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

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  • l.garey
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Feb 2006
    • 1951

    In post 1003 Dobbins linked to some video which was the first I had seen of the Curtiss plate with number 1035. I am not sure who took this video. Who actually identified that plate first?

    I have said it before and will say it again, I congratulate Daniele and the others in the Italian team for what they did, and for their work in other aspects of war graves in North Africa, but we are not yet at the final conclusion about the lost pilot.
    Laurence

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    • qattara
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • May 2012
      • 52

      dear friends
      First, I apologize for my English, which is helped by a simultaneous translator so many words are inaccurate!
      I wrote coins mistakenly referring to the copper plate.
      I misspelled nephew Copping, I was referring to the relative who lives in ireland.
      I repeat and emphasize that we reported exclusively that we found so hard to give without an identity, I emphasize.
      Copping is one of many that we search in the desert, in some cases with luck, others do not.
      From our sources we know for a fact that Col Collins is NEVER went there, and did not even know where it is!
      all inferences are

      I would like to close this sterile polemics, we have much work to do also for others MIAs.
      * help us as you have seen in a few, if not critical.
      the material (slides, wp etc) is available to Colling and other authorities but then again no one has asked for anything more!
      best beach in Sharm ..... fewer problems!
      The Egyptians now that mubarak is gone will never give on p 40!!!!! now there is an embrional kind of democracy and egyptians don't forget the past protectorate.........

      Comment

      • Snoopy7422
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Oct 2011
        • 840

        Priorities.

        This sorry tale grinds on, and the a/c is still there being picked over. If the pilot has been found, that a nice closeure for all concerned. I'm more than a little surprised if they have found him however, unless he was very close indeed..... The desert is simply vast, as are the odds of finding him. If the remains found are not him, it's a pity, but logically, not surprising. If the remains are not those of the pilot, one must accept that his remains may never be found....
        The idea that efforts to keep looking for the remains of the pilot (It took seventy years to find the much larger a/c..!) - whilst the a/c is picked-clean are illogical. Any idiot with a GPS can find the a/c. It really ought to have been extracted from there by now. Sadly, no amount of hurry will bring the pilot back to life, but further delay and obfuscation, as has already been evidenced, will see the a/c further vandalised.
        It's a great pity that the finders had to blab this to the internet before the a/c was properly recovered. Ideally, the very first port of call should have been the British Embassy.

        Comment

        • l.garey
          Rank 5 Registered User
          • Feb 2006
          • 1951

          Don't worry qattara. Your English is better than my Italian!
          Just 2 points:
          1. You say: From our sources we know for a fact that Col Collins is NEVER went there, and did not even know where it is!

          Do you mean he still has not been there?

          2. You say: the material (slides, wp etc) is available to Colling and other authorities but then again no one has asked for anything more!
          I did ask you privately for photographs of the bones, as a fellow professional, but you told me that for ethical reasons you could not let me see them. I do not want them published on the forum (as this upsets some people, and the family might not wish it), but I would be very grateful to see copies by e-mail.
          Laurence

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          • qattara
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • May 2012
            • 52

            so it was, the Egyptians had imposed silence us so we did! but then someone put on the internet pictures taken with the phone and then sold at 100 pounds each to the British agency that has taken steps to broaden the damage

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            • l.garey
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Feb 2006
              • 1951

              Snoopy: certainly the recovery of the aircraft is important, but the human aspect for the family of the pilot must surely prevail. One problem with the recovery of the aircraft (among many others) is that the remains of the pilot just could still be near the wreck, and its removal could spoil chances of finding, and identifying them. The bones found by qattara might not be those of F/Sgt Copping, as I have said before: human bones near the surface are not that rare in the desert.
              Laurence

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              • qattara
                Rank 5 Registered User
                • May 2012
                • 52

                I would give you very willingly, but expect the relative Copping tell us something, it would be incorrect!
                As soon as we leave the public all

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                • qattara
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • May 2012
                  • 52

                  confirm, nobody visit the place of the bones

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                  • Snoopy7422
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Oct 2011
                    • 840

                    Stones & Bones.

                    Originally posted by l.garey
                    Snoopy: certainly the recovery of the aircraft is important, but the human aspect for the family of the pilot must surely prevail. One problem with the recovery of the aircraft (among many others) is that the remains of the pilot just could still be near the wreck, and its removal could spoil chances of finding, and identifying them. The bones found by qattara might not be those of F/Sgt Copping, as I have said before: human bones near the surface are not that rare in the desert.
                    No. All that's needed for the location of the wreck is a GPS co-ordinate. When it's removed, a small cairn can be constructed from stones to fix the location to the last few yards. At least no one will feel motivated to steal the stones, and frankly, no one is going to travel out there to steal bones either anyway.
                    If these bones and artefacts are suspected of being Coppings, why weren't they simply recovered for identification/elimination? It's still not a logical reason to delay recovery of the a/c any further since we have already seen the damage that the publication and delay have caused.

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                    • Guest's Avatar
                      Guest

                      Laurence is certainly correct in what he suggests. And he is better qualified than anyone else on this forum, I'd suggest, to forumlate a plan of action in relation to the search for the pilot.

                      It would be wrong, I think, to move the P40 without conducting an adjacent and scientific site search first. The P40 is by far secondary in consideration.

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                      • Snoopy7422
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Oct 2011
                        • 840

                        '..is certainly correct..'...?

                        Originally posted by Tangmere1940
                        Laurence is certainly correct in what he suggests. And he is better qualified than anyone else on this forum, I'd suggest, to forumlate a plan of action in relation to the search for the pilot.

                        It would be wrong, I think, to move the P40 without conducting an adjacent and scientific site search first. The P40 is by far secondary in consideration.
                        Well;-

                        Fact 1; More damage has occured in seven weeks than in the preceding seventy years.
                        Fact 2; There is nothing whatever to suggest that the damage will not continue.
                        Fact 3; Unless the remains already found are identified as the pilots, there is no reason whatsoever to expect the pilots remains to be found within any sensible timeframe.
                        Fact 4; '..is certainly correct..' - is just your opinion, not a fact.

                        This isn't a search in the local allotments. To find the body would require either a large dose of luck, or vast resources. In the absence of the latter, one can hardly rely on the former.
                        Now let us suppose, just for a moment, that the pilot had an emergency supply of water with him, as is highly probable. If he had enough water for say only three days, he might have waited 24hrs. (Less, of course, if he mistakenly believed that he was close to help.) If he set-off then, walking only at night with perhaps part of the parachute as a sun-shelter and blanket, he may have covered 20 to 30 miles a night. We also know (For a fact)that when he set-off in the P40, he flew in completely the wrong direction.... We might also reasonably deduce from that, that he could have also set-off on foot in literally any direction....! That gives us a circle of uncertainty between 80 and 120 miles in diameter. That is, to say the least, a lot of desert in which this mans body might be. If he had more water, then the circle of uncertainty must be much bigger, as the growth is exponential.
                        That doesn't even factor-in other possible scenarios, such as him bumping into other people, Allied or Axis, all of whom, along with him, subsequently perished - for whatever reason. There was, after all, a war on...

                        Either way, these are two separate matters. Removing the a/c is likely to have little or no bearing on finding the remains of the pilot, so further delay is pretty pointless. In fact it could possibly help matters. There is a small possibility that under all that sand inside the a/c, he may have left a note, indicating the compass-bearing that he was setting out on.

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                          Snoopy

                          I didn't exactly suggest this is a search in the local allotments and I agree with your estimation regarding luck and resources. But those with knowledge of such matters remain optimistic and believe such a discovery to be possible. Thus, that aspect should take priority over all else. As to your facts:

                          Fact 1 - agreed
                          Fact 2 - agreed
                          Fact 3 - not neccesarily the case
                          Fact 4 - I base my opinion on the knowledge of Laurence's experience (and I hope I don't embarrass him!) as a medical examiner in the middle east, as a pilot, as someone with extensive knowledge of the Sahara and as a forensic osteologist. In hindsight, I should have qualified my reasons for saying he was "certainly correct". It may have been better to say "he is almost certainly without doubt the most qualified person on this forum to have an opinion in this specific matter."

                          You miss out Fact 5 - that the pilot is inestimably more important and significant than the P40 and that those with forensic osteological and desert experience should be listened to.

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                          • l.garey
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Feb 2006
                            • 1951

                            I want to dispell any misunderstandings. It is true that I have some experience in some of the fields perhaps needed for this investigation. Maybe Tangmere goes a bit too far in saying "better qualified" etc. I am sure that there are others who would do just as good a job, if ever we get around to the job. I certainly agree with Snoopy that the task of finding the pilot's remains (if they turn out not to be those found by the Italian team) is potentially enormous. I would not want to downplay that.
                            Laurence

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                            • Snoopy7422
                              Rank 5 Registered User
                              • Oct 2011
                              • 840

                              Fiddling while Rome burns.

                              You have quite a job on your hands, as the battlefields of just that one war are littered with literaly millions of corpses. There will be many, many thousands out there in North Africa alone.... You'd better get your bucket and spade out.
                              I'm as grateful as anyone for what they did, but as someone with aircrew relatives out there, somewhere, I can say I'm not comfortable with the mawkish interest in disenterring the bodies of the fallen. It certainly won't bring them back to life. If they are disturbed, sure, re-bury properly with digity and respect, whatever side they came from. Otherwise it's pretty pointless.
                              I really hope this chaps body does turn-up, - now that expectations have been aroused and inflated by all the speculation on the web, but it doesn't need to turn into another TIGHAR/Earhart-style hunt just to satisfy a few enthusiasts.
                              Back in the 1970's, I spent months out in the desert and saw plenty of remains from the war. I'm sure if we'd have dug around in the sands, we'd have distrubed human remains. Thankfully, we didn't feel impelled to do so. We just looked and moved-on and left the stillness and silence the close back over them.
                              '...the pilot is inestimably more important and significant..', no, not a 'fact', just your opinion. The word 'more' is irrellevant.
                              Coppings name will already be on a memorial somewhere. He isn't ignored or forgotten, and certainly won't be after his kite turned-up from so long ago. Recovering it and ensuring that it doesn't end-up in a scrapyard, wrecked (As is happening), will be his most effective memorial. If the lads body turns-up, it's a fortunate plus that wouldn't have occured if the a/c hadn't have been spotted. None of this is a logical reason for any serious delay.

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                                Snoopy

                                I agree that the job is enormous in terms of looking for Copping. I don't think anyone has ever down-played that.

                                I also agree that it is my opinion that finding poor old Copping is more important than the P40. I suspect others may agree with me. Others, like your good self, may not.

                                I don't think, either, that any 'delay' as such in recovering the P40 is being advocated by Laurence; rather that the scientific and forensic search of the immediate environs of the crash site are conducted immediately prior to any recovery - and not that searches should be conducted ad-infinitum until he is found and then, and only then, should the P40 be recovered. Far from it! Thus the two operations would be conducted in concert.

                                As for "Fiddling whilst Rome Burns"....that may be applicable to those who are hand-wringing about the P40 from behind their PC monitors. There are those who are doing a very great deal behind the scenes (rather than just their PC monitors) to bring some conclusion to this story, I can absolutely assure you.

                                Other than that, there isn't a great deal of merit (in my opinion, of course...not a fact) in debating our opposed views on this.

                                Whatever will be will be, in terms of the overall project - and in that context I include the pilot and his P40.

                                I would also agree that whatever the outcome (ie whether Copping is found or not) the mere discovery of his P40 will ensure he is never forgotten; and that is also whether the P40 is recovered or not, or where it ends up. Just an opinion. Not a fact.

                                Comment

                                • Mark_pilkington
                                  Rank 9999 Registered User
                                  • Jun 2004
                                  • 1791

                                  I assume its all relating to difficulties in diplomacy with the new Egyptian government or the military behind it, but I would have thought searching for the pilots remains and recovering the aircraft would be a relatively minor cost for UK Defence even while the Olympics and the GFC/Euro meltdown is occuring?, and that cost is not the issue?

                                  - Surely the "British Flag waving" and Government "pats on the back" that are laying there to be taken in pursuing this outcome of searching for/locating the pilots remains, as well as recovering the aircraft, - would have had the problem solved? and UK searchers on the ground some time ago?

                                  Hopefully its not being intentionally delayed by a spindoctor to await the Olympic photo opportunities to be exhausted before this project is given the green light?

                                  regards

                                  Mark Pilkington
                                  "Never has a Country so Big!, owed so Much!, to those who Flew!"

                                  Comment

                                  • qattara
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • May 2012
                                    • 52

                                    dear friends
                                    There are many inaccuracies in the story of the wingman Copping about the affair.
                                    I need to know from you where can I find information about the status of service Copping, the story of 260 SQD in africa etc.
                                    Who can help me?

                                    Comment

                                    • shepsair
                                      Rank 5 Registered User
                                      • Oct 2009
                                      • 284

                                      P40

                                      Hi Qattara,

                                      I am just trying to fathom why you think the wing man Sheppard's account is not correct as he was actually there?

                                      I appreciate it was from a book he published 45 years later but is also collaborated by official documents at the time (his log book and loss record) which seem to confirm the story?!

                                      260Sqn records are very limited (there was no adjutant at the time) and record nothing.

                                      The only thing unclear is possibly the reprimand by the pilot by the C/O for damaging the aircraft (though I have still seen no evidence) and if as reported elsewhere does not seem to be classed as pilot error. What is known as three P40's were damaged on a reconnaissance flight on the morning of the 28th June (by light accurate flak) and two (assumed to be two of the three including ET574) were then flown back to 53RSU for repair, with replacements due to be picked up.

                                      Sheppard's log book confirmed Copping flew the wrong way and could not be turned. The loss report indicates the direction of travel (240 degrees instead of 110 degrees again the wrong direction). These were written at the time.

                                      I have not seen any evidence to contradict this.

                                      If the starboard undercarriage is in the wheel well, then it looks as though Copping did attempt to retract the undercarriage which seems highly sensible and was a standard procedure. (The undercarriage was confirmed as locked down for the transfer flight). If the starboard leg did retract (you confirmed it was in the wheel well??), the damage port definitely did not and this was sheared off in the force landing.

                                      Would be interesting to know you thoughts on his loss which is different to the available evidence?

                                      regards

                                      Mark

                                      Comment

                                      • qattara
                                        Rank 5 Registered User
                                        • May 2012
                                        • 52

                                        hi
                                        no, in my opinion there is somethings wrong.
                                        I repeat, I have not seen all the documents (in fact I asked to see them).
                                        The landing gear was retracted surely, the radio was working
                                        he landed on a rocky point near where there was a valley of sand, so he made a forced landing unmanned
                                        then also the version of the follower is inaccurate, thundering on the route could not see the Qattara Depression to the right.
                                        I would read all the documents available.

                                        Comment

                                        • qattara
                                          Rank 5 Registered User
                                          • May 2012
                                          • 52


                                          if you can, can you send me the documents available?
                                          by my two records i read that marseille, 27.06.42, engaged fighter with 2 p40 over el daba
                                          the same at the end of may 42
                                          from log book i found in british archive, nothing is written about 27 28 june 42
                                          how many months copping stayed in africa?
                                          thanks for all

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