No.7 Squadron - 1950s

No.7 Squadron, IAF

Known as the Battle Axes, No.7 Squadron, IAF was raised in 1943 on the Vultee Vengeance. The Squadron saw much action in the Second World war and is considered one of the elite.

They were the first unit to receive the De Havilland Vampire, thus becoming the first unit in any airforce in Asia to operate a jet fighter. The Squadron had the unique responsiblity of converting young pilots passing out of the Air Force Academy to operational status.  Its no surprise that the Squadron's roll sounds like a whos who of the Top brass in the Air Force in the 70s, 80s and the 90s

We present here some of the photographs from their album. A Majority of photographs are from Shri Pushpindar Singh's "The Battle Axes" - History of No.7 Squadron published by the Society of Aerospace Studies.  Other Photographs have been contributed by Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava

  

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The first pilots of the IAF to fly the Vampires. Wg Cdr H Moolgavkar (In the front) and the pilots of the Aircraft Testing Unit at Poona, Sqn Ldr C D Subia, Fg Off G D Clarke, Fg Off V Kuriyan and Flt Lt Mickey Blake.

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Squadron Leader  MPO 'Micky' Blake VrC with a Vampire during the early years of the Squadron flying these aircraft.

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Pilots of No.7 Squadron during the visit to the Armament Training Wing (ATW) in June 1952.  Pic Courtesy:Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava

Standing L to R:
D A La Fontaine, R A Weir, Charlie Fernandez, V K Sehgal, Yogi Barman, Sandi Sanadi, Kapil Bharghava
Sitting L to R: O P Taneja, Rusty Palamkote, G K John (CO), Nobby Clark, K M Ram

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No.7 Squadron held a renunion in Ambala in 1952. Click on the image to see some of the Officers identified in the picture.

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At Palam in October 1952.  Pic Courtesy:Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava

Standing L to R:
V K Sehgal, Charlie Fernandez, Kapil Bhargava, ? , R S Sanadi, J W Greene, R A Weir.
Sitting L to R: P S George, S R Pawar, G K John (CO), S Banerji, M S D Wollen, G D Singh.

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Fg Off Jag Mohan Nath was with No.7 during . He later went on to be awarded the Maha Vir Chakra and a Bar to it.

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Vampire pilots of No.7 at Halwara in Mid 1954. The topless pilot on top of the Droptank is Flt Lt Micky Blake. Can you identify the others?

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The Squadrons' bull terriers Sandy and Jezebel accompany in this group shot at  Palam in April 54.  Pic Courtesy: Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava

Standing L to R:
Bunny Coelho, Karan Khalsia, P K Dey, P C Kacker, R S Rajput, Prithi Singh, Kundnani, ? , S Shah, ? , C S Sharma.
Sitting L to R: D Chatterji, P S George, Kapil Bhargava, G D Clarke, MPO Blake (CO), D S Thakur, V K Singh, C V Parker.

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Flt Lt C V Gole was interim CO of No.7 Sqn during the period its top pilots were sent to UK for Hunter Conversion.

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Micky Blake and other pilots with a Vampire fighter at Halwara in 1954. All the pilots are from the above group photo! So you have to find out whos who yourself!  Pic Courtesy:Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava

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The first Hunter   conversion course with the Royal Air Force at Chivenor in UK, Nov  1957

Sitting: Flt Lt Bharat Singh,  Sqn Ldr Bhatnagar, Sqn Ldr Mc Niell, Sqn Ldr J Bouche, Sqn Ldr K Singh, Flt Lt Bhagat and Flt Lt N K Ramprasad. Standing: Fg Off Lamba, Fg Off Sen, Fg Off S K Kaul (Later CAS) , Fg Off Ronogupta, Fg Off F J Mehta, Fg Off Dhawan and Fg Off Satwant Singh.

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No.7 Squadron formed the first 9-aircraft formation Aerobatic team in the IAF. This picture was taken in March 1962 during the visit of the Chief, Aspy Engineer. (Standing fourth from right). The CO Sqn Ldr Bharat Singh is to his right, and Flt Lt A K 'Peter' Rawlley is further to the right of the CO


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