Flying with the Auxillary Air Force

Des Peters joined the Auxiliary Air Force in September 1956. He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer and underwent flying training on Tiger Moth and Texan T6G airdraft with 53 (Madras) Squadron stationed at Meenambakam and later at Tambaram.

He qualified as a pilot in December 1958 . Due to various circumstances, the squadron did not convert to Vampires till 1961, therefore normal fighter flying was conducted using Texan T6Gs.

Shortly after converting to the Vampire, Des left the AAF in February 1962 to fly Auster aircraft for a British Tea Company in Assam. During the Chinese invasion in November 1962, Des remained on duty, flying the company Chairman and other key executives through the length and breadth of the Assam valley in order to maintain control of the tea gardens; the majority of Mgmt Executives had been forced to evacuate the area. It was a period of intense flying activity both by day and night.

Des was recalled to the Indian Air force following the Chinese invasion, and flew Vampires with 55 Auxiliary Air Force squadron based in Barrackpore. It was at this time that the Indian Air Force amalgamated it’s five Auxiliary squadrons into two regular fighter or bomber squadrons, hence 220 and 221 squadrons ( both flying Vampires), came into being at Poona and Barrackpore respectively. These squadrons were primarily involved in training newly graduated pilots to “fully ops” status. In January 1964, 221 Squadron moved to Kalaikunda.

Des left the Indian Air Force with the rank of Flight Lieutenant in December 1964, to pursue a career in Civil Aviation, flying DC3s for a charter company engaged in supply dropping and other interesting missions in the North Eastern borders of India. By this time he had flown several hundred hours on Vampires and was Flight Commander A Flight in 221 squadron prior to his release.
His professional flying career came to an end when he migrated to Australia in August 1968. He is now retired in Sydney, Australia and can be contacted thru his Email


Des Peters at the Air Force Academy in 1956

Members of the Auxillary Squadron at Madras with a Harvard

Members of the Auxillary Squadron at Tambaram AFS in Madras with a Harvard



Plt Offrs Prabhakar and Abid Shah with a HT-2 at Tambaram.


Tigermoths: Flypast at academy, 1956, Pilots : S/L Joseph, F/L FJ Mehta, F/L Nizammudin Shah (Des is in the backseat with Shah).

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