Wg Cdr Locksley Percival Fegredo

 

Memoirs of an IAF Technical Signals Officer - Wg Cdr Locksley Percival Fegredo

 

Introduction

I have written these memoirs of my life because of a request from Samir Chopra, who was here recently in Sydney on a visit from New York. I was reluctant to write my memoirs of the Air Force at first, as I have never been involved in any combat operations.   However, Samir explained that he is one of a group involved with collating articles about the Indian Air Force; and that they have already published quite a wide spectrum of experiences of ex-service men on the Internet, but none about those in the Technical Branches.   He was concerned that histories of many projects and stories of the Technical and other Branches might otherwise be lost forever.   I reluctantly agreed to do what I could to help and trust that what I have put down is readable and of interest to others besides my own immediate family and friends.

As I began writing, I realized that I had lived in an unique period of India's history, the first twenty-one years of my life was spent during British rule; with my father, a doctor serving in various British Military Hospitals from the North-East to the North-West of India.  

Towards the end of this period, the British decided to give India independence and conducted a plebiscite, resulting in the division of India based on religion.  Finally, Independence was declared; India was split in two resulting in communal violence, which at first, seemed out of control.

The next twenty-three years were spent in Independent India; literally, as I lived for considerable periods in every state of the country, and got to know the country and the people as well as one could living mainly in either Railway (with my parents), or Indian Air Force enclaves.

My early life has been unusual in that I spent it mostly away from home, in boarding school, engineering college, or Jesuit noviciate.   Those that I met during these periods and the attitudes that prevailed during each period shaped much of my thinking and attitudes.  I have therefore added a few details of this part of my life that might otherwise seem out of place in a document related to the Air Force.   I have also attempted to describe service conditions in those early days and the heroism of wives in coping with the frequent moves and lack of accommodation.   This faith in Providence is perhaps the aspect that now impresses me most.

Disclaimer.

I have unfortunately never kept a diary, so I have had to rely on an increasingly uncertain memory, especially for names and dates.   Luckily, I have the Observers/Air Gunners Log book that I used for Flight Signaller duties to refer to for those events involving flights; I also used the job resume? I wrote just before leaving India for Australia, which had dates and brief descriptions of courses and postings.   In all cases, I have tried to indicate clearly those events in which I have personal knowledge (or participation), from others that are based on hearsay.  


Part 1CHILDHOOD AND SCHOOLING DAYS

Part 2 SERVICE IN THE INDIAN AIR FORCE

Part 3 INTO THE SIXTIES

Part 4  LAST YEARS IN SERVICE

 

-Locksley Percival Fegredo was born in 1926 and joined the Indian Air Force in 1950 on completion of his University and Engineering education. As one of the first batch of technical officers, Locksley was involved in many of the pioneering efforts of the Indian Air Force involving electronics, airborne radar and communication.

The rapidly expanding Air Force employed the same philosophy of self-reliance that influenced govt decisions. This led to many opportunities unique to that period and unparalleled opportunities for furthering his engineering knowledge by undergoing courses abroad and project work at home. There was a downside to the rapid Air Force expansion; inadequate amenities, mainly accommodation for families. He was fortunate that his wife had the independence and self-reliance necessary to treat it all as one great adventure.

He would spend twenty years in uniform before deciding to try something very different and start a new life in Australia. He continued his involvement with engineering projects, this time as Systems Engineer for a large American engineering company engaged in leading edge technology in a variety of industrial projects.

Locksley Fegredo passed away in February 2011, in NSW, Australia.