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

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  • Thunderbird167
    607 Squadron & NELSAM
    • Sep 2005
    • 1008

    I for one welcome this, if the news is true, as it moves the container and its contents to a more secure location.

    The rights and wrongs of the Spitfire payment are to me of no consequence. That was the considered commercial payment for what was agreed between the RAF Museum and the recovery team at the time. Alternatively the RAF Museum could have simply paid the cost of the work.

    As to its current or future ownership, had it ever been the case that the RAF Museum had secured title to the aircraft before instructing the recovery?

    It would be good to see it preserved as is, just like the Halifax at Hendon as I think it tells a more important story than being in the air with several others of its type.

    Time to park the thread again until there is some more concrete news
    Dave Charles
    Historian 607 (County of Durham) Squadron
    Chair North East Land Sea Air Museums (NELSAM)

    Comment

    • Moggy C
      Moderator
      • Jan 2000
      • 20534

      Personal opinion, but should it ever find its way to these shores it belongs unrestored in a diorama with the IWM Lambeth's LRDG Chevrolet.

      Moggy
      "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

      Comment

      • jeepman
        infrequent poster now
        • Apr 2004
        • 1986

        Originally posted by Thunderbird167 View Post
        The rights and wrongs of the Spitfire payment are to me of no consequence.
        The stewardship of what are ostensibly national assets by a national organisation should be of everybody's consequence. Items are held on behalf of the nation.

        As an individual, I don't think that many of us would release an asset or funds in what appears to be expectation (and no more) of receiving said item. When buying a car I wouldn't pay the delivery costs in the hope that I might later buy it from the showroom.................
        JM

        Comment

        • Guest's Avatar
          Guest

          Originally posted by Thunderbird167 View Post

          As to its current or future ownership, had it ever been the case that the RAF Museum had secured title to the aircraft before instructing the recovery?
          Without wishing or intending to become involved in the debate, and without knowledge as to whether (in this instance) RAFM had 'secured title' (although one would assume they had) it is important to understand that current international protocols as regards to archaeological and historic artefacts do not necessarily mean they 'belong' to the original state's government or its successor. This is something which has often been widely assumed, but the nation in which said artefact sits also has a legitimate interest in the object. This might well be further complicated by other international agreements which return war materiel to the ownership of the original 'flag' state or its successor. These issues, in the case of the P40, might well be further complicated by Lend-Lease issues.

          I thought it might just be worth mentioning, because these specific issues have come to the fore several times in recent months with other unrelated cases.

          To clarify: I merely post this for interest/information. I wont otherwise be entering the discussion.

          Comment

          • Bruce
            Independent analyst
            • Jan 2000
            • 10226

            Originally posted by jeepman View Post
            The stewardship of what are ostensibly national assets by a national organisation should be of everybody's consequence. Items are held on behalf of the nation.

            As an individual, I don't think that many of us would release an asset or funds in what appears to be expectation (and no more) of receiving said item. When buying a car I wouldn't pay the delivery costs in the hope that I might later buy it from the showroom.................
            The museum had clearly determined that the aircraft in question was a duplicate, and surplus to requirements. It is thus fair game for trade.

            Can I ask if you had any knowledge or expectation of the 'Arab Spring' happening at the time the RAFM were considering how to approach the issue of the P40? Did you have advance knowledge that the Egyptian government would be overthrown?

            Was it a risk? Yes it was. Did they enter into it with every expectation that the deal would come off? Yes they did. Is the aircraft now safe from destruction at the hands of tribesmen, who had already started to wreck it? Yes it is.

            It isn't a perfect conclusion - far from it. I for one am glad they tried, and as I have said, will be massively disappointed if it is restored to fly.

            Comment

            • John Green
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Mar 2011
              • 6643

              Originally posted by DaveM2 View Post
              And in doing so you opted to post a snide remark suggesting Bruce doesn't support Shuttleworth, which you and I both know isn't the case.

              And any aircraft can be made capable of flight, and (if not a modern type) would be reproductions of their original selves. Scrap dealers would no doubt be licking their lips with all those skips full of 'non airworthy' structure.

              Don't get excited ! Nothing 'snide' about that comment. It was a straightforward riposte to a statement. I repeat my suggestion that a return to flight would perhaps be a more fitting memorial to Denis Copping; a P40 returned to its element rather than squatting as a dusty, silent, and rather sad exhibit in a matching museum visited by few.

              Comment

              • Whitley_Project
                If in doubt apply heat..
                • Jan 2000
                • 2844

                With all due respect Mk12 if you think that's an equitable deal you must be mental

                Comment

                • Bruce
                  Independent analyst
                  • Jan 2000
                  • 10226

                  Depends how you look at it. I know what it cost to do the job. I've seen the photographs of the work being done. I've even seen the pictures of the container!

                  The Spitfire had a value - and was independently appraised to arrive at a figure. As I've said before, if it had come off, we would think the RAFM was the greatest thing ever.

                  Comment

                  • Beermat
                    1 Registered Rank Loser
                    • Oct 2009
                    • 3646

                    John, I cannot see that it could be a 'return to flight'. Whatever the 'Emperor's New Clothes' effect maintained by those who put value on dataplate reconstructions (and as some are wonderful things, long may that continue) I suspect that it would be practically and legally impossible to actually return that airframe as a whole to flight. (Though in the US things might be different -they surely can't be that different?) An already flying P-40 in the markings of Copping's aircraft would be a memorial, taking the real aircraft apart to use some bits in a reconstruction would in my view be the opposite.
                    Last edited by Beermat; 6th January 2016, 11:07.
                    www.whirlwindfighterproject.org
                    It's all good. Probably.

                    Comment

                    • Bruce
                      Independent analyst
                      • Jan 2000
                      • 10226

                      Indeed - its a question of defining what a 'Historic' airframe actually is.

                      No matter how they are framed, the FW190 repros built by Flugwerk are not Historic aircraft. Likewise, a Mustang that has been built pretty much from scratch, except for a few parts from a foreign field, is not a Historic aircraft. I have even seen such things described as time capsules, which they clearly are not. They have their place - but history is not forgiving, and we cant change it.

                      In the majority of cases, aircraft being rebuilt have no particular backstory. They are one of many. Do what you like with them. The P40 in question is rather different.

                      Comment

                      • Mark12
                        MEANS MOTIVE OPPORTUNITY
                        • Jan 2000
                        • 10868

                        Originally posted by Whitley_Project View Post
                        With all due respect Mk12 if you think that's an equitable deal you must be mental
                        After the event I was privileged to see all the costings of the recovery from this difficult country on the one side, and on the other had been commissioned about four years back by the RAF Museum to inspect and value all the remaining Spitfires at Stafford. I can assure you the numbers were uncannily similar.

                        There has been some comment of the the UK losing an invaluable 'National Icon' here with Spitfire PK664...but let us look at the facts. PK664 was the very lowest order of all the dozen or so Spitfires the RAF Museum has traded over the past forty years. It has no engine and auxiliary gearbox. Firewall systems forward zilch. Cockpit gutted and the rare 20 series undercarriage legs sans brakes/wheels discarded when it was pylon mounted at RAF Binbrook. It was last seen complete in public there in 1988, twenty-eight years ago, while individual component parts were put on display at the Science museum in 2005-7.

                        So now like DX based EP120 and BM597 before it, and I don't remember any complaints there, PK664 is in private restoration hands in the UK within an established facility at North Weald. As a bonus it will provide reverse engineering technology to restore a Seafire 46 to full flying condition, along side it. It will take time, but take your pick, two late Mark Spitfire/Seafire examples to airworthy in the UK or stored out of public view at Stafford for another 'x' years.

                        Mark





                        .
                        Last edited by Mark12; 6th January 2016, 11:41.
                        "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney"

                        Comment

                        • John Green
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Mar 2011
                          • 6643

                          Originally posted by Bruce View Post
                          Indeed - its a question of defining what a 'Historic' airframe actually is.

                          No matter how they are framed, the FW190 repros built by Flugwerk are not Historic aircraft. Likewise, a Mustang that has been built pretty much from scratch, except for a few parts from a foreign field, is not a Historic aircraft. I have even seen such things described as time capsules, which they clearly are not. They have their place - but history is not forgiving, and we cant change it.

                          In the majority of cases, aircraft being rebuilt have no particular backstory. They are one of many. Do what you like with them. The P40 in question is rather different.
                          Beermat & Bruce,

                          The desirability versus the practicality of returning Mr. Copping's P40 to flight are two different concepts. I can argue the one but, not the other. The point I'm trying to make is, that I believe that all things being equal , we should not continue to stuff 'dead' exhibits into equally dead museums but, instead maintain living, active artefacts as representative of the history and technology of their day. The Shuttleworth Collection is the living breathing epitome of that concept.

                          Permit me to amplify. Apart from flying, my other enthusiasm is for sailing. As part of that enthusiasm, I've long considered the circumstances of preserved ships of one kind or another. As a country we pour millions into the dry docked preservation of such emblematic vessels as Cutty Sark, HMS Victory and SS Great Britain to name but three.

                          Those same millions - with perhaps slightly more - could have been directed to the restoration of these vessels to sea going status with the return benefit of providing thousands of young people with the experience of life afloat in Nelson's time, operating a fast sail ship such as the Cutty Sark and understanding the propulsion systems of the Great Britain.

                          In respect of the above, genuine historical artefacts brought back to life and engaged in offering real experience of their first incarnation rather than being relegated to the silent chasm of a dry dock and going nowhere. What would you sooner have ?

                          Fill the museums by all means but, let the main thrust of artefact preservation be towards the 'living' entity.

                          Comment

                          • Kenneth
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Jan 2000
                            • 970

                            "...genuine historical artefacts brought back to life..."

                            A museum's remit is in my opinion preservation and conservation. Bringing machinery back to life mostly necessitates work which clashes with the latter, as originality will be lost. How many WW2 airframes are around where you can still discern the WW2 paintwork? Does the world need another flying P-40?
                            The Largest German-Language Aviation Forum on the Internet

                            Comment

                            • Bruce
                              Independent analyst
                              • Jan 2000
                              • 10226

                              John,

                              It is your definition of 'Genuine Historical Artefact'. that we must consider closely.

                              Following the well documented fire, a lot less of Cutty Sark is 'Genuine' or 'Historical'. Victory has had extensive replacement of its wooden structure over the years.

                              If the P40 were to be put back into the air, a very great deal of replacement would be required. The aircraft would certainly not be 'Genuine' anymore, and its 'Historic' content would be much less. There is no need to fly yet another P40 - its characteristics are well understood, and there are sufficient preserved examples in flying order. Lesser machines if you like.

                              As to Shuttleworth - it is a great place. I'll be honest though; there are aircraft in its collection that I would not fly. Chief amongst them is the DH88. Its performance is such that it could easily be lost operating from such a marginal strip, and there is no need to risk its future. When the other two currently being built come on stream, I would seriously advocate its grounding.

                              Comment

                              • Maple 01
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • May 2004
                                • 449

                                So presumably you'd be happy if the remains of 'The Lady be-good' be rebuilt into an airworthy factory fresh replica?
                                Krlewska Moc Powietrza nie jest lot cyrku.....

                                Comment

                                • trumper
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Aug 2003
                                  • 6742

                                  Any time a restored airframe is not flying [which is 90% of the time ] it is put into a hangar ,sometimes public most times not so access and viewing is still restricted.To destroy the originality of an airframe to turn it into a more modern new build is not the way to preserve and conserve.
                                  In this case there may be so little left of the airframe and controls that even preserving it would not really leave much to see.
                                  I suppose each case on it's own merits but when you have to destroy something to enable some of it to be returned to flight then not always a good way to go.

                                  Comment

                                  • John Green
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Mar 2011
                                    • 6643

                                    Bruce,

                                    I accept that, unlike many on this forum who would settle for nothing less than as much original material as may be possible to realise their need for historical purity, my own inclination is towards something lightly less than that admirable standard but, also one that on completion, fits into its natural element and by that, reminds us all of its original purpose.

                                    Comment

                                    • Bruce
                                      Independent analyst
                                      • Jan 2000
                                      • 10226

                                      John,

                                      I accept that there is a place for both. However, I would rather see relatively insignificant wrecks restored, which have little in the way of original parts in any case, than see a genuine time capsule restored, and much of it thrown away. As it is, it represents so much more than its original purpose.

                                      If one was to paint Stephen Grey's rather lovely P40C, currently airworthy at Duxford, in the exact markings of the aircraft in question, what would be the difference, from your point of view?


                                      Bruce

                                      Comment

                                      • Southern Air99
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • May 2015
                                        • 560

                                        Originally posted by Bruce View Post
                                        John,

                                        I accept that there is a place for both. However, I would rather see relatively insignificant wrecks restored, which have little in the way of original parts in any case, than see a genuine time capsule restored, and much of it thrown away. As it is, it represents so much more than its original purpose.

                                        If one was to paint Stephen Grey's rather lovely P40C, currently airworthy at Duxford, in the exact markings of the aircraft in question, what would be the difference, from your point of view?


                                        Bruce
                                        I was thinking almost exactly the same thing about repainting an existing airframe.
                                        I think in my own humble opinion that the aircraft's remains would look rather more poignant if displayed as part of a suitably well-lit diorama, in an unrestored state with artifacts placed as they were found, showing the cost of war in its brutal reality which will stick in the minds of all who see it including the younger generations.
                                        Perhaps to compromise for the people who wish it to be restored, half the plane/some parts could be restored whereas the rest left unchanged.

                                        Comment

                                        • John Green
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Mar 2011
                                          • 6643

                                          Originally posted by Bruce View Post
                                          John,

                                          I accept that there is a place for both. However, I would rather see relatively insignificant wrecks restored, which have little in the way of original parts in any case, than see a genuine time capsule restored, and much of it thrown away. As it is, it represents so much more than its original purpose.

                                          If one was to paint Stephen Grey's rather lovely P40C, currently airworthy at Duxford, in the exact markings of the aircraft in question, what would be the difference, from your point of view?


                                          Bruce
                                          Setting to one side - with some difficulty - the emotional connection with F/Sgt. Denis Copping, which, in this particular instance, might make all the difference, none whatsoever. Stephen Grey's P40 would perfectly represent the period of history in question during WW2, and because it is an 'alive' artefact would convey that connection to hundreds of thousands of people present at numerous aerial displays up and down the country.

                                          Comment

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