Awardee List for the Air HQ and Comm

A total of 8 Awards are listed.
Ashok Chakra : 1 | Kirti Chakra : 1 | Vir Chakra : 1 | Shaurya Chakra : 5 |
Ashok Chakra
Flt Lt Suhas Biswas 2883 GD(P)Unit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date 03 Feb 52 Announced 26 Jan 53
Details :

On Sunday, the 3rd February 1952, a Devon Aircraft carrying six passengers, which included the Army Commander, Western Command, the Chief of the General Staff, the QuarterMaster General, one Divisional Commander, the Military Secretary and the Deputy Director of Supplies and Transport, Army Headquarters, was piloted by Flight Lieutenant Suhas Biswas on a flight from Lucknow to Delhi. Soon after the aircraft left Lucknow at about 1800 hours, the port engine developed serious trouble and caught fire. Flight Lieutenant Biswas tried hard to extinguish the fire but without success; so he immediately decided to force land. It was then getting dark but there was just sufficient light to choose a flat piece of ground. During the descent from 6,000 feet, the burning port engine fell out and the aircraft got out of control but Flight Lieutenant Biswas soon succeeded in bringing the aircraft under control. He then switched off the only engine functioning, and made a successful belly landing under the worst conditions, thus averting a major disaster.

Fully realising the gravity of the situation and in the face of certain disaster, Flight Lieutenant Biswas’s demeanour and behaviour in the plane was inspiring. At no time did he show that he was not in complete control of the situation. His presence of mind when the plane caught fire, skillful navigation of the plane when the engine had fallen out and his courage in landing the plane on unreconnoitred ground in twilight showed leadership of the highest order and set a magnificent example of extreme devotion to duty.

Full Story: On the 3rd of February, 1952, The U. P. Area command of the Indian Army was holding a tactical Exercise in Lucknow. To Witness this Exercise, High ranking Army Officials decided to fly down to the Exercise to observe. The Then GOC-in-C Western Command Lt Gen S. M Shrinagesh (Later COAS) , The Quarter Master General Maj-Gen K. S . Thimayya (later COAS), The Chief of General Staff Maj Gen S. P. P. Thorat (later GOC-inC East), The Military Secretary Maj Gen Sarda Nand, Maj Gen Mohinder Singh Chopra and Brig Ajaib Singh boarded the IAF HQ and Communications Flight De Havilland Devon (HW 516) which was being flown by Flt Lt Suhas Biswas. The Devon reached Lucknow and after the exercises were completed, the Officers returned for the return flight to Delhi. The Devon took off at 1800 Hrs and moments after the aircraft took off, the Crew observed the port engine was spewing smoke and soon a fire broke out. The Devon became difficult to control and as the fire kept creeping towards the main fuselage, Biswas, the pilot put the Devon in a dive in an attempt to reduce altitude and attempt a crash landing before the aircraft fuel reserves caught fire and blew up. As the Devon was put into the dive, The Aircraft shuddered in the airflow and The Engine mounting broke away, resulting in the burning engine seperating from the wing and falling off. Biswas levelled the Aircraft and belly landed sucessfully at a village near the Sandilla Railway Station. All the occupants walked out of the crashed aircraft unhurt with the pilot being the last to leave.

Flt Lt Suhas Biswas awarded the First Ashoka Chakra to the Indian Air Force for the presence of mind, Skill and cool courage in maintaining the Stricken aircraft and saving the lives of many Senior Army Officers. Which included Two Future Army Chiefs and an Army Commander. The Air Force Chief, Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee, had had the passenger chairs removed from the wrecked Devon and presented it individually to each of the survivors of the crash with a Brass Plate mentioning the circumstances of the crash.

Reference: Notification No. 21-Pres/52 dated 22nd February, 1952 in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India. 

Kirti Chakra
Sqn Ldr Reginald Azariah Rufus 3319 GD(P)Unit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date 26 Feb 57 Announced 26 Jan 59
Details :

On 26th February 1957, the Prime Minister and his party were travelling from Mangalore to Raipur in a twin-engined I.A.F. plane piloted by Sqn. Ldr. Rufus. About an hour and a quarter after taking off, fire and considerable vibration in the port engine were noticed. Immediate steps were taken to put out the fire. With one of the two engines out of action, Sqn. Ldr. Rufus decided to land at a disused kutcha landing strip at Raichur 25 miles away-the nearest regularly used airfield being more than 80 miles. By exceptionally accurate judgment and flying skill he made a perfect landing thus ensuring complete safety of the Prime Minister and his party.

Throughout this incident, Sqn. Ldr. Rufus handled the plane with cool courage and skill in the best traditions of Indian Air Force.

Reference: Notification No. 37-Pres/59 dated 17th July, 1959 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 1st August, 1959. 

Vir Chakra
Wg Cdr Krishan Kumar Yadav 12032 F(P)Unit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date 09 Nov 87 Announced 26 Jan 90
Details :

On the night of 9th November 1987 at 2330 hours, Wing Commander Krishan Kumar Yadav, task force commander, heliborne operation in Jaffna, was called upon by one of the Division Commanders to undertake an emergent mission in which 180 commandos of one of the Para Battalions were to be dropped at Sabaipai, to neutralize a strong hold of militants. Knowing the guerrilla warfare tactics and the prevailing ground situation, Wing Commander Yadav made a prudent assessment of situation and flew initially a single aircraft with limited troops to the dropping zone to safeguard against large un-escorted heliborne force getting destroyed by ground fire before it could reach the target. His appreciation was proved correct. Just after landing of the force, the militant guerrillas opened heavy ground fire on the helicopter and took a pot shot on Wing Commander Yadav’s aircraft. A brave and dedicated leader, Wing Commander Yadav took control of his aircraft and the situation and recovered the helicopter safely to the base. Undeterred by operational hazards of guerrilla warfare and the fierce ground fire encountered in the previous sortie, he led the remaining two sorties shortly after the first mission and accomplished the task of dropping all 180 troops at the designated places even though the ground fire still persisted.

Wing Commander Krishan Kumar Yadav displayed gallantry, professionalism and selfless devotion to duty in action against the militants.

Reference: Gazette of India , 28th April 1990 - No.33 - Pres/90 dated 26th January 1990 

Shaurya Chakra
WO George Alfred Paddington 6070 TECHUnit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date 26 Feb 57 Announced 17 Jul 59
Details :

Warrant Officer GA Paddington was the Flight Engineer in the crew of twin-engined I. A. F. plane which was conveying the Prime Minister and his party from Mangalore to Raipur on 26th February, 1957. After a flight of about an hour and a quarter Warrant Officer Paddington noticed discrepancies in the readings of the port engine instrument and kept a strict watch on that engine which soon caught fire. He informed the Pilot and took prompt and correct action to extinguish the fire thus contributing to the eventual safe landing of the plane.

Warrant Officer George Alfred Paddington's devotion to duty was thus very praiseworthy.

Originally 10835 Warrant Officer

Reference: Gazette of India , 17th July 1959 - No.37 - Pres/59 dated 1st August 1959 

Shaurya Chakra
WO Ekambaram Raman 210729 ORUnit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date 29 Apr 77 Announced 26 Jan 79
Details :

On the night of 28th/29th April, 1977, a defense Security Crops Jawan on sentry duty at technical area gate deserted his post with a service rifle, shot dead two DSC personnel in DSC Billet and took shelter behind double security fencing near the locked gate. All efforts to apprehend him failed. He took position near the gate and threatened to shoot any one who would approach him. When all efforts to apprehend him failed, Warrant Officer Raman Orderly Officer, was briefed by Commanding Officer, and he organized a party of armed airmen and DSC Jawans and surrounded the area where the alleged assassin was standing. Himself armed with service revolver, he gained entry into the technical area through barbed wire fencing and stealthily approached the culprit from behind. At great personal risk and by a clever move, he succeeded in disarming the DSC sentry and obtaining his surrender.

In this action, Warrant officer Ekambaram Raman displayed great courage, determination and devotion to duty of a very high order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 28th April 1979 - No.16 - Pres/78 dated 26th January 1979 

Shaurya Chakra
Flt Lt Puthalath Kandy Raveendran 12821 AE(M)Unit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date 04 Nov 77 Announced 26 Jan 79
Details :

Flight Lieutenant Puthalath Kandy Raveendran was on attachment as under training Flight Engineer when he was detailed on a TU-124 aircraft to fly Prime Minister and other dignitaries from Delhi to Johrat, on the 4th November, 1977. While the aircraft was in the process of making an approach for landing, disaster struck and aircraft crashed about six kilometers from Jorhat airfield.

Flight Lieutenant Raveendran, who was sitting in a rear passenger cabin, immediately took stock of the situation and organized systematic evacuation of the dignitaries and other passengers from the aircraft. He helped them to leave the aircraft quickly and safely and guided them to a safe distance from the aircraft as the fire was seen around the starboard engine. Even though badly injured, he quickly walked to Air Force Station Jorhat in order to get the urgently needed medical and rescue facilities. This enabled the Station authorities to reach the scene of the accident, along with the medical aid, in the shortest possible time.

In this action, Flight Lieutenant Puthalata Kandy Raveendran displayed courage, initiative and devotion to duty of a very high order.

Reference: Gazette of India , 28th April 1979 - No.16 - Pres/78 dated 26th January 1979 

Shaurya Chakra
Cpl Keshav Nath Upadhya 232550 ORUnit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date 04 Nov 77 Announced 26 Jan 79
Details :

Corporal Keshav Nath Upadhaya was on the posted strength of Air Headquarters Communication Squadron when he was detailed as ground crew on TU-124 aircraft carrying the Prime Minister and other dignitaries from Delhi to Jorhat on 4th November, 1977. The aircraft, in the process of making an approach for landing, crashed about six kilometers from Jorhat Airfield and all the aircrew members were killed.

Corporal Upadhaya sustained injuries during the accident; but he displayed outstanding initiative and exceptional presence of mind in the face of grave emergency in the dark night conditions. He reassured the passengers, and quickly opened the rear door of the aircraft and rendered valuable assistance to the passengers in leaving the crashed aircraft quickly. Along with others, he guided the Prime Minister and other passengers to safety. Notwithstanding his personal injuries, he went back to phy sically assist some of the seriously injured passengers to reach a safe location. After ensuring that all passengers were safe and in total disregard to personal safety and comfort he went back to crashed aircraft and searched for the aircrew members. Corporal Upadhaya helped in locating the bodies and assisted in extricating them from the wreckage. Thereafter, he accompanied Flight Lieutenant Raveendran on foot to Air Force Station, Johrat and guided the rescue party back to the scene of the accident.

In this action, Corporal Keshav Nath Upadhaya displayed exemplary courage, presence of mind and devotion to duty of an exceptional order with total disregard to his personal safety and comfort in spite of his own injuries, in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.

Reference: Gazette of India , 28th April 1979 - No.16 - Pres/78 dated 26th January 1979 

Shaurya Chakra
Sgt Laxman Prasad Swamy 641460 ORUnit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date 07 Jul 88 Announced 26 Jan 90
Details :

Sergeant Lakshman Prasad Swamy, Airframe Fitter of Air Headquarters Communication Squadron was travelling with his family in a bus from village Budabar to Sujjangarh Rajasthan on the 7th July, 1988. The bus got bogged down in sand. The conductor while taking out a PSP sheet from the bus roof, accidentally touched the PSP sheet with the overhead high voltage power cable where it got stuck, resulting in electric shock and severe burns to many passengers.

Without caring for his badly injured wife and son or his own personal safety, Sgt Prasad displayed rare courage and presence of mind in that critical situation in which the driver of the bus had fled the scene. He ensured safe evacuation of all the injured and badly shaken passengers, himself being the last to leave the ill fated bus. But before he could step out from the bus, the attendant in the distant power house had replaced the blown-out fuse causing a second electric shock to the bus in which the saviour of all passengers – Sgt Lakshman Prasad of Indian Air Force was electrocuted,

Sergeant Lakshman Prasad Swamy, thus, gave a rare display of selflessness and courage in saving damages and made the supreme sacrifice of his life.

Reference: Gazette of India , 28th April 1990 - No.34 - Pres/90 dated 26th January 1990 

The Awards Database presented here was made possible by the kind generosity of Air Marshal Bharat Kumar, author of Courage & Devotion to Duty : A Chronicle of IAF's Honours and Awards (1932-2008). Air Marshal Bharat Kumar had very graciously given permission to reproduce the citations from the book on this website.
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Note: All the data available here is publicly available in the Gazette of India, published by the Indian Government, or from public domain sources, press releases about Awards and Right-To-Information (RTI) Requests. Additionally data shared by veterans is added to the page with permission. No data with respect to serving officers below the rank of AVM is displayed. Information in Gazette of India and Award citations and photographs as released by the Indian Air Force are the only details displayed.