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

Profile picture for user DazDaMan

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17 years

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Jesus.....

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10 years 1 month

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This day and age many people leave reviews [good and bad] comments and criticisms on places of interest they visit via Google, Trip Advisor and others, it will be interesting to see what is said if anything in due course.

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16 years 5 months

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Don't blame me for this utter catastrophe, l.garey.

Profile picture for user l.garey

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Not blaming you Dave. Sorry if it looked like it. I'm just feeling so upset by the news since yesterday that I reacted to that, very apt, old post of yours. My remark was tongue-in-cheek. Sorry.

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16 years 5 months

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Yeah all good. I'm as disappointed as you about what has happened to the aircraft.

Profile picture for user JollyGreenSlugg

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14 years 1 month

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At least if they had to plaster a sharkmouth on it, they could've given it a happy one!

Huzzah!

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Profile picture for user Junk Collector

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13 years 11 months

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If the Egyptian Air Force, can't use the word restored, messed around with it, then they surely could have recovered it.

Anyway ultimately given the country's controls on historic artefacts leaving the country although that predominantly is regarding ancient artefacts, would they really have let it go out of the country.

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Presumably it belongs to the RAF? Or does "struck off charge" mean "finders keepers"?

This may be answered earlier in the thread but I am currently domestically preoccupied.

Moggy

Profile picture for user l.garey

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I wonder what was in Kennet's contract. I have seen the word "recover" used, but does that mean take from desert to museum car park, or deliver to Hendon, cash on delivery?

Profile picture for user Bruce

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I believe that was covered some pages ago, but I'm not going to wade back through it for detail. Essentially, the contract was to recover it ready for the RAFM to repatriate it. Kennet fulfilled their contract to the letter.

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Thanks Bruce. I missed the details

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Perhaps now the RAFM will be inspired to acquire a proper Kittyhawk to replace the cobbled up shell of a P-40 they currently exhibit. It is shocking and shameful what happened to the Copping aircraft, but what is done is done and for the most part irreversible. The RAFM needs to now move forward and seek another quality aircraft to represent this significant aircraft type for exhibition.

Profile picture for user J Boyle

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Moggy called it a "great restoration failure."....but let's remember if the exact same thing had occurred in the 1950s-70s, they would have been applauded for it.

Appreciating something unrestored with original paint, etc. is a fairly new phenomena for mechanical things.
(Anyone who has viewed Antiques Roadshow knows that that has been the case for ancient furniture fora long time).

In the antique car would, some are taking the unrestored look to silly extremes...refusing to replace seat coverings when all but a few cm of original material remains, opting to keep it "original" by sitting on a not even close to correct 21st century horse blanket and giving the vehicle the look of a junker, or the idiot I saw in a national antique car publication who refuses to polish his brass radiator...a harmless cleaning step that certainty would have been done in period.

Still, you have to wonder how a presumably trained archivist/museum director could allow this? The answer is he was probably told to do it by higher-ups who saw the P-40 as simply a chance to put a rare type on display. Remember, Egypt is not the UK, their standards and priorities are different than what might be expected in the Home Counties.

And we might have to be careful about pointing fingers, I'm sure that there are some very strict conservationists out there who could make similar charges against the owners of data-plate rebuilds. I'm sure a lot of WWII paint and metal has been lost so enthusiasts can see more Spitfires and Mustangs at Duxford.

Likewise, I'm sure someone, somewhere is upset about removing rare wrecks from the wartime resting places...arguing that rare Japanese aircraft should have been left in place..to say nothing of the more common UK/US/German types that have been plucked from Russian forests. They would call such wrecks "cultural artifacts" and have them remain in place, even if no one saw them. To aviation fans, the preservation of an airframe is more important than those other concerns, but in the "big picture" of history who is to say who is right?

No doubt, they would argue against removing the P-40 from the desert, calling it Sgt. Copping's memorial and displaying it in a climate controlled diorama in London would be to lose its essence.

IIRC, several years ago here, a member accused someone of "cultural vandalism" for wanting to remove the rare B-17E known as "Swamp Ghost" from its western Pacific swamp where it was deteriorating. It was finally removed and has been displayed unrestored because it was realized that making it airworthy or even making it look operational, would be to erase its history.

If the P-40 in question had been a Stirling, Whirlwind or Typhoon, would be be too upset about erasing its history of it meant it might fly again?

In short, there are no easy answers here...

Profile picture for user Kenneth

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20 years 7 months

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And we might have to be careful about pointing fingers, I'm sure that there are some very strict conservationists out there who could make similar charges against the owners of data-plate rebuilds. I'm sure a lot of WWII paint and metal has been lost so enthusiasts can see more Spitfires and Mustangs at Duxford.

No.

There are no mitigating circumstances.

It was a complete time-capsule. It was 2012, not 1972.

Sheer and utter vandalism, committed by ignorants.

Profile picture for user Bruce

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The mitigating circumstance, quite simply is that we are talking about a third world country. They have not the budget, or the people or the skills to carry out the work as we might. From our point of view, it is certainly vandalism by our standards, but to their director I am sure it is a shining example of what is possible. Different standards.

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Lysanderlover - I doubt the RAFM are that bothered about doing something about the P-40 at Hendon. It fits in the same category as the P-51D thats at Cosford. If they massively cared about some of these aircraft they wouldnt have the likes of the Cosford Catalina sat out in the rain.

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It seems the Egyptians are not the only ones with less than credible museum staff.

Profile picture for user VX927

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14 years 6 months

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It is a real shame what has happened to this aircraft, however just to balance things up, I think there’s a fair few Egyptian artefacts sat in the British Museum that they would quite like back!!

Profile picture for user QldSpitty

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I think they spent more on painting the thing than by simply storing it inside,propping it up on a frame and having a simple story board.The P40 at Malta is a good example..

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The old saying " every cloud has a silver lining" and "out of all things bad may come some good" may apply here...albeit some way down a convoluted track.

...Now that this unfortunate event has occurred the absolute imperative is to have Dennis Copping's fate fully investigated, and literally "laid to rest". Then, and only then, can the ultimate fate of the airframe be discussed for any potential and mutually agreed flying or non-flying restoration. A carefully constructed diorama displaying an "as found" replica could be constructed, and the idea of a first class and correct fibreglass "ready for flight" replica for the Egyptian museum (to me) might very much appeal to them. At that point negotiations for the purchase of what's left as we see it today could pave the way for this unexpectedly pleasing outcome.

...This possible outcome then sees a very bad situation turned on its head, whereby we could have an invaluable potential flyer honouring Dennis Copping, while other parties have been duly recompensed, and their displays existing in a most correct fashion.....FWIW.