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

Read the forum code of contact

Member for

15 years 3 months

Posts: 254

Unfortunately, as this article shows, the US government continues to fail in similar issues to those discussed in this thread, despite having made vastly more resources (and rhetoric) devoted to the task than the UK government.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-impact-mia-work-acutely-dysfunctional

I've always had reservations about the US approach, and that article only goes to reinforce them.

DD

Profile picture for user dko

Member for

8 years 7 months

Posts: 93

With these examples do not exist anymore heroes and patriots in western countries ..... and conflict will not be solved with professional soldiers!

Clearly, the Egyptian authorities have much on their minds at present and the case of Dennis Copping, or his P40, are probably not even on their radar and thus way out of sight and interest.

However, I just picked this up on an archaeological (not aviation!) forum:

"The Egyptian Archaeologists' Syndicate calls on the Ministry of State of Antiquities (MSA) to cut all ties with foreign – and especially American - archaeological missions in response to international reaction towards the current political events in Egypt."

In time, things will doubtless settle down. However, this turn of events probably puts any attempted resolution of Dennis Copping's case much further down the road - not to mention any likely or early return of the P40 to the UK.

Member for

12 years 6 months

Posts: 922

hi,
earlier this month I tried lobbying the RAFA also the RBL,I received the answer below,i did notice the P.40,s serial quoted,which I,ve not seen before so they must have checked the details.Although no mention of the 2nd set of remains or the Italian team...I will e-mail them again about that,but as has been mentioned the unrest is aginst us at the moment...

regards
jack...

Dear Mr Windsor

Thank you for your recent email, dated 5th August, regarding Flight Sergeant D Copping and the discovery of a Kittyhawk ET574 in Egypt. I have been asked to reply as I work in the Legion’s Public Affairs department.

I have contacted the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) on your behalf as the centre coordinates all work relating to current military fatalities, injuries and compassionate cases, as well as investigations following the discovery of human remains of personnel from both the First and Second World Wars.

I was informed that whilst the remains of an individual were found in the Sahara desert, they were uncovered some 5 km away from the site of the main Kittyhawk wreck. The remains were properly DNA tested by the Egyptian authorities, but regrettably no profile could be obtained. Flight Sergeant Copping’s family were notified of the findings, and I’m assured that they have been kept informed of developments throughout the process by the relevant authorities.

If, in due course, further remains are found and established to be those of Flt Sergeant Copping, I understand that they will be buried in Egypt in line with other Service personnel who fell in action overseas during the Second World War, and for whom repatriation was not an option. A full military ceremony will presumably be conducted for the airman, similar to that which was conducted in Padua War Cemetery last month for the four RAF airmen who were short down in Italy in the final days of the Second World War.

I hope that this information has been helpful. Should you have any further enquiries regarding this case or any other discovery of actual or potential British Service personnel overseas, please do get in touch with the JCCC as they will be best placed to respond to your enquiry. They can be contacted by post at:

Post Death Administration - Commemorations & Licensing
Room G35, Innsworth House
Imjin Barracks
Innsworth
Gloucester GL3 1HW

or by telephone on 01452 712612 Ext 7330. Alternatively, should you wish to email them, you can do so via: [email]SPVA-DMSJCCCCommem1@mod.uk[/email]

Thank you once again for contacting us.

Kind regards,

Laura

Laura Pett

Public Affairs Officer

Direct: 020 3207 2240
[email]lpett@britishlegion.org.uk[/email]

www.britishlegion.org.uk

The Royal British Legion

199 Borough High Street

London SE1 1AA

Profile picture for user l.garey

Member for

15 years 4 months

Posts: 2,098

This note from the British Legion seems to be a straight copy of what the British Embassy in Cairo told me months ago, and what I posted, ie that the bones, presumably those found by the Italians, had been tested and found unsuitable. The Italian spokesman told me that "their" bones had not been tested. There was a question of a second set. Active questions by me of the British Embassy via their Defence Attaché ("case closed"), the MOD UK ("our information came from the Cairo embassy"), the Italians, and the Egyptians (my mail to the Medical faculty as I was once examiner there) have led nowhere. I cannot understand why the tested bones were not suitable for DNA analysis, and I have said as much to the authorities I mention above.

It is unlikely that anyone is going to the crash site in the short term.

It is a great shame that no-one seems to be willing to answer some simple questions.

Profile picture for user dko

Member for

8 years 7 months

Posts: 93

An important novelty revealed by an eyewitness to the discovery of P40 Copping:
the direction of the landing aircraft and the trace of scrap is from west to east and not north-south direction.
This contrasts with what reported by Arido / Qattara that describe the location and landing north-south direction!
Maybe Tim Manna could be a judge of these two versions on the location of the wreck and the direction of landing.

Profile picture for user dko

Member for

8 years 7 months

Posts: 93

Andy,
I think we should not expect anything from these people,
if it will come out some results will only be for the personal initiative of some irreducible!

So, almost a year on from the start of this thread and the family are no closer to knowing the facts. Notwithstanding the obvious problems in Egypt, the misleading information they have been given has never been clarified.

Oddly, the original thread remains in lock-down and discussion about the P-40 in the UK through the medium of this forum remains barred - although the P-40 has been recovered from the desert and (apparently) still languishes in Egypt. That said, presentations on the recovery have been made by those involved in the salvage. But not in the UK or to a UK audience.

Why do I feel that a greater importance is being attached to this aircraft than to its pilot or his family?

Profile picture for user paul178

Member for

10 years 2 months

Posts: 2,841

I was only wondering today what had happened to the 'original' P40 thread that was embargoed. Is it still in limbo? Can it yet be revived? Or is it still 'sensitive'? If so, can we ask why??

I doubt it Andy we are but as mushrooms kept in the dark and fed on s**t.

Member for

21 years 5 months

Posts: 9,780

Seeing as the aircraft is still in Egypt and the property of the authorities there it seems a little strange that in anyone in the U.K would really have much influence in what is discussed about the aircraft!

Profile picture for user l.garey

Member for

15 years 4 months

Posts: 2,098

As for going out there to retrieve the bones claimed as found by the ARIDO team, and finding out if there is indeed a second set of bones that was examined forensically, the political situation would seem to preclude that for a while yet.

Profile picture for user Bruce

Member for

21 years 5 months

Posts: 8,458

If the purpose of the original thread was mostly to speak up for the late Mr Copping, then we are doing that amply well here, although a forum thread is unlikely to do anything of the sort. Appropriate high level lobbying might do it, but as Laurence says, the political situation is not helping matters. I do note that whilst Coppings loss has created a huge storm of debate, in the absence of a body, the unfortunate pilots in the Lake Sebago Corsairs have not, and their whereabouts is well known and documented.

You may find the idea that high level members of anything refer to the Flypast forum as amusing, but ill chosen words both here and elsewhere have been significant factors in the failure of other projects in the past. I can assure you that the thread in question was extensively referenced by parties on both sides.

Bruce

Member for

21 years 5 months

Posts: 9,780

I am somewhat of that opinion that deals done that are not cemented before they enter the public domain are always going to be problematical!

Profile picture for user pat1968

Member for

17 years 2 months

Posts: 258

I am somewhat of that opinion that deals done that are not cemented before they enter the public domain are always going to be problematical!

Quite so! I suspect appearances on news at 10 announcing that it will be displayed at the RAF museum and naming the pilot before the aircraft has even been positively identified and the family informed didn't help!

Profile picture for user pat1968

Member for

17 years 2 months

Posts: 258

If the purpose of the original thread was mostly to speak up for the late Mr Copping, then we are doing that amply well here, although a forum thread is unlikely to do anything of the sort. Appropriate high level lobbying might do it, but as Laurence says, the political situation is not helping matters. I do note that whilst Coppings loss has created a huge storm of debate, in the absence of a body, the unfortunate pilots in the Lake Sebago Corsairs have not, and their whereabouts is well known and documented.

You may find the idea that high level members of anything refer to the Flypast forum as amusing, but ill chosen words both here and elsewhere have been significant factors in the failure of other projects in the past. I can assure you that the thread in question was extensively referenced by parties on both sides.

Bruce

I certainly do not belive the lake sebago pilots have been forgotten. Every effort was made to recover both aircraft and pilots. Unfortunately the MOD did everything in their power to stop the recovery! I guess the cost of two military funerals was too much for them! Maybe they spent all the money paying the admirals that now out number the entire fleet!

Bruce

The Sebago Lake Corsair pilots have hardly been forgotten. As Pat suggests, they have been left where they are partly because the MOD took legal action in the USA to ensure so.

Profile picture for user Bruce

Member for

21 years 5 months

Posts: 8,458

Indeed, are we seeing a pattern here?

Clearly there is a fair bit of obfuscation going on with regard to Dennis Copping, but hasn't the MoD's hand already been played? The fact that they have refused permission to recover the bodies from Sebago suggests a deliberate policy don't you think?

Bruce

No. An entirely different scenario.

Member for

21 years 5 months

Posts: 9,780

The Mod 'policy' is somewhat perplexing! The technology to carry out deep water salvage makes the recovery of the Corsairs relatively straightforward .
What really needs to happen in this case is for public opinion to shame the Mod into doing something as our aviators deserve far better!

Profile picture for user Bruce

Member for

21 years 5 months

Posts: 8,458

Why is it entirely different Andy? it would appear that there is a deliberate policy, which, unlike our American friends states 'Lost is lost'; that the final resting place shall be a grave inperpetuity.

I am not incidentally saying that it is right, but just trying to get into a mindset that would deny recovery at any cost - even where there was none..

David, I suspect that the MoD know very well that once they authorise the approval of the recovery of one airman, that the floodgates will open. I suggest that it is an 'all or nothing' situation.

Bruce