The Battle for Imphal that raged from March to July 1944 was essentially a siege operation by the Japanese against the Allied forces concentrating in the Imphal valley. The British and Indian forces situated in the valley were surrounded by three Japaense Army divsions, and their stand to repel the Japanese offensive was bolstered only through the massive supply chain by air maintained by the Commonwealth Air Forces and the United States Air Forces. At the time when the offensive started, the Imphal plain was home to the RAF 221 Group, commanded by Air Vice Marshal S F Vincent, which operated from six Airstrips. Imphal Main (present day Koreingi) was to the north and was the most important. Palel to the south was the second major airstrip that could operate all year round. Additional landing grounds existed at Wangjing, Sapam, Kangla and Tulihal.
Imphal main was the main landing ground for the Air Supply operations. It was also home to two Hurricane Squadrons which operated in a Tac/Recce role. No.1 Squadron , Indian Air Force under Sqn Ldr Ajran Singh and No.28 Squadron, Royal Air Force under Sqn Ldr H G F Larsen.
No.1 Squadron, Indian Air Force flew nearly 2000 sorties during the battle for Imphal. By the time the Squadron earned its turn for rest, it had earned nine DFCs and 1 MBE, the most that any of the nine Squadrons in the IAF had achieved till then. The first of the DFCs went to Squadron Leader Arjan Singh, the CO.
Size: 22 items
No.1 Squadron Badge
No.1 Squadron's badge - approved by the King of England. It was presented to the Squadron in 1941.
Squadron Leader Arjan Singh
Then Commanding Officer of No.1 Squadron, IAF
Arrival at Imphal - 4th February 1944
Imphal – 4th February 1944. A day after arrival at Imphal. L to R : Fg Offr B R Rao, Fg Offr K N Kak, Fg Offr T A M Andrade, Sqn Ldr A M Sethna, Fg Offr Rajendra Singh, Flt Lt Raja Ram, Sqn Ldr Hassan Samsi. Sethna and Samsi were visiting the squadron
4th February 1944 - Dinner Get Together
Imphal – 4th February 1944. Dinner Party with the visiting AOC – Air Commodore Proud.
L to R : U/I,U/I, Herbert “Doc” Gnanivolu , B R Rao, D’Cruz (guitar), Air Cmde Proud , Sqn Ldr Arjan Singh (Top), Fg Offr Talwar, Sqn ldr Sethna, Fg Offr M N Bu
Dinner Party with the visiting AOC - 4th February 1944.
Haider Raza's B Flight
Raza's B Flight at Imphal – L to R : F P Amber , K N Kak, M M A Cheema, Haider Raza (Flt Cdr), Rajendra Singh, AM Kapur, U/I, M N Bulsara. Photograph taken between March to May 1944. The aircraft is a Hurricane IIB - armed with 12 .303 inch calibre Browni
Flying Officer F P Amber
Fg Offr F P Amber with a Hurricane IIB of ‘B’ Flight. Note the Stick figure nose art on the Hurricane
Reading the DFC announcement - 18th May 1944
The Education Officer 'Tullu' Talwar reads the Telegram from Air Marshal Baldwin confirming the award of DFC to Arjan Singh. L to R: BR Rao, 'Doc' Herbert, Arjan Singh, AC Prabhakaran, A M Kapur (Behind), P N Sanyal (Center), Unidentified Officer (Behind)
Celebrating the CO's DFC - 18th May 1944
Party celebrating the announcement of Arjan Singh’s DFC. L to R: U/I, Prabhakaran, Arjan Singh, Talwar, Doc Gnanavolu, U/I, U/I, U/I,M M A Cheema
Arjan Singh's DFC Citation as published in the London Gazette
Cheema's close escape
Flying Officer M M A Cheema, who evaded six Japanese fighters over Bishenpur, narrates his escape to Squadron Leader Arjan Singh, while Flight Lieutenant Raza looks on. Both Raza and Cheema opted for Pakistan on Independence
Bullet Holes in the Wing
Cheema points out the bullet holes in the Port wing of his Hurricane after his escape from the Japanese fighters.
A Flight Pilots - Rajaram, Hafeez, Prabhakaran
Prabhakaran, Rajaram and Hafeez at Imphal in front of a Hurricane IIB with long range tanks. Prabhakaran and Hafeez were lost during a single sortie in late July when they went into clouds and crashed after flying into terrain.
Hurricane IIB ready for a sortie
A Hurricane IIB of the Squadron fitted with long range fuel tanks
Mountbatten awards the DFC to Arjan
Lord Mountbatten pinned the DFC award on Squadron Leader Arjan Singh. Air Marshal Baldwin can also be seen in the photograph standing to the right. This visit happened in early July 1944
DFC Party with Air Cmde SF Vincent, AOC 221 Group
The Tigers celebrate their CO's DFC. Air Cmde SF Vincent, AOC 221 Group is lying on the ground along with Sqn Ldr Arjan Singh.
L to R Standing (Back Row) Amber (with Bowl), Hafeez (with bottle) , AC Prabhakaran (Standing extreme right).
Flying Officer Rajendra Singh (1642/IND) was commissioned in November 1940 in the IAF. He was one of the only two pilots to fly two tours of operations with No.1 Squadron in Burma. He died in a routine flight from Silchar to Imphal in September 1944. The
Arjan Singh - Ready in Cockpit
Squadron Leader Arjan Singh, ready for a sortie.
Assessing the airfield conditions
Fg Offr Hafeez and Sarkar join Sqn Ldr Arjan Singh in checking out the wet airfield conditions at Imphal in 1944. The Hurricane is a Mark IIB – distinguished from its clean wings (Without Cannon barrels protruding out) and the Long range tanks fitted..
Crew Room at Imphal – Circa 1944. 'B' Flight
Crew Room at Imphal – Circa 1944.
Left to Right: Unidentified, Flt Lt Raza (Board Game), Unidentified Sgt, Fg Offr M M A Cheema, Fg Offr Rajendra Singh, Fg Offr AM Kapur, Unidentified, Fg Offr F P Amber (Rear), Fg Offr M N Bulsara (Opening Pack
Ground crew and Pilot
Flying Officer B R Rao with ground crew who are working on the Camera equipment.
Portraits of the Pilots from No.1 Squadron who flew during the Battle of Imphal.
Squadron Leader Arjan Singh (CO) Flight Lieutenant Haider Raza (Flt Cdr) Flight Lieutenant R Raja Ram (Flt Cdr) Flying Offi