1.Air Commander Mehar Singh – Saviour of Ladakh Squadron Leader Mehar Singh was conferred the first and the only D.S.O. of the Royal Indian Air Force during World War II. The moment of his ultimate glory came when he created aviation history by landing the first aircraft on the outskirts of Leh, by the banks […]
1.Air Commander Mehar Singh – Saviour of Ladakh
Squadron Leader Mehar Singh was conferred the first and the only D.S.O. of the Royal Indian Air Force during World War II.
The moment of his ultimate glory came when he created aviation history by landing the first aircraft on the outskirts of Leh, by the banks of the river Indus.
By January 1948, Pakistan’s armed misadventure was fully contained in the Jammu region as also in the Srinagar valley. But for Mehar Singh’s innovative bombing with Dakotas followed by the landing of the first one at a manually-levelled, mere 600-yard strip at Poonch, that tract of India would have been lost to Pakistan. However, it was the lack of road and aerial access to Ladakh year-long which was now a cause of serious concern. It was evident that for the moment airlift of troops and materials to Ladakh was the only course open. It was equally evident that the only man who could pioneer the aerial landing at Leh was Mehar Singh.
2.Brig. Pritam Singh – Saviour of Poonch
Brig. Pritam Singh is another name of courage, command and bravery. He is the only man to whom the credit goes for saving Poonch and peoples there in. He was named as “Sher Bacha” (A Child having bravery and courage that of Loin) by the elders of that time. This was not only name but also a tribute out of love and from the core of heart. Even today the survivors of that turmoil assert that their life is a gift from Brig. Pritam Singh.
Born in Dina village in Ferozpur, Punjab he was commissioned in Royal Army in 1929 and got elevated to the ranks of Lieutenant, Captain and Major in the years 1931,1935 and 1940 respectively. For his courage and contribution he was decorated with Millitary Cross. Afer being promoted to the rank of Lt Colonel he joined 1 Kumaon (PARA) in 1946.
In 1947-48 Brig. Pritam Singh was commanding 1 Kumaon (PARA) in the operations in Kashmir. After the successful battle of Shalltang 1 Kumaon (PARA) was directed to save Poonch as a part of Poonch Brigade.
In November 21, 1947 Brigadier Pritam Singh leading only 419 soldiers of 1 Kumaon Para entered Poonch to write history of sacrifice, gallantry and heroism.
He had to do impossible job of saving dying refugees, maintaining law and order and fighting with equipped enemy sitting all around.
Brigadier Pritam Singh reorganized the resources he had and led daring attacks on the enemy posts and succeeded in uprooting the settled enemy locations. The operation lasted for almost one long year to bring peace back in Poonch.
3.Flying Officer Nirmaljit Sekhon, PVC- saviour of Srinagar
He was honored the Paramvir Chakra is the highest medal for gallantry of Indian Military.
In December 1971, Pakistan attacked at 14 airfields all across North India to preempt the Indian Air Force. At this time Nirmaljit Singh was posted at the forward base in Kashmir with the squadron named Flying bullets. His plane was an obsolete Gnat. Their airfield was attacked on 14th December 1971.
Only available pilot at this time at Srinagar Base was Nirmal Jit Singh. Flying from Srinagar on Dec 14th, Sekhon single handedly took on all six PAF Sabres. Although eventually overwhelmed, he managed to take score confirmed hits on two of them, and damage on rest of them. Once the Pakistan Sabres ran away he managed to land his Gnat just before his death due to bullets piercing through his body. Param Vir Chakra (the nation’s highest gallantry award) was posthumously awarded to Flag Officer N.J.S. Sekhon.
~ Source: Sikhchic.com, sikh-history.com, poonch.nic.in