Number Name Branch Died in Service? Picture?

Air Vice Marshal Kanianthra Alexander Joseph

Service No & Branch 2960 SIGS
Date of Birth: 28 Jan 1913 Commissioned: 19 May 1944 Course:
Service End: Retired on 24 Jan 1970 Voluntary Retirement Died on 15 Feb 1983 (70 Years age)
Qualifications Held :
Remarks : Commissioned Service with RAF from 14 Jan 42 to 18 may 44
Promotions Gazetted
Fg Offr : 14 Jul 1943Sqn Ldr : 15 Aug 1949Wg Cdr : 01 Apr 1953Acting Gp Capt : 29 Dec 1953
Gp Capt : 01 Oct 1957Acting Air Cmde : 03 Jul 1962Air Cmde : 01 Apr 1964Acting AVM : 01 Mar 1966
AVM : 01 Apr 1967
Training and Other Courses Attended
6 DSSC (Wg Cdr) - 30 Jun 1953
Google the Bharat Rakshak Website for : "K A Joseph"

Wg Cdr
Notes:1)Branch is at retirement and may not match with branch at Commission 2)Notional seniority is reflected in dates of substantive rank.

Appointments, Postings & Other Service Particulars

17 Sep 1944 - 01 May 1946Fg OffrNo.22 Anti-Aircraft Co-Operation UnitDrigh Road Sigs
25 Aug 1947 - 14 Jul 1948Sqn LdrAir Head QuartersDelhi Sqn Ldr (Signals)
01 Sep 1947 - 31 Aug 1949Wg CdrAir Head QuartersDelhi Deputy Director, Signals
15 Jul 1948 - Wg CdrAir Head QuartersDelhi Wg Cdr (Signals)
04 Sep 1949 - 29 Sep 1952Wg Cdr3 Ground Training SchoolJalahalli Commanding Officer
- 07 Apr 1959Gp CaptHQ Opl CommandDelhi 
29 Dec 1953 - 01 Dec 1959Gp CaptAir Head QuartersDelhi Director, Signals
08 Apr 1959 - Gp CaptAir Head QuartersDelhi 
01 Jan 1962 - 21 Aug 1965Air CmdeAir Head QuartersDelhi Director, Signals
22 Aug 1965 - 28 Feb 1966Air CmdeAFS ChakeriKanpur Air Officer Commanding
01 Mar 1966 - 24 Jan 1970AVMAir Head QuartersDelhi Director, Signals
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Awards and Decorations

Number of Awards: 1
Param Vishist Seva Medal
AVMKanianthra Alexander Joseph2960 SIGAward Date 26 Jan 1967Announced 26 Jan 1967
Details :

Air Vice Marshal Kanianthra Alexander Joseph was commissioned in the Air Force in 1944. He has held important appointments in Air Headquarters as well as in the Command of various Air Force Units. He attended many administrative and technical courses in the U.K. and also a Radar Course at Bangalore. He also attended Defence Service Staff College Course at Wellington. He took over the appointment of Director of Signals at Air Headquarters in March, 1966. The Air Force has had serious handicaps to overcome in the matter of radar coverage and airborne and ground communications. Despite many difficulties, Air Vice Marshal Joseph took great initiative and with the help of his own men, improved the radar coverage and communication links.

Unit :
Reference : GoI19670126

Additional Notes

Remarks: Obituary Note added: 2017-11-01
A.V.M. Joseph (Baby) was the eldest son of Dr. Alexander. He was born on 16.01.1913. He spent his early days with his maternal parents at Alleppey, as his father was away in U.K. Being the only grandson, the grand parents were very fond of him. He was also very much attached to his maternal people. He studied at M.T. Seminary school, Kottayam where his maternal uncle Yuhanon Thirumeni was the boarding master (Later Thirumeni became the head of the Marthoma Church). He passed B.Sc., degree with Electrical and Mechanical Engineering as options from St.Joseph’s college, Trichy. At that time Pullucat Mr. K.J. Ninan was the manager of the National and Quilon Bank of Trichy. Under his influence he joined the Bank. But soon the bank was liquidated and Baby left for U.K for higher studies. He studied at the ‘Marconi college’ at Chelmsford. He got a post graduate diploma for Wireless Transmitters and Receiver designing. By then the World War II started and he could not come back to India. So he worked at the Marconi College for sometime. In 1942, he was selected as a King’s commissioned officer in the Royal Air Force. He was a signals officer. In the first station, where he was posted, the Commander thought that he being an Indian might want to do Pooja. So he was allotted a single room at a time when three and four officers were sharing a room. Soon they realised that he was just like any one of them and had a good laugh.During the battle of Britain, he served with Bomber command. In 1944 at his request he was transferred to the Indian Royal Air Force. His first posting in India was at Drig Road, Karachi. India was not partitioned at that time. Later he was posted to Air Head Quarters, Delhi. Soon after partition, there was the Hindu Muslim riots in Delhi. All the Muslims were given refuge in the Old Fort (Purana Quila). The camp was under military control. The Hindu Officers were afraid to go into the Fort, A.V.M. Joseph being a Christian was deputed to set up all the communication facilities for the camp. He with his officers and men did it.In the International Civil Aviation conference at Montreal, Canada, in 1946, he was one of the Indian delegates. In 1949 he set up the school of signals at Jalahalli, Bangalore. In 1951, he successfully completed the staff course at the Combined Defence Staff college at Wellington. He also did a staff course in U.K.In 1952 he became the first Indian to be the Director of Signals for the Indian Airforce. After 18 years in that post, he retired in 1970 as Air Vice Marshal. He also commanded the IAF station at Kanpur for a short while.He was the chairman of the Communication Electronic Committee of the Central Cabinet from 1954 to 1962. He was also a member of the Tata Committee and Babha Committee appointed by the Government of India. In various capacities he visited U.K., France, Germany, Italy, USA and other countries many times.He was a member of the Institution of Telecommunication Engineers India; Aeronautical Society of India and the Institution of Radio and Electronic Engineers.In 1966, the Government of India honoured him by conferring the “PARAM VISISHTA SEVA MEDAL�. He was the first Malayalee to rise to the rank of Air Vice Marshal in the Indian Air Force. In 1970, when he retired, he was Director of Bharat Electronics Ltd. Later he became the consultant and representative of Collins Radio Company Ltd, Australia.In 1974, he came and settled down in Trivandrum. While at Trivandrum he was able to establish a ‘Cheshire Home’ with the help and co-operation of His Grace Bishop Benedict Mar Gregorios and many other prominent citizens of Trivandrum. This place is a haven for the handicapped and paraplegic members of society. People donated generously for this good cause. Cheshire home has become an important institution of Trivandrum. It was heart breaking to see some of the inmates in all their deformities come all the way from Trivandrum to Karukachal to attend A.V.M Joseph’s funeral and place a wreath on his body. The citizens of Trivandrum honoured him for his vision, tact and hard work he put in to make the Cheshire home a reality by unveiling a photograph of him at the Cheshire home.While in Delhi, he with other members of the Orthodox Church made arrangements to have holy Qurbana on every Sunday and later establish an Orthodox Syrian Church in Delhi. Like his father, Baby was tall, fair and handsome. He was a good tennis player and a good shot.He married Amminy, daughter of Dewan Peshkar M.P. Joseph. She is a graduate with a diploma in Montessori Teachers Training which she got directly under Madam Montessori herself. While in Delhi, she was teaching in ‘Modern School’ and St. Columbas High School. She had the rare opportunity to teach Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Pandit Nehru’s grandson Rajiv Gandhi, President Rajendra Prasad’s grandson and Prime Minister Shastri’s son.She represented Malankara Orthodox Church in the International Christian Women’s Conference at Delhi in 1974. She is a senior friend of the Students movement of our Church. She has been in charge of the catering in many of their important conferences. She also writes occasionally in “Vanitha� and “Church weekly� magazines.She was a member of the Karukachal Panchayath and was involved in many social activities. She is also the Vice President of the Kanianthra Kudumba Yogam and takes an active interest in the welfare of the family.She is the co-author of the English edition of our Kudumba Charitram. It is her initiative, drive and prodding that made this English edition possible.It was she who first drafted a compressed translation of our Malayalam Kudumbam Charitram. Prof. Alexander vetted the whole thing and updated it.The tremendous effort this lady has shouldered deserve the family’s praise and gratitude.In 1980, Mr. Joseph built a house of his own at Karukachal and made it his residence. He passed away on 5th Feb. 1983 due to heart failure. He was buried at Panayampala Orthodox Church with all the honours from the Indian Air Force and his body was covered with the Indian National Flag.Here is an extract from the tribute given to him by A.V.M. Lakshmi Narayanan, Director of Communications and Electronics, Gujarat state and once his colleague in Air Head Quarters. “Air Vice Marshal K.A. Joseph was the doyen of the Signals Branch of the Indian Air Force. For nearly two decades this debonair officer presided over the fast growing signals branch with admirable foresight and ability. A.V.M. Joseph’s greatest asset was his ‘unflappability’. He was calm and serene under all circumstances. He was humane and trusting almost to a fault. He was respected by all those who came across him for his integrity and nobility of approach in all his dealings. The Air Force and the Nation owes a great deal to Air Vice Marshal K.A. Joseph�

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