Veterans Project - Interviews, Profiles and Memoirs

The WW2 Veterans Project : WWII Veteran Encounters, Profiles and Memoirs started off in earnest in 2002 when between a small group of like minded enthusiasts, an effort was made to locate and interview WW2 veterans of the Indian Air Force.  With the dwindling number of veterans every passing year, the effort continues in terms of family members writing profiles of their loved ones who took part in the war - and in keeping their memories alive.

The Sky is the Limit - Wg Cdr Murkot Ramunny

Murkot Ramunny, had served in the Indian Air Force, flying Hurricanes in Burma during the War. He left the IAF shortly after Independence, to serve the Government in civil capacities. He does not bother to include his old IAF rank on his letterhead, which reads simply, “Murkot Ramunny, IAS (Retd)”. This is understandable, for his military rank is far eclipsed, in protocol terms, by the civil service ranks he rose to later; and to most people, his status as a former senior civil servant is what counts. But to IAF history enthusiasts like us, he will always be Wing Commander Murkot Ramunny.  The article is now updated to reflect a Youtube video - a rare and most certainly the last time he was interviewed on video about his WW2 experiences

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Pilot Officer Sayanapuram Duraiswamy Thyagarajan

Sayanapuram Duraiswamy Thyagarajan, who was known as "Tiger" Rajan, was one of the rare breed of Indian pilots who was joined the Royal Air Force in UK directly. Tiger Rajan would make his mark flying Whirlwind fighters and then Typhoons. His life was lost on the front lines over France - and he is remembered with gratitude by three different nations - India, Great Britain and France.

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The Fledgling Years - Wg Cdr C H L Digby

Wing Commander Cecil "Digger" Digby, IAF (Retd), a veteran of service from the 1940s to the 1960s, graciously spent a few hours with me recently, on a chilly but crisp autumn day, in a pub named for a British naval hero - not a bad venue, all things considered, at which to sit and talk about service in the Indian Air Force. Some of the snippets in the following account came from Squadron Leader Ian S ("Locky") Loughran, VM (Retd), himself at one time a flight commander within a squadron commanded by Wg Cdr Digby. Captain Loughran had organised this meeting, sat by, and as so often in meetings with veterans, occasionally interposed with some of the detail that Wg Cdr Digby had overlooked, or was too modest to recount until prompted.

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With the Tigers in Burma - Air Marshal A R Pandit

Anand Ramdas Pandit was born on 21st June 1921 at Indore. He joined the IAF Volunteer Reserve in 1941. He commenced his training with the Initial Training School at Lahore in April 41. After about a month and a half, he was part of the 8th Pilots Course that commenced training at the No.2 EFTS in Jodhpur on Tigermoth aircraft. The four months spent at EFTS involved learning elementary flying on a number of civilian Tigermoths. The instructors were from RAF and included a number of civilian Indian pilots.  In September 1941, He commenced advanced flying with the No.1 SFTS at Ambala. learning flying on Audax and Hart aircraft. The cadets earned their wings in February 1942. 

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Pilot Officer Hukum Chand Mehta

Pilot Officer Hukum Chand Mehta was one of the twenty four Indians sent to the United Kindom in1940. The Indians arrived on October 8, 1940, at the height of Battle of Britain, but by the time their training was completed, it would be April 1941.   HC Mehta would be one of the six pilots who went to Fighter command. He joined 43 Squadron.

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Fg Offr P Krishnamurti - Trying to piece together my father’s past

by Padmini Sankar - A daughter's quest to research her father's career - Flying Officer P Krishnamurti was one of the only 28 Officers commissioned in the  Meteorological Branch 

This album has some rare documents from her collection - including her father's commission parchment, and a service discharge book - the first one we ever saw!

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Flying Officer Kartar Singh Saund - a Photo Album

Kartar Singh Saund (IND/1664 was commissioned into the Indian Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1941. He joined No.2 Squadron after training and flew Lysander and Hurricane fighters. He died on the frontline in 1943 at Imphal - His family had preserved his photos for over seventy years - before showcasing them here. A profile of Kartar Singh Saund has also been researched and published along with the album.

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