Awards for the year 1953


A total of 2 Awards are listed.
Ashok Chakra : 1 | Kirti Chakra : 1 |
Ashok Chakra
Flt Lt Suhas Biswas 2883 GD(P)Unit : Air HQ and Comm  Award Date 03 Feb 52 Announced 26 Jan 53
Details :

On Sunday, the 3rd February 1952, a Devon Aircraft carrying six passengers, which included the Army Commander, Western Command, the Chief of the General Staff, the QuarterMaster General, one Divisional Commander, the Military Secretary and the Deputy Director of Supplies and Transport, Army Headquarters, was piloted by Flight Lieutenant Suhas Biswas on a flight from Lucknow to Delhi. Soon after the aircraft left Lucknow at about 1800 hours, the port engine developed serious trouble and caught fire. Flight Lieutenant Biswas tried hard to extinguish the fire but without success; so he immediately decided to force land. It was then getting dark but there was just sufficient light to choose a flat piece of ground. During the descent from 6,000 feet, the burning port engine fell out and the aircraft got out of control but Flight Lieutenant Biswas soon succeeded in bringing the aircraft under control. He then switched off the only engine functioning, and made a successful belly landing under the worst conditions, thus averting a major disaster.

Fully realising the gravity of the situation and in the face of certain disaster, Flight Lieutenant Biswas’s demeanour and behaviour in the plane was inspiring. At no time did he show that he was not in complete control of the situation. His presence of mind when the plane caught fire, skillful navigation of the plane when the engine had fallen out and his courage in landing the plane on unreconnoitred ground in twilight showed leadership of the highest order and set a magnificent example of extreme devotion to duty.


Full Story: On the 3rd of February, 1952, The U. P. Area command of the Indian Army was holding a tactical Exercise in Lucknow. To Witness this Exercise, High ranking Army Officials decided to fly down to the Exercise to observe. The Then GOC-in-C Western Command Lt Gen S. M Shrinagesh (Later COAS) , The Quarter Master General Maj-Gen K. S . Thimayya (later COAS), The Chief of General Staff Maj Gen S. P. P. Thorat (later GOC-inC East), The Military Secretary Maj Gen Sarda Nand, Maj Gen Mohinder Singh Chopra and Brig Ajaib Singh boarded the IAF HQ and Communications Flight De Havilland Devon (HW 516) which was being flown by Flt Lt Suhas Biswas. The Devon reached Lucknow and after the exercises were completed, the Officers returned for the return flight to Delhi. The Devon took off at 1800 Hrs and moments after the aircraft took off, the Crew observed the port engine was spewing smoke and soon a fire broke out. The Devon became difficult to control and as the fire kept creeping towards the main fuselage, Biswas, the pilot put the Devon in a dive in an attempt to reduce altitude and attempt a crash landing before the aircraft fuel reserves caught fire and blew up. As the Devon was put into the dive, The Aircraft shuddered in the airflow and The Engine mounting broke away, resulting in the burning engine seperating from the wing and falling off. Biswas levelled the Aircraft and belly landed sucessfully at a village near the Sandilla Railway Station. All the occupants walked out of the crashed aircraft unhurt with the pilot being the last to leave.

Flt Lt Suhas Biswas awarded the First Ashoka Chakra to the Indian Air Force for the presence of mind, Skill and cool courage in maintaining the Stricken aircraft and saving the lives of many Senior Army Officers. Which included Two Future Army Chiefs and an Army Commander. The Air Force Chief, Air Marshal Subroto Mukerjee, had had the passenger chairs removed from the wrecked Devon and presented it individually to each of the survivors of the crash with a Brass Plate mentioning the circumstances of the crash.

Reference: Notification No. 21-Pres/52 dated 22nd February, 1952 in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India. 

Kirti Chakra
Flt Lt Raizada Harbans Chawdry 2952 AE(M)Unit : No.12 Squadron  Award Date 06 Oct 49 Announced 26 Jan 53
Details :

At about 1430 hours on the 6th October, 1951 an Indian Air Force Dakota crashed in Turkey, and resulted in the death of five aircrew, including Air Commodore Narendra. Flt. Lt. R.H. Chawdhry was one of two survivors of that accident. When the aircraft crashed, Flt. Lt. Chawdhry was thrown clear of the wreckage, and sustained serious injuries on his arm and knee. In spite of this he showed extraordinary courage and self sacrifice. His action after the crash was a noble example of conspicuous bravery and calmness in the most trying circumstances. He dragged the other survivor, Pilot Officer M.M. Dutt, who was unconscious and whose thigh bone was fractured, from the burning aircraft and thus saved the life of a comrade from certain death by fire. He then rushed to aid the other victims and succeeded in smothering the flames with his rain coat and in spite of the heat and smoke attempted to put out the entrapped persons from the wreckage. He did not stop his efforts against overwhelming odds until the main tank of the aircraft exploded and thus made further effort on his part impossible.

He improvised arrangements for the safety of the other survivor, Pilot Officer M.M. Dutt and walked 6 to 7 miles with utmost difficulty, through the great part of the night, through unknown mountainous territory to help.

Reference: Notification No. 22-Pres/53 dated 25th July, 1953 published in Part 1, Section 1, Gazette of India dated 1st August. 1953. 

The Awards Database presented here was made possible by the kind generosity of Air Marshal Bharat Kumar, author of Courage & Devotion to Duty : A Chronicle of IAF's Honours and Awards (1932-2008). Air Marshal Bharat Kumar had very graciously given permission to reproduce the citations from the book on this website.
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