I was happily working away with Gimp 1.2.3 with an image that had
several layers.

The image was in Gimp .XCF format.

I saved and closed the image. 

I came back to the image later and tried to reopen it only to get the

XCF: This file is corrupt!  I have loaded as much
of it as I can, but it is incomplete.

The only thing I get are two VERY small layers.

I checked in ~/.gimp/tmp but there are no files there to restore from.

Is there any way to retrieve this? Edit the image binary to correct a
problem? ANYTHING?

I'm somewhat desperate because this image was several hours work I don't
wish to recreate.

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