Wednesday, 25 April 2012

WW II RAF Kittyhawk located in the Egyptian Sahara

 THE aviation story dominating the historic aviation forums during April 2012- the discovery of a WW II RAF Kittyhawk located in the Egyptian Sahara.

At the time of writing neither the pilot nor the aircraft ID is established with certainty.
Terry McGrady on hyperscale;  "on 28/6/42 ET574 piloted by F/Sgt DCH Copping 785025 left 260 Squadron for a ferry flight to an RSU . The A/C flew with u/c locked down due to damage . An incorrect course was set and the a/c was thought to have crashed in the desert due to fuel exhaustion.
F/Sgt Copping is listed as missing on that date
Now I'm not saying this is the A/C , just that it MIGHT be, in view of :-
a) there being no apparent signs of Battle damage
b) the fact that the U/C was wiped off in the crash"

from the lengthy Flypast forum thread ;

" At that date 260 Squadron would have been at Landing Grounds 76 and 115. Assuming the former, that would be located about 30 miles due south of Sidi Barrani. The likely base for the RSU is the Cairo area. If so the choice would to fly along the coast to short of Alexandria then head SE to Cairo, the safer option, or fly direct across the Qattarra Depression. That latter course would take it to within about 50 miles of the reported 'Spitfire' in my earlier post. On a flight of that duration, over pretty featureless terrain, 50 miles is well within the zone of navigational error.."

Contempory report on Copping's loss "Kittyhawk Pilot" by James 'Stocky' Edwards and Michel Lavigne, first published in 1983;

28th June 1942

"...The order was given to evacuate immediately," Eddie wrote. "All serviceable aircraft were flown off by the light of a few drums set on fire. They landed under similar conditions at LG-106." The Kittyhawks landed at their new base about thirty miles east of LG-09 in the dark. It was about nine o'clock and the day had been long for most, but not long enough for F/Sgt Copping. He didn't make it over the ground convoys who fumbled their way to LG-106 in the dark, pushing their trucks through the heavy sand. Fear gripped the fighter pilots when they heard their orders on 29June. "Retreat again," was the command that came down. The-German spearhead had advanced confidently all day as the Desert Air Force moved further east. By nightfall, the Afrika Korps had reached an area twenty-five miles south of El Daba, providing the Luftwaffe with operational landing grounds close to the scene of the next battle. 260 Squadron of the RAF and the South African fighter squadrons were ordered back from LG-105 and LG-106 to LG-85 at Amriya during the day. .."

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