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

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  • Bruce
    Independent analyst
    • Jan 2000
    • 10219

    Here's a little scenario...

    Aircraft comes into land; wheels down as we know.

    Hits hidden rocks, wiping off the undercarriage.

    Crash switch actuates, detonating the IFF, and causing the fragmentation damage to the rear fuselage

    Explosion blows open the hatch, causing the damage to the extended latch plate as can be seen.

    Explosion also destroys radio

    Pilot climbs out, and removes radio in order to try and raise help. He dismantles battery to try to get appropriate power to the relevant circuits, but to no avail....


    Thoughts?

    Comment

    • shepsair
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Oct 2009
      • 284

      P40

      Bruce

      All feasible.

      Would have thought the damage to the rear fuselage from the distortion is what popped the hatch, not an IFF explosion. Would have thought they would have been more distortion if that powerful.

      Whether flak or not from the flight 28th June - need to see pic of lower fuselage to see if there is an entry hole.

      regards

      Mark

      Comment

      • ozjag
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Apr 2007
        • 834

        Bruce

        To my eye the battery dismantling appears to be a recent occurrence (after it was found) as opposed to something from 70 years ago, maybe the army guys who removed the ammo couldn't read English very well and thought they were flares or something - who knows? The cardboard looks to be in too good condition with the writing clearly visible, I can't imagine this to have been ourside for that long.

        Paul
        Facebook: Aussie Cockpits

        Comment

        • Bruce
          Independent analyst
          • Jan 2000
          • 10219

          My thought is that the whole thing was covered by a dune, so it would have protected the whole thing quite well.

          If the battery had been in one piece, it would have been obvious that it wasnt armament of any description.....



          Bruce

          Comment

          • currawong
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Apr 2012
            • 35

            IF it is F/Sgt Coppings machine -

            flight of two battle damaged aircraft from LG-85 to LG-100 for repairs 30-40 minute trip F/Sgt Copping leading.

            Once airbourne gear would not retract. Also took up a heading approx 90 deg to what would be expected.

            All attempts at contact by radio down to hand signals ineffective. Second aircraft then obliged to break off and head the right direction, arriving LG-100 1 hr 50 mins later.

            Comment

            • paulmcmillan
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Jan 2000
              • 2638

              "flight of two battle damaged aircraft from LG-85 "

              Interesting all indications I have so far say they took off originally from LG-09 (where 260 Sqn were based at the time)

              So did they stop en route at LG 85, Amriya South, Egypt?
              Weather - Fair with cloudy patches, clear by early evening.

              Comment

              • shepsair
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • Oct 2009
                • 284

                P40

                Bruce,

                The P40 was on a rocky escarpment. No sand dunes anywhere and literally in the middle of nowhere as you would expect.

                Have also been given the OK to confirm that the Royal Air Force Museum are actively pursuing this P40 (which is probably not surprising for most of us) with the intention to recover and conserve. This is being discussed and dealt with at the highest levels.

                Paul, have also been told it left LG09 and probably in the morning to take two damaged P40's to 53RFU and return with two replacements.

                As for it being recovered, it was still there yesterday :-)

                regards

                Mark

                Comment

                • currawong
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Apr 2012
                  • 35

                  paulmcmillan you are probably right, the account I have shows the line of retreat to be LG-76, 115, 09, 106, 85 in rapid succession, F/Sgt Copping departing the afternoon of the 28th, probably shortly before the move from LG-09 to LG-106 by the looks of it.

                  Comment

                  • Shay
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Oct 2006
                    • 24

                    Originally posted by shepsair
                    Have also been given the OK to confirm that the Royal Air Force Museum are actively pursuing this P40 (which is probably not surprising for most of us) with the intention to recover and conserve. This is being discussed and dealt with at the highest levels.

                    As for it being recovered, it was still there yesterday :-)

                    regards

                    Mark
                    Great News!!

                    Is this to say that the site was visited yesterday? Do we have any confirmation as to the aircraft's serial number yet?

                    Thx

                    Shay
                    ____________
                    Semper Fortis

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                    • Bruce
                      Independent analyst
                      • Jan 2000
                      • 10219

                      Originally posted by shepsair
                      Bruce,

                      The P40 was on a rocky escarpment. No sand dunes anywhere and literally in the middle of nowhere as you would expect.
                      Thank you Mark - It was not particularly evident from the pictures!

                      Regardless, the batteries could have been covered with a layer of sand, but we will see!



                      Bruce

                      Comment

                      • shepsair
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Oct 2009
                        • 284

                        P40

                        Bruce

                        It is a two pronged approach.

                        The RAFM are very interested in the P40 due to its obvious historic significance to the RAF.

                        Due to its location, the MOD are looking at the information available as there is a high probability that there that there is a missing Commonwealth pilot, WHOEVER he is. (Just due to its very remote location).

                        The ID is critical and should be confirmed this week. Would love it to be sooner but will have to wait.

                        Mark

                        Comment

                        • Steve Newman
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Aug 2010
                          • 69

                          Fingers crossed then for a recovery.

                          If the plan is to conserve it and display, then I reckon they should set up a fund as that is something I would definitely contribute to. The very least we could do in recognition of all and any brave men who were faced with those kind of conditions and options when force landing in the middle of nowhere.

                          No matter whose plane it is, or what the outcome was for them, that its been there 70 years shows you how remote it was and what a dreadful set of options it presented the pilot and for those reasons alone well worth the effort of recovery and preservation.

                          Here's hoping

                          Steve

                          Comment

                          • Peter
                            Moderator
                            • Jan 2000
                            • 12496

                            I agree with Bruce, that battery looks like it was removed from inside the aircraft recently and opened up. There is no sun or sand damage apparent on the box.
                            Also, as everyone is scrambling for the ID and also on how or where the aircraft should end up, I just hope that the missing pilot is also not forgotten about and can be found and given the proper burial he deserves thus ending a mission that has spanned 70yrs.!
                            Cheers,Peter
                            "Merlins always drip oil, when they don't....worry!"

                            Comment

                            • Bruce
                              Independent analyst
                              • Jan 2000
                              • 10219

                              No, I thought the battery damage was old...

                              I think the pilot recovery is paramount - recovery of the aircraft is secondary.

                              Bruce

                              Comment

                              • Shay
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Oct 2006
                                • 24

                                Originally posted by Bruce
                                I think the pilot recovery is paramount - recovery of the aircraft is secondary.

                                Bruce
                                Absolutely agree.

                                I hope before the aircraft is moved that a trained team goes in and looks for clues as to the where abouts of the pilot.

                                Does anyone know, has there been an over flight of the crash site area to see if the pilot made a marker or a signal that could be seen from the air?

                                In my mind this would have been one of the first things the pilot might have done as this is where likely help would have come from. Or in the very least tell rescuers what direction he walked off in.

                                What Commonwealth WW2 manual would have covered desert survival for pilots? And is there an online copy?

                                Anyone else notice the external rear view mirror has been removed? Perhaps he took it for signalling.

                                Also the aerial mast and the antenna wire at the tail appeared to have been removed not ripped out. Perhaps he used the wire for rigging up the radio or after he left the aircraft he used it for a snare to eat. Just thought it was worthy of noting that it looked cleanly removed.

                                Shay
                                ____________
                                Semper Fortis

                                Comment

                                • scotavia
                                  scotavia
                                  • Nov 2005
                                  • 2781

                                  This discovery and on going search for the pilot brings a renewed focus on the hazards of operating during wartime in these deserts. I am glad to read here that the opportunity to highlight the sacrifices made has been taken up at high levels and the RAF museum is involved.

                                  Comment

                                  • pat1968
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Apr 2004
                                    • 260

                                    Have i missed something here? Since when did the MOD get involved in searching for missing servicemen from ww2 (or any other war for that matter?) I have heard of numerous instances where known remains in the UK and in other areas of the world have been pinpointed to exact locations only for the 'MOD' to veto any recovery effort? (noble intensions or not) When recoveries have taken place (as i understand it) in a least one case even with the express approval of the servicemens' family the MOD launched a (failed) prosecution and the remains (of the aircraft) were confiscated? I have heard of one case where remains were located underwater and the person who found the wreck on informing the nearest embassy being told to leave well alone despite the offer to recover the pilots remains and give him a decent burial gratis. Don't get me wrong as a former serviceman myself i think the recovery of the poor pilot of this P40 is a noble endeavor (not to mention tens of thousands of other poor soles who perished for our freedom) however I think the likely hood of him being found in such an enormous area after all this time are close to zero. The cost of launching a search in this location and given the political situation in egypt is not insignificant and I am sure there is no way either MOD civilians of current servicemen will be deployed officially in an area where the FCO is advising no one to visit unless it is essential. UK policy on this subject does not cover us (The UK) in glory to say the least and we would do well to take a leaf from some other nations on this. If there has been a shift in policy i for one support that 100% but i have to say i am sceptical.
                                    "Only the dead see the end of the war" Plato

                                    www.hawkerhind.com

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                                    • Guest's Avatar
                                      Guest

                                      Pat

                                      All that you say is absolutely correct.

                                      Unless the remains of the unfortunate pilot are very nearby (and obvious) the MOD do not have either a policy or the organisation to search for him and deal with his recovery. The MOD's JCCC is a very different animal to the USA's JPAC, so unless a special exception is made in this case (Pat has pointed out the political and military considerations in view of the location) I am not sure by what mechanism the MOD will seek out his remains. The recovery of the aircraft itself (as Bruce pointed out) is actually secondary to the unfortunate pilot but even that itself is not exactly going to be easy - on lots of levels. Pat has considerable experience himself of recovering historic aircraft from hot and hostile countries, and it isn't easy as he will testify.

                                      Comment

                                      • waghorn41
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • Mar 2011
                                        • 256

                                        To be honest I think the recovery of the pilot, although full of noble intentions, is unlikely. How far and in which direction would/could he have gone? If you only draw a box 1 mile in each direction you're talking of searching 4 square miles - for what - a few scraps of cloth, metal buttons or buckles and a few bones. If you allow he got as far as two miles it's an area of 16 square miles! And anything is probably buried well under the sand.
                                        ex-RAF Hunter and Wessex mechanic

                                        Comment

                                        • Dobbins
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • Feb 2012
                                          • 448

                                          Originally posted by Shay
                                          Anyone else notice the external rear view mirror has been removed? Perhaps he took it for signalling.

                                          Shay
                                          ____________
                                          Semper Fortis
                                          It's still there. https://picasaweb.google.com/1146825...80413518527250

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