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

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    David Kavangh - a pity that nobody commented on the photograph, but thank you for posting it. The whole issue centres around Flt Sgt Copping and so to be reminded of him in this way is important.

    John Green - the CWGC sadly have no influence or remit in such matters. Their Royal Charter is specific and is for the burial and commemoration of Commonwealth war dead, not in the recovery of their remains.

    Comment

    • Bruce
      Independent analyst
      • Jan 2000
      • 10222

      Originally posted by TonyT View Post
      At least when they plundered King Tuts Grave site, they had the decency to take King Tut as well...
      What on earth does that have to do with anything?

      Regrettably, the remains of Sgt Copping were not found in the aircraft. It is fair to say that the team that recovered the aircraft would have carried out a search in the immediate area to ascertain if there were any human remains. Had they found any, I have no doubt whatever, that we would have heard about it by now.

      For clarity - I agree that decisions made by governmental bodies should be scrutinised - but only in a historical context. We cannot, in any business - and the RAFM, and Tim Manna's company are businesses, expect to judge them on operational matters as they arise. As I said above, nothing would ever get done! Sensitive issues would never get dealt with at all. There would indeed be even less chance of finding the likes of Dennis Copping were this the case. If the contract were merely to move the aircraft to a place of safety, it would be appropriate to make a Freedom of information request. However, if the business is ongoing, it would be quite appropriate that such a request would be denied. Lastly, the appropriate place to question such issues is hardly on an enthusiasts forum with no teeth, but is through the MoD, and your own MP.

      I have no need to question my humanity - on any level. Perhaps it is more appropriate to consider UK Govt policy with regard to the fallen, as against that of the USA. That may be where your answers (or lack of them) lie.


      Bruce

      Comment

      • David Burke
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Jan 2000
        • 10027

        Due to a lack of the lectures on the recovery of the P-40 being aired in the U.K -we are not aware on the level of search carried out . With the dismantling of the aircraft being carried out at night one can only speculate that daytime temperatures would have precluded any sizeable search to be carried out.
        Regards the business side of things -yet again the RAFM is a part of the Mod -it is not a business -it doesn't exist to make a profit. It might carry out commercial activities but they are on the basis of it's charitable status. It has trustee's and is open to both public and government scrutiny. Any notion that it can carry out activities with a degree of secrecy are untrue -a FOI request might well be enlightening.

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        • Guest's Avatar
          Guest

          Personally, Bruce, I am only really interested in the matter of Flt Sgt Copping. The matter of the P40 is generally only of passing interest and curioisity to me and, I believe, to many others. Except insofar as it might be relevant to the question of solving what happened to him, the P40 is not relevant. Unfortunately, though, it does seem that the P40 is regarded as the most important issue here. And rather curiously there does seem to be a certain level of defensiveness and sensitivity that some of us have detected, and almost a 'tetchiness', when the subject of the P40 itself is raised. No doubt there is a reason for that. On the other hand, the matter of Flt Sgt Copping seems to be dealt with dismissively by some. But it might just be me.

          In respect of UK Govt policy to the fallen, I am not sure (generally) that this makes one iota of difference to the manner in which this has been handled (or rather mishandled) by the various governmental agencies involved. For the sake of clarity, I don't include RAFM in that statement.
          Last edited by Tangmere1940; 2nd November 2013, 23:36.

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          • dko
            dko
            Rank 5 Registered User
            • Nov 2012
            • 94

            It is clear that the publisher, the forum and moderators have different interests from us about
            this story so it creates a classic case of "Conflict of interest"!

            Comment

            • TonyT
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Oct 2006
              • 9022

              Bruce I mean in the fact when the P40 was recovered the remains close by were known about, but it seems more of a selective removal of the choice valuable items whilst sod the expense of investigating the remains. At least with King Tut they didn't remove his Mask then dump his body out onto the floor.. The tragedy is that although King Tut doesn't have surviving relatives, this chap does and they would like some closure.
              Last edited by TonyT; 3rd November 2013, 12:09.

              Comment

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

                When the aircraft was removed the exact site of the bones was known only to the Arido team, as far as I was told. The removal team would not have known where they were, except their distance of some 8 km, nor was that their remit.
                Laurence

                Comment

                • Moggy C
                  Moderator
                  • Jan 2000
                  • 20534

                  Originally posted by dko View Post
                  It is clear that the publisher, the forum and moderators have different interests from us about
                  this story
                  The moderators do not "have different interests from us"

                  When not moderating each of us has our own opinions and thoughts. Thus we are part of the forum, just as you are.

                  It is impossible for "the forum" to have different opinions from "us" as every "us" is still a constituent part of "the forum"

                  The publisher is the one that is pressured from time to time by outside interests.

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

                  Comment

                  • TonyT
                    Rank 5 Registered User
                    • Oct 2006
                    • 9022

                    Yes, but I Garey, widely known on the web they had them, the RAF or Museum could have asked them for the location to recover at the same time.




                    .
                    Last edited by TonyT; 3rd November 2013, 13:03.

                    Comment

                    • Peter
                      Moderator
                      • Jan 2000
                      • 12507

                      What an absolute silly thing to say....

                      Originally posted by dko View Post
                      It is clear that the publisher, the forum and moderators have different interests from us about
                      this story so it creates a classic case of "Conflict of interest"!
                      Cheers,Peter
                      "Merlins always drip oil, when they don't....worry!"

                      Comment

                      • Bruce
                        Independent analyst
                        • Jan 2000
                        • 10222

                        Yes, but I Garey, widely known on the web they had them, the RAF or Museum could have asked them for the location to recover at the same time.
                        They did, and have continued to ask on many occasions, without success.

                        There are clearly agendas here over which none of us have any control.

                        Andy, just to be quite clear, although I am in contact with a number of people who are involved in the recovery of the P40, my words are entirely my own, as is my interpretation of events. Whether there is still sensitivity over the recovery of the aircraft I have no idea, though as I say, I see no end to the story for some time yet.

                        I continue to assert that whether the RAFM are part of a government body or not, I would not expect the work they do to be under constant public review, especially where it may give an advantage to another firm or individual.

                        Comment

                        • jeepman
                          infrequent poster now
                          • Apr 2004
                          • 1982

                          Section 43 of the FoI Act has this covered

                          http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/...exemptions.pdf
                          JM

                          Comment

                          • David Burke
                            Rank 5 Registered User
                            • Jan 2000
                            • 10027

                            Whilst its nice to think that there is a need for 'commercial confidentiality' on the recovery of this aircraft -the reality might well be that the consequences of unstable governments and an inability to obtain the necessary export permits might well have left the RAFM with little or no chance of every seeing a P-40 sat at Hendon on a few tonnes of sand. It might well be a case where the RAFM could clear the air on the whole episode - there doesn't seem to have been any reluctance to publicise the New Zealand deal or the Dornier wreckage which both involved commercial interests.

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                            • Guest's Avatar
                              Guest

                              There is no 'commercial sensitivity' over the matter of the pilot, so maybe a FOI request in respect of a full accounting of all that has gone on might be worth considering? After all, far more important than his P40.

                              A great deal of angst seems to be being expended over the matter of the P40 and confidentiality issues, with talk of FOI requests and the like. Comments on another thread, and here, makes one wonder; is there something more than 'commercial sensitivity' somebody wants to hide, here? Surely, the P40 was out of the desert well over a year ago. Discussion of its recovery was banned during the period of its extraction from the desert, but with that ban lifted on this forum and the discussion re-instated then it seems odd there is still 'sensitivity'.

                              However, my main interest lies with the case of Flt Sgt Copping but given the shenanigans we have seen over that matter then I can't help raising an eyebrow over the continued clamp-down on information about the P40. After all, aspects relating to the aircraft and the crash scene may well be relevant to the mystery of Flt Sgt Copping. But it seems that not only have the family been lied to and misled over the question of the remains, but any information about the P40 he was lost in have been denied them as well. Most odd. Most unsatisfactory.

                              Comment

                              • dko
                                dko
                                Rank 5 Registered User
                                • Nov 2012
                                • 94

                                Originally posted by Peter View Post
                                What an absolute silly thing to say....
                                Peter,
                                it may be a silly thing to say but....... sometimes stupid things contain the truth!

                                Comment

                                • Bruce
                                  Independent analyst
                                  • Jan 2000
                                  • 10222

                                  Hardly - there is no conflict of interest here - for the simple reason that we cannot affect the outcome one iota.

                                  Those who do have the co-ordinates for the human remains should ensure they are passed on, so that a suitable test can be arranged. As far as I know, this has not been done as yet, and until the remains identified by the Italian team can be properly investigated then we will get no further forward.

                                  Perhaps there is a reason behind this - I really don't know. It does however make me very suspicious; the very fact that remains (and I am in no doubt, thanks to Lawrence that the remains shown were human) were found on a seemingly random search away from the crashsite, in searingly hot temperatures makes me wonder. A veritable needle in a haystack, yet something was found. Wasn't it?

                                  Andy, yes the pilot is of course the important thing; but there is obfuscation on all sides here.

                                  David - RAFM have made it clear that they wish to recover the aircraft to the UK - it is their stated aim. The fact that it isn't in the UK suggests that the project is not at an end, and thus any deal they have in place remains commercially sensitive.

                                  As far as I am aware, the full details of the A20 exchange, or indeed the recovery of the Dornier, and the funding required for it are not in the public domain as yet?


                                  Bruce

                                  Comment

                                  • David Burke
                                    Rank 5 Registered User
                                    • Jan 2000
                                    • 10027

                                    The finding of human remains close to the P-40 seems for some odd reason to raise doubt. What is certain is the the unfortunate pilot had a limited supply of water - possibly a degree of uncertainty as to what direction to take and a very short time to stay alive in searing heat. That the group responsible for finding the P-40 should find human remains doesn't seem a huge supprise even with a limited amount of geographical information a search area could be deduced on the basis of human nature to take the easiest path through terrain possibly in the direction of a settlement seen in the last moments of flight.

                                    As for the deal to recover the P-40 . Looking at the political uncertainty in Egypt -its clear that any commercial interest has little of no influence on affairs in the country. I should imagine any exchange deal would be carried out on the basis of the deal being consumated on the P-40 arrival.

                                    Regards the other deals -the Dornier is well documented including a 345K donation from Heritage Lottery and other sums from EADS and other companies. There is no commercial confidentiality on where the money came from. As for the A-20 -the deal was in exchange for a Stafford Spitfire project (MK.XVI if I recall correctly) but
                                    sadly with the death of a leading light in the project it has slowed somewhat.

                                    Comment

                                    • Bruce
                                      Independent analyst
                                      • Jan 2000
                                      • 10222

                                      David,

                                      The remains were found 8km from the aircraft - (or was it 5) anyway, it is at a pretty considerable distance! In a featureless landscape, with little in the way of visual markers, I find it quite incredible that a team who were there for one or two days at most, would stumble upon human remains pertaining to the pilot at such a distance.

                                      To my mind, the scenarios that cover this are:

                                      i) Pure dumb luck - yes, it happens, but....
                                      ii) They were told where to look by indigenous people
                                      iii) Human remains were planted to make a good story.

                                      I quite agree that the only way to find out for sure is to have the remains tested. As the Italian group has not passed the location on to anyone, despite requests from the authorities, this has not happened, whatever might have been said. I don't know why the location hasn't been passed on, but having considered ii) above to be the likeliest scenario, I am now tending towards iii) - in the abscence of any further information....

                                      Regards the others; I am not sure how much documentation has been released from RAFM concerning the other deals. We certainly do not know chapter and verse on either deal, although there have been plenty of press releases concerning the former, but as I recall rather less with regard to the latter. Certainlt both deals have been well covered in the press, as has the intention of recovering the P40.

                                      Comment

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

                                        The finding of human remains close to (8km from) the wreck is not such a surprise (it is not uncommon to find human bones in the desert, as I have said before). What is surprising is that according to the MoD and British Embassy they were tested for DNA and found unsuitable (or was it a mysterious second set of bones that suddenly became a feature of the MoD's statements?). And why can I find no report of such a test, and why are the players reluctant to provide answers to the numerous questions raised, for example are the bones found by Arido still in the desert, was a second set in fact found, was one or other set ever recovered and tested, and if so why were they "unsuitable", when DNA extraction should be eminently possible after even 70 years in the desert?
                                        Laurence

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                                        • Guest's Avatar
                                          Guest

                                          What is interesting is that the 'second set of bones' that were 'unsuitable for testing' seemed to come to light around the time of the recovery of the P40 unless I am mistaken.

                                          Please don't get me wrong, I am suggesting nothing untoward, but is it possible that this 'second set of remains' surfaced at the time of the P40 recovery? Otherwise, when and how did they surface? And from where? Problem is, without ANY information pertaining to the recovery, we are in the dark. And the MOD seem confused or else have just been deliberately misleading.

                                          I'll probably be shot down in flames for suggesting this, but we just don't know, do we? More importantly, the family apparently don't last time Pat1968 spoke with them.

                                          Bruce - certainly the situation with Arido leaves very much to be desired but the same may be said of the MOD and British diplomatic sources. Variously, I think, we have had the following:

                                          a) the remains have been recovered and found to be 400 years old (as confirmed to the family by MOD)
                                          b) no remains have been recovered because Arido have not told them where they are (Arido say they have told them!)
                                          c) another set of remains were recovered but were not found to be suitable for DNA extraction

                                          So, it isn't just Arido! And, like it or not, the P40 recovery was, per se, part of the 'establishment' involvement in the whole sorry story, even if RAFM are independent of the MOD as such and the P40 was recovered by a civilian contractor under some deal with Hendon, there is still a very tangible link. Which is what makes the whole thing so unsavoury to my mind. Especially since the main focus seems to be on the P40 and sod the pilot or his family!
                                          Last edited by Tangmere1940; 4th November 2013, 15:38.

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