Memoirs of an IAF Technical Signals Officer – 2

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Initial Air Force Training – 1950 to 1951 

The IAF was expanding rapidly and needed trained engineering graduates, so we were offered two years antedate to join the Technical branches, which comprised Tech/Engines, Tech/Armaments, Tech/Electrical and Tech/Signals.  Training was done at the Technical Training Centre, later known as The Air Force Technical College, at Jalahalli West, a few kilometres from Bangalore, and not far from the Institute of Science – which was about midway to Bangalore.

We were given Short Service Commissions for two years to cover the training period in the rank of Pilot Officer.   The Air Service Training Corp., Hamble, UK, won the contract to conduct the training of officers and apprentices in the technical branches and trades.   The contract with the AST was to establish a fully functioning modern Air Force technical training college and introduce serving IAF personnel as instructors in a phased manner.   These Indian officers would gradually replace the British instructors over a period of about five years. 

The Commandant was Gp. Capt. Beaumont while the Commanding Officer was Wg. Cdr R. Sen who represented the IAF and was responsible for all non-technical matters and general discipline.   The Deputy Commandant was Gp. Capt. Thripp, with about fifty or so British ex-RAF officers and airmen of all the technical branches and trades who did the actual teaching.   A few names I remember are Dr. Duncan-Smith who headed the Tech/Signals training and Mr. Collins who taught radar theory.    The course covered theoretical and practical training oriented towards Air Force equipment and procedures.   I completed the course in November 1951, winning the Best All Round Technical/Signals Officer’s gold medal.   This distinction led me to a number of interesting courses and projects in my future service life.

Beaumont_Small.jpg (17259 bytes) RSen_Small.jpg (10627 bytes) Thripp_Small.jpg (15364 bytes)
Gp Capt J Beaumont, OBE, AFE, Commandant of the Technical Training College Wg Cdr R Sen, TTC’s first CO Jan 6 1949 to July 6, 1951 Gp Capt G Thripp, Deputy Principal
All Photographs from Air Cmde RHD Singh’s collection

Our course was No. 3 Tech/Sigs course; as there was no No. 2 course, and only six in the First course, I was 7th in seniority among the new band of Tech/Sigs officers when I finished training.   The officers ahead of us were all recruited during the war, with some commissioned from the ranks, all quite a few years older than we were.   So we were excellently positioned for advancement in the future expanding Air Force.

Until joining the training course, I lived on the money my parents sent me, this included about Rs. 5 as pocket money (per month).   On our first day of training, we received Rs. 420 as an advance of our first salary; this was a princely amount to us then.   Michael was employed to serve three of us as our bearer.   Michael, like us, had almost no money as he had not been employed for some time, so I gave him Rs. 20, a month’s advance of pay.   After buying a few essentials, I sent the rest of my salary home to my mother, almost Rs. 350 or so – something I wanted to do for as long as I can remember.   I continued this practice until I got married.   My mother told me she used this to pay my brother’s expenses while he was doing his Metallurgy course in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Nov 1951 – My first Posting

My first posting was as Commanding Officer of a mobile radar unit in Juhu airport, Bombay, using type AN/TPS3 early warning radar.   We moved from Juhu to Santa Cruz airport after three months, then to the Air Force Station, Poona.   While in Bombay, we were billeted at No. 2 E. D., Cotton Green, Bombay [9] .   I met my wife Mary during this period; the other officers in the mess also met her during one of the mess picnics.   They were also impressed by her charm and decided to help our romance succeed.  The PMC [10], Sqn.Ldr S. P. Singh took the unprecedented step of inviting her to one of our Dining-in nights to impress her with the status and glory of being an Indian Air Force officer.   When she arrived, she was invited to preside over the occasion!   She was highly impressed with the honour and the rituals involved as well as with the striking summer ceremonial uniforms used for that occasion.   This helped my case, especially with her family and friends in the American Consulate where she worked.    The greatest concern I had about being married was the extreme shortage of married-officer accommodation, a premonition that was too prove right too often in our married life later.

It would help to know something of Mary’s circumstances, in order to understand why the others in the Officers Mess decided to rally round in my romance:

Mary came from an old established family living by the sea in Bandra, an old historic Portuguese settlement.   Not only did her family own many properties in Bandra and Malad, another suburb of Bombay, but also Mary had worked for four or five years with the American Consulate.   Her salary at the time was more than double mine, and her circle of friends were among the upper crust of Bombay society.   She was a regular patron of restaurants and places like the Taj Mahal hotel that I had only seen from the outside!   I needed a lot more than my personal charm to win her hand!

We kept in touch with daily letter writing as I left Bombay in October for Poona not long after proposing marriage and being accepted.   We got engaged in December while en route to Amritsar, my train passed Bombay so I took an unauthorised diversion that gave me a few hours for us to go to St. Andrew’s Church, Bandra and have the engagement consecrated.   Mary had already purchased an engagement ring!

Dec 1952 to Sept. ’53 – Commanding No. 53 Mobile Signals Unit

I was posted as Commanding Officer to another mobile radar unit.   This unit was located at Amritsar and was a lot larger than that at Bombay and Poona, but I was a lot more experienced and confident and was reasonably comfortable with the responsibilities.   I was the only officer but had a loyal dedicated band of senior NCOs and men, we were self-sufficient and had a number of vehicles including a couple of diesel generators.  

We played cricket regularly with local civilian and Bhakra Nangal [11]  workshop as well as with the army brigade teams.   We managed to develop a good sense of camaraderie.   In April 1953, I succeeded in obtaining 10 days leave in which to travel to Bombay and get married, I was promoted to Flying Officer the day before our marriage, an omen!  

Service accommodation was impossible to get, so we lived in a wing of  a large house in Amritsar Cantonments owned by a Mr. Mercado [12] .   There was no kitchen, so the men decided among themselves to build one for us, a gesture we shall never forget.  Mary and I regularly went on a number of organised outings with the men.   We also enjoyed developing our friendship with Gwen Lang (nee Sarkies) wife of one of the Bhakra Nangal workshop staff; Gwen had been a teacher in St. Fidelis, Mussoorie and I knew her well at school, I often pumped the organ in church for her while she was practising for Sunday Mass.

A couple of sidenotes:-

While attending an Indian dance recital at Parramatta, Sydney in 1997 or so, I was approached during the interval by a person who asked if I was from India, then if I was ever in the IAF, then whether I was ever in Amritsar, finally whether my name was Fegredo.  It turned out that he, Rana, was a young, junior Radar Mechanic airman during this period.   He later left the IAF and went to the USA and finally came to Australia with his family who we later met and entertained.

Recently, in August this year (2003), while on a coach tour of the Kimberly’s from Darwin to Broome, I got friendly with another Australian tourist named Joyce who mentioned that she had toured India; and spent a few days in Amritsar Cantonment.   It turned out that while there, she had lived in a Mrs. Bhandari’s house, where I also lived as a tenant before I got married!   In fact, Mrs. Bhandari’s cook baked a cake and brought it as a wedding present the day we arrived in Amritsar.   Mr. Mercado’s house, where we lived, was about three or four houses away from Mrs. Bhandari’s.

A small world!

Sept 1953 to March1954 – Radar courses in the U. K.

I was sent to the UK to attend a number of training courses connected with various aspects of modern radar equipment being used by the RAF and went to the Marconi Company’s radar testing site at Silver End where we spent two or three months studying the equipment and testing techniques.   We also visited Decca Radar; Marconi Instruments at St. Albans, and a number of RAF technical training and research establishments.   No. 2 Radio School, Yatesbury and the RRE are two I remember.   The courses and visits covered operation, maintenance and calibration of a number of radar equipment in service with the RAF.   While in London, in between trips and courses on a variety of equipment, I lived in the Defence Services Club, this is located in South Audley Street, Mayfair, an address that impressed my many friends who had emigrated from India.   One such friend was John Moore with whom I have only recently re-established contact via the Internet.   John now lives in California!

I should make the following comments to describe life in those times:

At that time, air travel was not generally employed, and we travelled by sea both ways.   Even though a junior officer (Fg.Offr.), I travelled First Class and wore a dinner jacket for dinner!   We went out to Tilbury docks on the P&O’s SS Strathenaver along with three women’s hockey teams; the Australian, New Zealand and the Indian teams. The Australians organised a sing-along almost every night, the New Zealanders practised hockey as well as their many national dances; one, with balls on strings, another was a dance where the performers dodged in and out between two bamboo poles, which were banged together, and then separated.   The performers hopped in and out of the poles, but still managed to look graceful.

The Indian team was very shy, and probably practised privately, I certainly did not see them either practice national dances, or have the opportunity to make friends with any. 

The voyage was for all practical purposes, a fully paid holiday; we went ashore to sightsee and shop every chance we got.   I explored Aden, Cairo (including the pyramids, the Tutankhamen museum and Egyptian bazaars), Valetta Malta, and Marseilles where we toured the city.   I remember being thrilled to see boyhood heroes like the French Foreign Legion on parade.  

We returned on a Polish liner, the SS Batori.   This was similar to the first voyage, only more enjoyable, the ships crew was very friendly, and we made many friends with the British passengers travelling to India and Pakistan on tenure duty.   My impressions of the English during this voyage and in England were quite different to those I met or dealt with in India.   In England, I found it very easy to get close to the English, and found them no different to anyone else, whereas in India, especially before Independence, although always correct and civil, they were generally distant and conveyed a sense of superiority, easily expressed since they held all the executive positions in government and business.   I am very grateful for the opportunity to see the English at home as they really are, my self-esteem and view of my fellow human beings has greatly benefited from the experience.

I travelled extensively in the UK doing short courses.   While returning to London in the company’s chauffeured limousine from a visit to Decca Radar (I think), and while we were deep in conversation with two of their engineers, the car stopped at a red light.   To all our surprise, we saw an army major tap on the driver’s windscreen with his swagger stick, and when lowered, he stuck his head in and said “You are a bastard”.   The chauffeur looked straight ahead and said, “Thank you very much, sir”.   None of us said anything much after that.   I think the driver must have cut into the majors’ path, easily done as the majors car was a ‘beaten up’ old bomb, much like the major himself, strangely enough.   Class ruled apparently in those days anyway!

I was highly impressed with the honesty exhibited everywhere in England in 1953; it was quite common to see a pile of newspapers on a canvas cloth with a heap of coins nearby on the pavements of quite major roads in London itself.   Another instance of their innate honesty that I now remember is of a 30-year sterling silver cutlery set in a satin lined box that I bought from Selfridges.    Our first opportunity to open the cutlery case and use the set was many months later, when we found a teaspoon missing.   I wrote, describing the design and offered to pay, as we wanted to have a complete set.   A teaspoon arrived a few weeks later without a question being asked, at no charge – not even for their mailing costs!

February 54 to September 54   Staff posting to Air Headquarters  

After my course in the U. K., I was posted to Air HQ’s New Delhi as a staff officer in the Tech/Signals directorate; at the time I thought that this was so that I could use some of the expertise I had gained.   There must have been a change of policy about purchasing the radar, because I did nothing else but routine staff work.   I learned a lot about pushing paper around and taking minutes of technical meetings.   There was one major benefit though, the directorate had the practice of circulating the days outgoing mail to all in the directorate, and I quickly recognised those who had mastered the terminology and bureaucratic writing techniques and always seemed to have clean desktops!   Since I used to labour to find the right words, I began to keep a little black book where I jotted down every expression I thought was useful or elegant.   After a few weeks, I had developed a glossary of sorts and could match it with the others there who had spent many more years doing this sort of pen pushing.

In September, I was given the opportunity of volunteering for aircrew duties for a period of three years, this promised to take one as far away as possible from a desk job that one could hope for.   If selected, I would fly in transport and bomber/maritime-reconnaissance aircraft as a Flight Signaller.   Apart from the attraction of a more active service life and the chance of getting closer to the heart of the IAF, I would also be eligible for ?flying bounty? and get a considerable increment in salary provided I completed a minimum prescribed number of flying hours.

Some comments of home life:

We left Amritsar in late August I to board the Strathenaver in Bombay and Mary to rejoin her parents in Bandra, she was not authorised to accompany me as the course was less than a year long, in any case Mary was expecting our first child due in March the following year.   I returned from the UK in early February about a month before our son Peter was due.   While in the UK I was informed of my posting to Air Head Quarters, Delhi as a staff officer, I applied for annual leave and was granted a month’s leave.   I left for Delhi about three days before our son Peter was born!

I was allotted married officer accommodation in July, and Mary joined me with Peter, now four months old, and with Maggie who had been employed as nanny to look after Peter and be a general help to Mary in the house.

September 1954 to March 1955 – Flight Signaller Training.  

My application for Flight Signaller duties was accepted and I underwent aircrew training at the Flight Signaller?s School located at the Air Force Flying College, Jodhpur.   We studied the operation and maintenance of electrical, radio and radar systems in Bomber, Maritime Reconnaissance and Transport aircraft.   The training included theoretical and practical navigation, air traffic control, and meteorology as well as radio signalling and maintenance of equipment in the air.   Sqn.Ldr Junglewallah commanded the school. 

As usual, there was no service accommodation immediately available so we rented a house from a Rao Rajah Mohan Singh.   We were pleasantly surprised to find that the rent was not too high, but later discovered, fortunately just before we left, that this was because the house was reputed to be haunted, something Mary suspected, as she kept feeling that someone was leaving the room just as she entered.   Maggie too had commented to Mary about feeling another presence!

Another comment about Jodhpur may be of interest – when I arrived in Jodhpur in late October I noticed a great throng of local people milling about in a place not far from the Officer’s Mess.   Pictures and other mementos were being sold.   Apparently, a local dignitary, with connections to the ruler had died and his widow had committed ‘sati’ on the burning pier.   The arrangements had been kept secret as this was against the law.   The local people saw the event quite differently and the widow was held as a saint and venerated.

April 1955 to June 1956 – Duties in a Bomber Squadron    

After training, I was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and posted to No. 5 Squadron, Poona, flying B24 ‘Liberator’ bombers, as a Flight Signaller.

Promotions from Pilot Officer to Squadron Leader are made automatically on a time basis, provided one has passed the Promotion Examinations appropriate to the rank.   One needs to pass the Promotion Examination ‘A’ for promotion to Fg.Offr, ‘B’ for Flt Lt., and ‘C’ for Sqn. Ldr.

While in No. 5 Squadron I was told that all the B24’s were rebuilt from spare parts that had been discovered in 2ED and that Gp. Capt. Harjinder Singh of No. 2 Base Repair Depot obtained permission to rebuild these into an operational condition.   When completed, so the story went, a test pilot qualified on the B24 was brought in to check them out and provide flight, (take-off and landing), specifications.   The local squadron belief was that the aircraft was reliable and could be relied upon to fly 10 or more hours without problems, it was the first 30 minutes or so that was critical.   Being a high winged aircraft, crash landings were always fatal for all the crew.   The flight signaller and flight gunners were located in the rear of the aircraft, while the pilots and navigator were in the front; a bomb-bay separated the two sections.

- Unknown Liberator after a botched 3 engine practice landing at Poona in the fifties. Photo Courtesy: Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava

A flight gunner was pointed out to me once who, I was told, was midway to the cockpit section, when the navigator opened the bomb-bay.   Luckily he was able to grab the side while the alarm was raised; he was also fortunate that it was a dark night and could not see the terrain below, which might have unnerved him.  Understandably, he was unable to continue the mission and they returned.

Regular training was conducted as the main feature of one’s duties: simulated bombing exercises, aircraft recognition exercises, and flying with No. 6 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron to gain a familiarity on all aspects in which the Liberator aircraft could be used.   The squadrons also attended a three-month long course at Jamnagar where evasive tactics under fighter attack and other exercises were practised.   The crews were evaluated over their performance on each exercise.   While in Jamnagar, we lived under canvas, four to a tent.   I still remember, with amazement the giant mosquitoes that could draw blood even when one was not in direct contact with the mosquito net!

Home Life

I managed to get married officer accommodation in Lothian Road, in May, 1955, this was a temporary billet that had been built for use during the last war, three rooms in a row, but we loved it.   Three such blocks were joined together in series to form one structure.   Lothian Road was conveniently located about five minutes walk from the main shopping area of Poona Cantonments.   I had about ten kilometres to cycle each way to the airfield, so I quickly bought a NSU moped, which was ideal for the purpose.

Maryann, our second child was born on the 2nd June, 1955 at the local Military Hospital.   She was born with a blocked tear duct which got infected, she had to have a penicillin injection every evening, luckily the army infirmary managed by Dr. Ward, was across the road and I could take her there for her daily shot.   We were advised to have her eye duct cleared by an operation, but to wait till she was one year old.   This was successfully done on her first birthday at the Military Hospital, Poona Cantonment.

Sept.’56 to Sept.’57 – Flying in a VIP squadron .  

Posted to Air H.Q. Communication Squadron, Palam, New Delhi, the sole role for this squadron was flying VIP’s to places both in India and abroad.   One could not always anticipate on leaving home, when one might return, I was caught once or twice completely unprepared for an extended stay away; these were always interesting experiences though.   Regular Category Board examinations had to be taken by all, and the minimum pass was Master Green for pilots and Green for us aircrew i.e. fully qualified for every flying condition.  

I was also given the chance of converting to an Iluyshin 14S; this had been donated to Prime Minister Nehru by Prime Minister Khrushchev of the USSR and used by Comm. Sqdn. for VIP flights.   A Russian technician was provided with the IL 14S, he worked daily on the engines and airframe of the aircraft keeping it fully serviced, and he was still there when I left Comm. Sqn.   This aircraft used H. F. radio equipment of Russian manufacture identical to the American AN-ART 13, which was World War II vintage and long since considered obsolete in the West.   Later on a trip to Russia, I pointed this out, but was unable to convince the Russian crew that we flew with, that this was not an original Russian design.    I must add however that the equipment performed excellently.  

A couple of events stand out during this period:

In November 1956, three aircraft were sent to Bagdograh to bring the Dalai Lama, the Panchen Lama and the Maharajah of Sikkim and his family to Delhi to meet Pandit Nehru for discussions.   I understand that this was for discussions relating to the possible takeover by China.   Our aircraft conveyed the Maharajah of Sikkim; the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama travelled separately in the other two.   I still remember the large crowds of saffron robed Tibetans lining the road leading to the airfield for as far as the eye could see, to form a guard of honour to welcome and reverence the dignitaries. 

In July 1957, we flew to Moscow conveying Generals Thimmayya, with his wife, Habibullah Khan, and the Naval Chief on a goodwill visit at the invitation of Marshal Zhukov, the Soviet Defence Minister.   We flew to Amritsar, then via the Pakistan border to Kabul, then to Tashkent via Termez.   We spent a day at Tashkent, taken around the city and entertained right royally.   We visited the famous gymnasium, a massive affair where all the most promising gymnasts (and coaches) of the Soviet Union gathered and trained.   A Russian crew took over the aircraft from here, flying corridors that avoided sensitive sites, while we sat as passengers.   We flew to Moscow stopping briefly at Aktubinsk.   We stayed a little over two weeks in Moscow and were treated like royalty.   An ‘interpreter’, probably an agent, Alexei, appeared each morning with a wad of roubles to pay for all our activities for the day, including our meals.   We visited every tourist site and entertainment theatre imaginable, toured the Kremlin, and attended ballet and opera shows at the Bolshoi theatre.   We also visited factories manufacturing analogue computers and other equipment.   We used this opportunity to have our proficiency on the IL -14S examined by the Soviet examining board.

        The highlights of the visit, for me were:

A goodbye concert was held for us, and a visiting Egyptian military group was in one of the halls in the Kremlin.   A number of the most famous Russian performers entertained us.   The most outstanding act was a short excerpt from the Swan Lake ballet by a young Maya Plesitskaya, who was the number three ballerina at the time.   The other to impress me was a puppeteer who stood behind a podium, sang in Russian, but only needed to use a glove on one hand, and a bottle in the other to mime to the song, which was about a drunk.   Despite the language problems he easily conveyed the drama and meaning behind the act.

The Indian Ambassador invited us to dinner at his home.   It was largish affair, but unexpectedly informal and intimate.   As usual, alcohol flowed freely and on our way down the stairs, one of the Russian guests, who must have been a singer, sang ‘The Song of India’ by Rimsky-Korsakov.   The effect was electrifying.

Another memory that stands out is going to Sunday Mass in the local Roman Catholic Church, located in the ‘Male? Lubianka’, perhaps the same street as the famous prison!   The church was full of worshippers, and the service rich with singing, the deep faith of the people attending was obvious.   In fact, I was generally surprised while talking and getting to know the people we met at the various places we visited, at the number of people who admitted to being Catholic.   No one I ever met admitted to being a member of the communist party!

Comments on Home Life in Delhi

As usual, the waiting list for married officer accommodation was about nine months, so I rented a house in East Patel Nagar.   I had to go on a three day trip almost immediately after Mary arrived with our two children, so I asked Flt. Lt. Rothin Kar to call round after work to check on them, this he did, late that evening after dark.   There was a power blackout, so when he banged on the locked gates, Mary insisted he show her his identity card, then to buy her some candles.   Kar and I had been good friends ever since our training days; I heard that he left the Air Force for Canada not many years later.  

Living in rented accommodation was quite expensive and our bank balance began to suffer, so we began to hunt about for officers going on annual leave, normally of one to two months duration.   We would then live in their accommodation, moving their personal belongings to one room, and pay them for the priviledge of using their allotted quarters.   We hopped around in this way till July ’57 when the ‘well’ seemed to have dried up, we could locate no spare accommodation, and we were still well down the waiting list.   Our bank balance was at the point of no return, we had just enough to cover the cost of the family retreating to Mary’s parents in Bombay.   I was assigned for the Russian trip scheduled to last three weeks, so we decided it would be safest for the family to go home to Bandra and I said goodbye as I left for Russia.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Mary waiting on the edge of the tarmac when we returned.   Flt. Lt. Pat D’Cruz had got into the act and managed to get temporary accommodation, so we continued to live in the ‘bhangi’ colony in Palam.   The accommodation was basic and the U shaped arrangement accommodated four families, each with three rooms, there was little privacy, but we were happy and usually spent the evenings all sitting outside, chatting and singing; Pat was a gifted guitarist.   We visited Pat and Poppy D’Cruz in Vancouver, Canada in 1996, not long before Pat died.

A couple of personal anecdotes

These may further illustrate conditions of life in those times:

A baby son was born on the 5th February, 1957 in the Military Hospital, Delhi Cantonment and baptised Leslie.    The baby, however, was born without an anal opening and had to have a small operation to correct this.   The operation was a success but some days later he needed a blood transfusion.   I had just landed after a training flight to find those, not flying, getting ready to go to the MH; a call for blood had been received.   I also went, to find to my surprise that it was for our son Leslie.   We, including Mary, had our blood groups typed, and Mary’s blood type was determined to be compatible and therefore preferred, being the mother, to any of ours, including mine which is Type O.   Leslie’s condition worsened and he died on the 26th February.   Mary and I were mystified at the time.

I am a little unsure of the details now, but some years later in Agra, when Mary’s blood typing was again done, it was found to be Type AB by a civilian hospital after having been typed something else by the Military Hospital.   The doctor who looked into this with us explained that blood Type AB takes a step or two more to determine its true grouping and if we had any other unusual medical experiences in the past.   We then told her about our son Leslie and we were told that Mary’s blood group AB can only be given to those with blood group AB – apparently, the red blood cells can clump or agglutinate if donated to those with any other group with fatal consequences.  It looks as if Leslie’s death was due to human error.

My eldest son Peter, then about three years of age, developed pneumonia, which got so bad that he was put on the D.I list (dangerously ill list) and was on oxygen.   Mary would also spend the night with him, on a chair near his bed.   Early one morning, a large monkey appeared at the window, which had a missing pane of glass.   Spying the fruit on a dish on the far side of Peter’s bed, the monkey hopped in and standing on Peter’s chest tried to get at the fruit, Peter awoke with a fright.   Mary picked up a fly swat that was handy, and hit out at the monkey, other adults, including a nurse, ran out of the room, shouting ‘don’t do anything’.   The monkey jumped on Mary and savaged her arm, leaving deep teeth marks, then jumped back and left through the window.   The monkey tribe had made their home in the trees in the hospital compound, and had become a menace.   In addition, it appeared that the hospital authorities had a problem trying to handle the monkey menace, as many of the local people revered them.   Gp. Capt. Mulgaonkar, who was commanding the Air Force station, Palam sent a squad of Military Police; they shot the monkeys, perhaps not to kill, but only drive them away, I really do not know.   However, it worked.   For some years after this, if Peter heard loud bangs’ in the distance, as one does due to fire-works, during Diwali, he would say ‘they’re shooting monkeys’!

Next: Into the Sixties


9.  2 E D – No. 2 Equipment Depot located at Cotton Green, a suburb of Bombay. This depot kept and issued spare parts for equipment (including radar) to Equipment Sections in all the units in the Air Force

10.  PMC – President of the Mess Committee. The Officers Mess elected a committee of five officers presided over by a senior officer who normally ‘lived in’ i.e. he resided in the bachelor officer accommodation, normally in the grounds of the Air Force station. The committee managed every aspect of the mess, including keeping accounts, maintaining supplies, running of the kitchen and dining room, mess functions and so on.

11.  A major dam building project part of one of the five year plans. The workshop supporting this venture was located in Amritsar.

12.  Cantonments – were administered by the military and normally quite separate from the town from which it got its name. Civilians were given permission to own and build residences on a very limited basis, and then on a on a ninety-nine year lease basis, never freehold.

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