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Air Marshal Sarosh Jehangir Dastur

Service No 1792 Branch F(P)
Date of Birth: 13 Jul 1922
Date Commissioned 19 Jan 1942 Course 7OBS Course
Service End Retired on 01 Apr 1976 / Died on 22 Jan 2012
Remarks : OBS
Promotions Gazetted
Flt Lt : 15 Aug 1948Sqn Ldr : 15 Aug 1949Wg Cdr : 01 Oct 1954Acting Gp Capt : 16 Jun 1958
Gp Capt : 01 Oct 1962Acting Air Cmde : 04 Jan 1964Air Cmde : 01 Oct 1966AVM : 01 Apr 1971
Acting Air Marshal : 12 Nov 1973Air Marshal : 12 Nov 1973
Google the Bharat Rakshak Website for : "S J Dastur"
Notes: 1) Ranks shown are substantive ranks at retirement. 2)Branch is at retirement and may not match with branch at Commission 3)Notional seniority is reflected in dates of substantive rank.

Appointments, Postings & Other Service Particulars

DatesRankUnitLocationAppointmentPhoto
22 Apr 1942 - 16 Sep 1942Plt OffrNo.2 Squadron, RIAFPoona Fm RAF Pesh To 6CDF
21 Sep 1942 - 28 Nov 1942Plt OffrNo.6 Flight (Coastal Defence)Drigh Road Obs Fm 2 Sqn To RAF Asansol
01 Mar 1943 - 30 Nov 1944Plt OffrNo.8 Squadron, RIAFPeshawar Obs Attd 152OTU Peshawar
01 Jan 1949 - 01 Jan 1952Wg CdrEmbassay of India, UKUK Asst Air Advisor
01 Jan 1958 - 01 Jan 1960Gp CaptDefence Services Staff CollegeWellington CI (Air)
01 Jan 1960 - 01 Jan 1962Gp Capt2 WingLohegaon (Pune) Stn Cdr
01 Jan 1963 - 01 Jan 1967Air CmdeAir Head QuartersDelhi Director (Guided Weapons)
01 Jan 1970 - 01 Dec 1970AVMAir Head QuartersDelhi ACAS (Ops) 1st
01 Dec 1970 - 30 Sep 1973AVMBharat DynamicsBangalore Managing Director
01 Oct 1973 - 27 Jun 1974Air MshlAir Head QuartersDelhi DCAS
01 Jul 1974 - 31 Dec 1974Air MshlHindustan Aeronautics LimitedBangalore Vice Chairman
01 Jan 1975 - 01 Apr 1976Air MshlHindustan Aeronautics LimitedBangalore Chairman
 
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Awards and Decorations


Number of Awards: 1
 
Ati Vishist Seva Medal
Air CmdeSarosh Jehangir Dastur1792 F(P)Award Date 26 Jan 1969Announced 26 Jan 1969
Details : Citation / Details Not Available
Unit :
Reference : Gazette of India : No.12 - Pres/69 dated 26th January 1969

Additional Notes

Remarks: Obituary Notice (Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava) Note added: 2012-01-24

May his soul rest in eternal peace. May his grieving family overcome grief at this loss and recall with pride his good deeds, particularly after his formal retirement. These were in the true tradition of the Parsi community in India. A long life may not be full enough but a full life is long enough. Air Marshal Dastur had the best of both and left behind some wonderful memories and achievements.


Referred to as Dusty by his senior and contemporaneous, he was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Air Force on January 19, 1942. He had a fine career in the Indian Air Force. The citation (see below) for the award of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal explains some of his achievements.
He also ensured the rapid turn around of Marut aircraft after overhaul. However, despite this. the type was retired by IAF during his tenure, presumably due to the insurmountable difficulty in production of its spares..


Air Mshl Dastur's tenure in HAL was noteworthy for a number of important milestones. Perhaps the most important were the planning for the production of Jaguar aircraft in India, development of Kiran Mk II, HPT-32 Deepak trainer (which unfortunately had to be grounded due to engine problems with its American engine) and the Ajeet evolved by HAL from the Sabre Killer – Gnat - aircraft. 


He was the senior-most IAF officer in Bangalore for the last many years. He lived in the city for over thirty years from perhaps 1975 when he became Chairman HAL, a responsibility he carried for around five years. After retiring from HAL in 1980, he was actively involved in social work such as steering the Sheila Kothawala Institute for the Deaf via the Deaf Aid Society, of which he was the head. He also looked after the Cheshire Home Bangalore for a considerable time.
We sadly announce the passing away in Bangalore of Air Marshal Sarosh Jehangir Dastur AVSM on January 22, 2012.  

Remarks: by Air Marshal Satish Inamdar Note added: 2012-01-25

I grieve for this very fine and percipient man. RIP!

I was on the rolls of HAL, on deputation, flight testing at HAL (ND), Ozar, in 1974-77, when I first met Air Mshl Dastur. The neighbouring 11 BRD had just been set up to overhaul Su-7s but had no TPs on their strength to flight test and clear the ac as they came out. There was much protracted correspondence between 11 BRD, HAL (ND), HQ MC, HAL HO & Air HQ to allow such HAL TPs at Ozar as were qualified on the Su-7 to undertake the job till a TP or two could be posted to the BRD; there was nil forward movement in the matter.
It was Chairman Air Mshl Dastur, on a day's visit to Ozar, who, on being told of the problem by W/C P Ashoka, CTP, and G/C DS Misra, the BRD Boss, took just ten minutes to get the picture. He picked up the phone, spoke to the DCAS (A/M Zaheer), the VCAS (A/M Dhatigara, I think) and the AOC-in-C MC (A/M Pandit, I think), got a decision and told GM HAL Ozar & G/C DS Misra, the BRD Boss, to quickly sort out the nettlesome pilot insurance cover issue locally and get on with the flight testing. He said he wanted to see the first overhauled Sukhoi flight tested within a week! Air Mshl Pandit later called the BRD Boss and told him the same thing.
After two dual checks on a Su trainer that was sent to Ozar to drop a ferry pilot, followed by two solo trips on a fighter that had just been flown in with a few hours remaining, I did get airborne for a flight test before the week was out and cleared the first India overhauled Su-7 ac after three flights! There was much jubilation in the BRD; it was also one of my few first hand experiences of high level decision making in the fast track, after a matter was kept unresolved by red tape/ indecision at lower levels, shuttling up & down, for 7 months!
His taking me along on an HAL delegation visit to the Farnborough air show the next summer, was a high water mark of my 3-year stint in HAL!

'Dastur', like many other Parsee last names, denotes a profession/ occupation, meaning a priest at the Agyari, the fire temple, I think.
Never met him, after I left HAL in 1977. As I said at the outset, I grieve for him.