Air Cmde P M Wilson – Cadet Days

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Flight Cadet “Pete” Wilson (later Air Commodore Peter M Wilson, PVSM, VrC) learned to fly in Jodhpur and Ambala over the period 1947-48. At the time these were the primary training establishments of the then-Royal Indian Air Force. With the fullest respect to his many illustrious coursemates and contemporaries, Pete Wilson was the outstanding cadet of his batch.

At the Elementary Flying Training School, RIAF Jodhpur, where he learned ab initio and elementary flying on Tiger Moths, Pete Wilson took the trophies for being Best in Flying, as well as Best in Ground Subjects, and topped them off with a number of other awards including the prestigious Patiala Trophy. The trophies were presented by the Maharaja of Jodhpur.

At the Advanced Flying School, RIAF Ambala, he graduated to operational flying on Harvards and on Spitfires, of the Mk VIII and Mk XIV variants. Interestingly, the specific examples of each of these Marks in which he did his first solos on type, NH631 and NH749, are both preserved today; the former at the IAF Museum at Palam in India, and the latter at the Museum of Flying at Santa Monica, California, in the USA. (Read More on the Spitfire Survivors)

Commissioned while at Ambala, Pilot Officer Wilson stood out there as he had done at Jodhpur, and took the Sword of Honour, as well as prizes for gunnery and other subjects.

More details will be made available in a forthcoming update.

Characteristically, Air Commodore Wilson does not speak of his accomplishments then or later. We are only able to record them here because of the existence of the photographs alongside. 

- Flight Cadet Peter Wilson receives one of his many awards at Jodhpur from the Maharaja of Jodhpur, 1947
The newly-commissioned Pilot Officer Peter Wilson dips the Sword of Honour in salute to the Reviewing Officer -
- Pilot Officer Peter Wilson receives a gunnery award from Air Commodore Narendra, 1948. This rolling Trophy is still on display at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal.
The newly-commissioned Pilot Officer Peter Wilson dips the Sword of Honour in salute to the Reviewing Officer -
- With Harvards at AFS
With a Spitfire XIV (possibly NH749, in which he solo’ed) -
- Role reversal: This photo was  taken at CTU Hakimpet, where Wilson was himself an instructor in the period 1953-55

Courtesy: K S Nair

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