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

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Member for

13 years 5 months

Posts: 485

That's a shame, Andy. Has it definitively been confirmed as F/Sgt Copping's Aircraft?


Member for

14 years 7 months

Posts: 282


In the spider-web of facts, many a truth is strangled. ~ Paul Eldridge

Everything you read in newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge. ~Erwin Knoll


Give up

Member for

24 years 4 months

Posts: 8,464

Mark - you do have first hand knowledge, which most of us dont have the luxury of.

We can only judge the contents of these threads on the knowledge we do have.

I dont think there is anything here that would be counterproductive to the stated aim of getting it preserved in the UK.


After thinking it over and recieving some firsthand information, this thread is open once again. Can we just have a little patience and I am sure everyone will know when the time is right where this P40 will be preserved. ultimately it is the pilot that I am concerned about. Hopefully now that the aircraft is secure, all efforts can concentrate on finding him and bringing him home.

Provided that there are no trivial comments.

Member for

11 years 10 months

Posts: 1

Seguo questa storia dall'inizio, sia sul furum che sul sito qattara e pare che nessuno ha chiesto al team notizie in merito ai resti umani ritrovati
Visto che solo Arido conosce il sito del ritrovamento ed è disponibile ad accompagnare una delegazione britannica sul il luogo della scoperta, penso sia doveroso verificare subito se i resti possano appartenere al sergente Copping.
Forse non succederà ma se con l'aereo potesse ritornare a casa anche il suo pilota sarebbe una grande cosa.
Mi auguro che qualcuno alzi presto il telefono e ci porti buone notizie.
un saluto, Dix

Google traslation:
I follow this story from the beginning, both on the particular forum that Qattara on the site and it seems that no one has asked the team news about human remains found
Since only Arido know the site of the discovery and is available to accompany a British delegation on the site of the discovery, I think it is a duty to immediately check whether the remains may belong to the sergeant Copping.
Maybe it will not happen but if the plane could return home the rider would be a great thing.
I hope that someone up early the phone and bring us good news.
a greeting, Dix

According to Captain Collins, Defence Attache at the British Embassy in Cairo, he is satisfied (I think that is the exact word he used) that the 'remains' discovered are not those of Flt Sgt Copping.

Whilst that has not appeared anywhere in print (so far as I know) this is what he told a UK journalist some while ago, and which the journalist relayed to me. I believe that to be reliable information; at least, insofar as the content of the relayed information is concrned.

Along with another poster on this thread, we were lucky enough to spend a day in Ireland with the relatives of Flt Sgt Copping. They have not been notified of the discovery of any remains likely to be associated with their relative.

Even supposing that the P40 'returns home', any subsequent discovery of remains associated with the P40 would, ordinarily, result in those remains being buried in the nearest 'open' CWGC cemetery and not repatriated to the UK.

I might add, by the way, that the family await a copy of Flt Sgt Copping's Record of Service from the MOD/RAF and were told it would take some three months for it to be supplied to them....once they had paid the requisite fee. Whilst there is a standard fee for Record of Service information provided to families etc who are enquiring about Dad or Grandad's RAF career (and that is understandable) I find it astonishing, under these particular circumstances, that (a) a fee has been demanded, and, (b) that it has taken so long to action. But that might just be me. However, it is a fact that quite considerable efforts have been expended to bring the P40 in from the desert, with RAFM involvement, and yet the family are having to wait for a Record of Service which they had to pay for! To me, it just doesn't seem right and I think it is unfortunate that somebody at a senior level, somewhere, didn't press to have this actioned urgently and for the fee to be waived. That is not a criticism of the RAFM, by the way, but somebody somewhere should surely have had this actioned as a FOC priority?

Member for

11 years 11 months

Posts: 52

ma come fanno questi ciarlatani a dire che le ossa non sono di copping?
non ci hanno mai chiesto dove esse siano, non hanno il wp non hanno visto le fotografie....
abbiamo mandato una raccomandata ai familiari dicendo loro che avevamo trovato dei resti nella zona del p40 e abbiamo avuto conferma del ricevimento!!!!!
ma nessuno ci ha risposto.
queste cose mi fanno veramente arrabbiare!

but how do these charlatans to say that the bones are not copping?
we were never asked where they are, do not have the wp have not seen the photos ....
We sent a letter to family members telling them that we had found the remains of p40 in the area and we had confirmation of receipt!!
but no one answered.
these things make me really angry!

Member for

24 years 4 months

Posts: 3,566

I submitted a request, along with the required payment, for my fathers army record of service (also his medal entitlement) - 9-12 months for a "family interest request" for his ROS and "several months" for his medal entitlement.

I see your point about it being done for free but even when you pay it can take forever!

Indeed so!

However, one would like to think that in the case of Flt Sgt Copping it would have been dealt with expeditiously and free of charge. Isn't it the least a grateful nation could do?

Check your e-mails, please.

I am in contact with the family of Dennis Copping and visited them in Ireland some weeks ago. They have not spoken of any communication from you. A request has been made, supported by the family, for your photographs of the remains to be sent to a specialist in human osteology (who is also a contributor to this forum) for his assesment. It would be exceptionally helpful if you could now agree to that request. Thank you. The e-mail to you is copied to the family and to the osteology specialist.

As to the 'charlatans' you speak of, I can only reiterate that Captain Collins at the British Embassy, Cairo, had stated to a British news agency that he was satisfied the remains were not those of Dennis Copping. I cannot tell you on what that is based, because I do not know.

Member for

18 years 2 months

Posts: 2,115

Thanks, qattara, for allowing me to see the photographs of the bones you found. I hope that we may collaborate to try to identify them as belonging to Flt Sgt Copping.

It is certainly gratifying to know that there has been some progress in that particular matter.

Member for

14 years 7 months

Posts: 282


Nice photos of a professional recovery with the P40 disassembled as the manual. Don't always believe what you read.

We know the P40 flew with the undercarriage locked down to 53 RSU - this was in the squadron/loss records. This does not necessarily mean it was non retractable. It just might mean it could not be locked safely down following undercarriage retraction. It obviously needs some attention as it was classed as Cat 2 and time at an MU so on its flight the best solution was for it to remain down.

F/Sgt Copping would not have landed with the wheels down if at all possible. It was a standard procedure to belly land in the desert outside of an airfield as the risk of flipping over would be too great.

I think the undercarriage was therefore retracted prior to the landing which would be sensible, the impact shattered both hubs and the port wheel/tyre was lost. Whether it was 100% fully retract or only partial, only more detailed analysis will tell.

Also great to see the Azure Blue underside that has been protected for UV 70 years and how clean the guns/gun bays are.

Lets hope..


Member for

15 years 11 months

Posts: 1,311

That looks like a good recovery to me, in what I can only imagine to be in rather hot & dusty conditions :cool:

Thanks for the update qattara http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/images/icons/icon14.gif

Member for

20 years 1 month

Posts: 258

Egyptian P40 scandal article


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.

Member for

24 years 4 months

Posts: 10,169

As long as it stays on that part of the topic and doesnt stray back to the p40 and all then it can stay..

Member for

18 years 2 months

Posts: 2,115

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.