P38 and give it space but no one on this forum was interested or so it seems.