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

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  • detective
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Sep 2013
    • 138

    The poor deceased Copping will have more rest where he lays than any "salvation" will ever bring.

    Comment

    • pat1968
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Apr 2004
      • 260

      Originally posted by snibble View Post
      This is not going to make me popular but please give it a moments thought before bellowing in outrage.
      What is so important about bones? Copping has no further use for them, they have no historical or rarity value. Thousands of men must be buried in the desert and bones could easily be those of an Italian soldier or an unfortunate local. The aircraft is treated as a priority because it is the priority. If it had never been discovered there would have been no thought of looking for the poor chaps remains and his name would have not been on so many lips. If there is an issue of Christian sensibilities then let his church put their money where there mouth is and go find him. Just like the sunken dead under a wreath tossed from a stationary warship Dennis Copping has vanished from human sight. Just like thousands of his comrades and adversaries the desert swallowed him all those years ago. He's in more fitting company there than in some churchyard.
      I think this is an interesting point, I don't agree with your point of view but you are certainly entitled to it. The fact that thousands of men were killed in the dessert doesn't diminish the value of them as individuals. I don't agree that there has never been any thought of searching for the poor chap, as you put it, the family have never stopped thinking about it as have many other families both before and since in respect of their loved ones.

      As for being abandoned in the dessert being fitting i doubt whether many families of lost servicemen would agree with that if given the option of a decent burial and that really is the point here. The Italian team discovered Human remains, the family is well aware of this. Since that point those bones have disappeared. The MOD effectively washed their hands of any responsibility due to government policy, the effort required to validate this was not great. The simple truth is they were not interested.

      With regards to the value of bones if we follow your logic to its ultimate conclusion. What is the point of remembrance day, War memorials, Commonwealth war graves and a million other means of remembering the sacrifices made by others to secure the values and the society in which we live? If the small effort required in this particular case is too much trouble perhaps those values are not what they were?
      Last edited by pat1968; 13th January 2016, 11:45.
      "Only the dead see the end of the war" Plato

      www.hawkerhind.com

      Comment

      • jack windsor
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Dec 2008
        • 921

        Originally posted by snibble View Post
        I have a relative on the L24 and another on HMS Barham. Is it up to me whether a recovery operation is mounted?
        the difference is a war grave... the P-40 is not one, and in this desert location, remains as "close" as these found must be considered a serious proposition. Also it is respectful to Dennis and his family that any chance of recovery and identification must be made, we are told the a/c recovery cost in the region of 120 thousand, how much would be acceptable for Dennis?

        pat1968- well said a sound argument, only wish I could have made one half as good...

        over to you seadog...

        regards,
        jack...

        Comment

        • pat1968
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Apr 2004
          • 260

          Originally posted by Bruce View Post
          I think the point is that the MoD don't routinely search out the remains of the lost. Whether that is right or wrong from a purely moral perspective, doing so for F/S Copping would set a precedent.
          You are quite correct and this is precisely why the MOD took no action at all. This however does not excuse the release of communications to his family that were complete nonsense. They still have a duty of care to them which they failed miserably to perform. I also see no reason to actively discourage attempts to search for and recover remains in a case like this which Is precisely the stance the MOD take on a regular basis.
          Originally posted by Bruce View Post
          Tim Manna has stated that a search was made of the immediate area. Can we realistically expect more from a contractor engaged to recover the aeroplane?
          Yes! As i have pointed in this thread on numerous occasions the recovery could have been handled far better for all concerned, responsibility for that lies squarely with the RAFM. I accept that the remit for the recovery was aircraft first pilot second. I also accept that the recovery team did precisely what they were contracted to do. That is fine but it is disingenuous to then claim the moral high ground and say nothing else could have been done when it is simply not true.

          Originally posted by Bruce View Post
          I would also note that Tim can only speak for himself - not for the MoD and not for the RAFM - engaging him on their behalf is unfair, and unlikely to get us any further.
          Whilst i agree with this statement in general terms, Mr Manna has defended the actions of the then DA who was the MOD agent in Egypt at the time and also the actions of the then DG of the RAFM and the RAFM in general. He has also stated that comments made on this forum and in the media have hindered the negotiations. If the negotiations were led by the DA then he is commenting on the conduct of the MOD. I have merely responded to these comments.
          Last edited by pat1968; 13th January 2016, 11:51.
          "Only the dead see the end of the war" Plato

          www.hawkerhind.com

          Comment

          • H87A-2
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Sep 2009
            • 31

            Firstly I will say that I don't know Tim, PAT1968 or many of you, so I have absolutely no axe to grind, those of you that know me are likely to agree with that.

            Honestly I think if FSGT Copping could read some of the carry on here that he might wonder why he gave his total measure. Between the axes to grind and people basically demanding viability of something that was a commercial contract between two entities this thread seems to have lost its way in regard to the aircraft and missing.

            To me it sounds like the contract for the recovery of the airframe was undertaken very successfully, a minor search was undertaken for the missing pilot within the equipment of the recovery team which sounds like it was not set up to undertake a major search/recovery operation in a hostile (the desert hates everyone equally) environment. As for the costings of such a contract, a price was given, agreed to and paid. Doesn't matter what we think of the overall cost Tim really shouldn't be the target of your frustrations or somewhere to bury your axe.

            As PAT1968 puts it "I have made my personal axe grinding issues quite clear, if you genuinely want the bickering to cease as you see it release the information that was obtained at the crash site and give a full account of your activity and the costs." - Nice mate - there some words for that sort of rubbish here down under but Moggy will likely rearrange my pixels if I say it, so will just say Tim has no requirement to do so. If you want it maybe grab a six pack, head over to Tim's, share a beer and ask nicely, you might get it.

            How about the axes get put back up on the wall, and we get back to discussing the airframe, where it is, who has it, what the future holds for it, and the pilot, whilst hoping for someday a recovery and closure for his family.

            Buz

            Comment

            • Bruce
              Independent analyst
              • Jan 2000
              • 10225

              OK, taking Pat's second point above then - How do we define 'reasonable'? What would be your definition of a reasonable search area? It seems to me that it doesn't actually matter how that is defined - unless and until remains are found - if they are even there to be found, it will never be enough in the eyes of some.

              If the MoD have no policy on recovery of remains, and indeed, actively discourage attempts to recover them as you suggest, then the MoD's representative, ie the RAF Museum cannot in itself authorise a search for remains. I am not saying that is right from a moral standpoint, but trying to get to the bottom of where the responsibility lies. Its looking like government policy to me; dating back for many, many years.

              So, I don't think Tim needs to justify himself any further than he has. He has chosen to enter the fray against his better judgement, but in truth was never in a position to do more than he has. Regardless of whether we approve of his contract, he fulfilled it to the letter.


              Bruce

              Comment

              • Mark12
                MEANS MOTIVE OPPORTUNITY
                • Jan 2000
                • 10863

                Originally posted by pat1968 View Post

                As for being abandoned in the dessert....
                The mind boggles...would that be the sour grapes...if so I'm 'discustard'.

                Please do tell us about "our bid", who was to sponsor it, was it connected with the 'famous three' on the TV series proposal, was it a bid that started from scratch or did it pick up the package negotiated with the Egyptian facilitator by the authorities? Do tell.

                Mark
                "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney"

                Comment

                • jack windsor
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Dec 2008
                  • 921

                  [QUOTE=Lazy8;2286442]Why, though?

                  I've expressed similar thoughts to snibble's on here before, and been on the receiving end of the outrage as a result. It's nice to know that one isn't alone in genuinely failing to understand why some people seem to get into such a lather about this particular case.

                  Of course his remains are important to Sgt Copping's family. Of course we - society as a whole - should do what we can to ensure the family are re-united with his remains so that they can do what they will with them. But everything has it's price, and 'what we can do' may not, practically speaking, be very much. If that's uncomfortable for some of us to admit, it is no less true. I do not see any reason why the unfortunate Sgt Copping merits a whole other level of treatment, especially this long after his demise, compared to that offered for other servicemen lost in the desert, or elsewhere for that matter.

                  What I don't understand is why the question of some bones in the desert is considered more important than the recovery of an aircraft.

                  I think its the word respect, I was taught at a young age to respect what our forces are doing for us and what they did for us. We stood at our local war memorial, traffic stopped, it was showing respect. In my youth 1950-60's we saw men with only 1 arm or 1 leg we were told not to stare so we didn't, but we knew what it meant.
                  2 questions, if it had been a choice of recovering remains, or the a/c( which is close in this case.) what should have been the priority?
                  and another scenario if the pilots remains had been found with his parachute as of a bail out, knowing he was from a P-40 would a search for the a/c have been made?

                  regards,
                  jack...

                  Comment

                  • H87A-2
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Sep 2009
                    • 31

                    Originally posted by jack windsor View Post
                    2 questions, if it had been a choice of recovering remains, or the a/c( which is close in this case.) what should have been the priority?
                    and another scenario if the pilots remains had been found with his parachute as of a bail out, knowing he was from a P-40 would a search for the a/c have been made?
                    Thats an easy one Jack - If pilot located, pilot first, airframe second.......or both at the same time to keep costs down (if the airframe is to be recovered).

                    The other scenario - Pilots remains found with parachute - if you can id the pilot, then the airframe is something that can be looked for through other technical means should the want exist. If you can't ID the pilot the airframe may help identify him and therefore looked for (within reasons to assist in the identification).

                    I have quite a number of missing P-40 pilots within my records, would love to see them recovered in time, but alas that is just a dream. Same for airframes, I know of a number that could be possibilities for recovery, but time, Political climate and other factors will mean that they will forever remain where they are.

                    Buz

                    Comment

                    • pat1968
                      Rank 5 Registered User
                      • Apr 2004
                      • 260

                      Originally posted by Mark12 View Post
                      The mind boggles...would that be the sour grapes...if so I'm 'discustard'.

                      Please do tell us about "our bid", who was to sponsor it, was it connected with the 'famous three' on the TV series proposal, was it a bid that started from scratch or did it pick up the package negotiated with the Egyptian facilitator by the authorities? Do tell.

                      Mark
                      Wow that was the only typo you could find in that entire post, I must be good!

                      As for your question this has been answered in this thread, please feel free to reread it. In a nutshell the bid was put together by a major production company led by an editor who is now a commissioning editor for one of the big five terrestrial channels. This production company was experienced at working in Egypt and had extensive contacts within Egypt to facilitate the project.
                      "Only the dead see the end of the war" Plato

                      www.hawkerhind.com

                      Comment

                      • Lazy8
                        Adrian Constable
                        • Apr 2012
                        • 563

                        Respect. Indeed. I was taught the same, albeit a few years later than Jack. I disagree that it's about respect. Taking one of Pat's earlier points, I also disagree that you actually need to physically recover any one set of bones in order to somehow validate the process of rememberance and so forth. In as much as we do still venerate relics, isn't that what the tomb of the Unknown Soldier (or Warrior, if you prefer) is about?

                        To answer Jack's questions:
                        Firstly, if the remains of the pilot had been found with the aircraft, or found at the same time as the aircraft, then of course he should have been recovered along with the aircraft. I don't think I've seen anybody suggest otherwise. It would appear that the bones which were found were some considerable distance away and of unverified provenance. [Insert your favourite conspiracy theory here.] The fact reamins that the bones are not presently recoverable, and given that their provenance remains unproven.
                        The second scenario is perhaps the reverse of what we are dealing with here. However, it's an interesting question. There are a recorded few instances of pilotless aircraft making perfectly good landings after a bail-out (a certain F-106 comes readily to mind), but for the most part when deprived of the guiding hand aircraft have a tendency to reduce themselves to piles of mangled scrap in fairly short order. What would have been worth searching for? Aircraft are generally also rather speedier than people on foot, so unless it was obvious and close the potential search area would have been unimaginably vast. Whose resources would you commit to the search?

                        Comment

                        • TonyL1962
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Mar 2014
                          • 84

                          There are a couple of issues that I can see.

                          First there appears to be no British organisation similar to those of other nations, whose responsibility is specifically the recovery of MIA remains - if there is, then it is inadequately funded and does not go to the same lengths, and does not have the same support, as those of other nations. Getting this organisation established requires government support - pushed by British public support. The failure to pursue Dennis Copping's remains merely highlights this deficiency. MIA recovery is certainly not the RAFM's reason for being - and yes, because there isn't a proper body to do so, the MOD's handling of statements etc was decidedly poor.

                          The outrage over Dennis Copping's remains surely stems from the fact that bones that could have been his WERE found, along with other personal relics that would appear to have been his. If nothing had been found, or taken by others, I'm sure there would be greater acceptance of the searches that have been conducted. ARIDO reported that there was every indication that Dennis Copping had left the crash site. I assume that the recovery team did not have the locations of the remains seen by ARIDO, or they would have visited the site.

                          It's one thing to arrange and get permissions to recover and remove an object like a plane. It's a whole different problem to recover and possibly remove human remains from someone else's country. Really the only people who have immediate remit to do it are the Egyptians themselves. If ARIDO's reports are correct, this is exactly what the Egyptians have done, and no doubt they have the ability to do this professionally - ARIDO says the remains that they saw are gone (and presumably after the initial recoveries for samples for DNA work). Tim - I would take a guess that even if you had found human remains you would not have had permissions from the Egyptians to recover them? Presumably police presence and that of a coroner (or equivalent) is required in Egypt, as in Britain, to recover relatively recent human remains.

                          So there's a few questions that could be asked (and this is a repeat of what has been said from time to time previously I think):

                          Where are the bones now - what happens to recovered human remains in Egypt?
                          Who did the recovery of human remains?
                          Who did the DNA testing?
                          Who would be the people to talk to nicely about this in Egypt?
                          In terms of the plane, what were the plans to move it onward from El Alamein? Did the Egyptian authorities decide to keep it for their museum?

                          Are the answers to all these questions just lost in the staff changes that occurred within Egyptian state departments following following the change in Egyptian government? I suspect there are people who know, but just don't want to say right now because of the finger pointing that then goes down.
                          Last edited by TonyL1962; 13th January 2016, 12:53.

                          Comment

                          • pat1968
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Apr 2004
                            • 260

                            Originally posted by H87A-2 View Post

                            Honestly I think if FSGT Copping could read some of the carry on here that he might wonder why he gave his total measure. Between the axes to grind and people basically demanding viability of something that was a commercial contract between two entities this thread seems to have lost its way in regard to the aircraft and missing.

                            To me it sounds like the contract for the recovery of the airframe was undertaken very successfully, a minor search was undertaken for the missing pilot within the equipment of the recovery team which sounds like it was not set up to undertake a major search/recovery operation in a hostile (the desert hates everyone equally) environment. As for the costings of such a contract, a price was given, agreed to and paid. Doesn't matter what we think of the overall cost Tim really shouldn't be the target of your frustrations or somewhere to bury your axe.
                            I am not sure how things work in Australia but when public money is spent in the UK by a government entity or a government funded entity in this case. The public have a right to know how it is spent. I certainly don't and never have (in fact I have gone out of my way to labour the point) blamed Mr Manna for entering into the deal that he did with the RAFM. As far as i am concerned that was their decision and they should account for it not anyone else. As i have said I would have taken the deal, i think it was a good one. As far as the sums involved other than a passing interest in how it ended up costing in excess of 120K I genuinely don't care.

                            I also do not think Mr Manna owes me anything quite the opposite, Just for absolute clarity as i have said on a number of occasions now my criticism of Mr Manna begins and ends with that fact that he gave a public speech about the recovery before that information was made available to the family. My point is, and you could equally use your unprintable antipodean phrase to describe it, the notion that given the turn of events if you are not going to answer the obvious questions that your involvement raises, other than to tell us all we don't have a clue, then the controversy is highly unlikely to go away and the bickering stop.
                            Last edited by pat1968; 13th January 2016, 12:58.
                            "Only the dead see the end of the war" Plato

                            www.hawkerhind.com

                            Comment

                            • snibble
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Mar 2015
                              • 122

                              Originally posted by TonyL1962 View Post
                              There are a couple of issues that I can see.

                              First there appears to be no British organisation similar to those of other nations, whose responsibility is specifically the recovery of MIA remains - if there is, then it is inadequately funded and does not go to the same lengths, and does not have the same support, as those of other nations. Getting this organisation established requires government support - pushed by British public support. The failure to pursue Dennis Copping's remains merely highlights this deficiency. MIA recovery is certainly not the RAFM's reason for being - and yes, because there isn't a proper body to do so, the MOD's handling of statements etc was decidedly poor.
                              There is no such organisation as far as I know. Historically the British fighting man lies where he falls. Not literally of course, but certainly in theatre. I believe this tradition was broken in the aftermath of the 1982 war when some remains were repatriated and this has since become the norm. I may be wrong but I believe that to be the case. A modern Tommy serving overseas would expect in the event of his death to be repatriated to his loved ones. In the 1940s I think they would have found it unfathomable. There are many American servicemen buried here in England, should they go home? or is it enough that they lie among friends in a free country? If it is a proper respectful commitment to eternity that is needed then is not a ceremony at the edge of the desert for ALL the fallen appropriate, just as over the sunken ship? We really should not superimpose modern sensibilities retrospectively. His family may find it helps to travel to the crash site and place a cairn or something, plenty of people have gone to the site of a loved one's demise to pay respects and I would suggest that presuming the aircraft doesn't remain hidden for another 70 years will have a better and more appropriate memorial than most.

                              Comment

                              • Guest's Avatar
                                Guest

                                To clarify, because I think there has been some misinformation in this respect, but in the event that Flt Sgt Copping's remains were found or identified then they would not be 'repatriated' as has frequently been stated.

                                He would be buried in theatre (at El Alamein) with a military funeral at the cost of HMG and relatives flown out to the ceremony by MOD.

                                Comment

                                • snibble
                                  Rank 5 Registered User
                                  • Mar 2015
                                  • 122

                                  Originally posted by Tangmere1940 View Post
                                  To clarify, because I think there has been some misinformation in this respect, but in the event that Flt Sgt Copping's remains were found or identified then they would not be 'repatriated' as has frequently been stated.

                                  He would be buried in theatre (at El Alamein) with a military funeral at the cost of HMG and relatives flown out to the ceremony by MOD.
                                  Very appropriate. I think that's just the job but still fail to see why the bones need to be present.

                                  Comment

                                  • Guest's Avatar
                                    Guest

                                    It is very likely they never will be. However, this is something important to many families and certainly Flt Sgt Copping's. Perhaps it would not be important to other families, but it overwhelmingly is!

                                    Comment

                                    • snibble
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Mar 2015
                                      • 122

                                      Perhaps this is why the MOD discourage searching out remains. Maybe they'd rather spend the budget flying Typhoons than shuttling the descendants of servicemen around the world.

                                      Comment

                                      • Mark12
                                        MEANS MOTIVE OPPORTUNITY
                                        • Jan 2000
                                        • 10863

                                        Originally posted by pat1968 View Post
                                        Wow that was the only typo you could find in that entire post, I must be good!

                                        As for your question this has been answered in this thread, please feel free to reread it. In a nutshell the bid was put together by a major production company led by an editor who is now a commissioning editor for one of the big five terrestrial channels. This production company was experienced at working in Egypt and had extensive contacts within Egypt to facilitate the project.
                                        Don't flatter yourself, there were closer to ten punctuation and spelling errors.

                                        The fact is, as I understand it, the RAFMus, with time of the essence, had more confidence of success in a package on the table negotiated for them with the Egyptian facilitators than the less credible alternatives, weighed down with media people and hubbub...but they did not have the budget to cover it. As there was an equivalence between the package price and an independent valuation of one of the trading Spitfires in the RAFMus collection, and an ongoing discussion on it in progress, a deal was struck with Kennet Aviation. Kennet did not negotiate the Egyptian facilitator's cost. Kennet do not need another Spitfire but it totally resolved the issues of no budget on the one hand and the missing wings for the Seafire 46 on the other, which can now be reverse engineered in the restoration process.

                                        So tell us pat1968, please give us a 'broad brush' breakdown from your considerable experience of your estimate to recover said P-40 from the desert to the museum at El Alamein.

                                        Mark
                                        "...the story had been forensically examined and was deeply impressive. I knew that the whole story was a load of myth and baloney"

                                        Comment

                                        • pat1968
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Apr 2004
                                          • 260

                                          Originally posted by Mark12 View Post
                                          Don't flatter yourself, there were closer to ten punctuation and spelling errors.

                                          The fact is, as I understand it, the RAFMus, with time of the essence, had more confidence of success in a package on the table negotiated for them with the Egyptian facilitators than the less credible alternatives, weighed down with media people and hubbub...but they did not have the budget to cover it. As there was an equivalence between the package price and an independent valuation of one of the trading Spitfires in the RAFMus collection, and an ongoing discussion on it in progress, a deal was struck with Kennet Aviation. Kennet did not negotiate the Egyptian facilitator's cost. Kennet do not need another Spitfire but it totally resolved the issues of no budget on the one hand and the missing wings for the Seafire 46 on the other, which can now be reverse engineered in the restoration process.
                                          Mark
                                          I am more than happy with where the spitfire has ended up good luck to them. As far as the RAFM reviewing credible alternatives, the fact that the man who dismissed those options no longer has a job tells me the trustees might feel differently!

                                          Originally posted by Mark12 View Post
                                          So tell us pat1968, please give us a 'broad brush' breakdown from your considerable experience of your estimate to recover said P-40 from the desert to the museum at El Alamein.
                                          Mark

                                          You mean you didn't get all of that information from the emails you sent out over the weekend to people involved in the Afghan recovery? What did they tell you?
                                          Last edited by pat1968; 13th January 2016, 15:16.
                                          "Only the dead see the end of the war" Plato

                                          www.hawkerhind.com

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