Video - IAF Volunteer Reserve Pilots In Britain (Nov 1940)

We love making annotations to WW2 era footage that surfaces showing Indian pilots. This latest one is a British Publicity film released by British Pathe Archive on Youtube.

Few people realise that a number of Indian pilots took part in operations from England. At the height of the Battle of Britain, 24 Indian pilots were sent to the UK to under go conversion training and participate in Ops. Even though they could take part only after the Battle of Britain, many of them distinguished themselves flying operations with the various commands.

These twenty four hailed from the 4th Pilots Course - who had received their commissions on 8th August 1940. Less than a week later, on 14th August, it was reported that the first batch of Indian pilots who had finished their training at ITW Lahore will be sent to the UK for operational training. At that time there were 13 direct entry Indian officers in the RAF in the UK.

The 24 Officers arrived by the P&O liner Strathalan in England on 8th October 1940. On arrival, they were given a welcome message addressed individually to them by the Air Minister, Sir Archibald Sinclair. The 24 were initially sent for basic flying training and later on to SFTS followed by OTUs. They subsequently spread out among the Squadrons in Fighter, Coastal and bomber Command. Eight of them were killed in training and operations.

The remaining sixteen officers came back and bought with them the experiences of flying in the European theatre. Another pilot was lost in operations against the Japanese, leaving fifteen survivors of the pioneer 24.

Read more about them at this link .

There are over a dozen annotations in this 2 min video and you will be surprised to see the number of identifications we did in this film.

7  of the 24 Officers sent to the UK died. Another died in the Pacific. The rest returned as heroes and some of them became legends in their own time.



Erlic Wilmot Pinto 

Ranjan Dutt 

Shiv Dev Singh 

Kanwar Haveli Shah Chopra 

Om Prakash Sanghi 

Hari Chand Dewan 

Edwin Nazirullah 

Kenneth Joseph Bhore 

Satya Pal Shahi 

Mian Mohd Latif 

Mohit Mohan Ghose 

Mahindra Singh Pujji 

Chaman Lal Tandon 

Harbans Krishan Khanna 

Ganjam Subbaramaiah 

Kali Prasad Chaudhury 

Rustom Nariman Dastur 

Chander Parkash Khosla 

Hukum Chand Mehta -- 

Ali Raza Khan Pasha -- 

Tarlochan Singh -- 

Gurbachan Singh -- 

Anandaraj Samuel Gnanamuthu 

Man Mohan Singh