With the Tigers in Burma - Air Marshal A R Pandit

 

After passing out of 151 OTU, he joined No.1 Squadron IAF based at Miranshah in the North West Frontier Province in April 1943. His duties included Road Recce, Tactical Recce, Photography and Bombing and Machine Gunning of the ferocious and ruthless Pathan tribals.

This tour of duty totalled 19 hours of operational flying and ended when he had to force-land his Hurricane IIB after an engine failure during a low level bombing exercise at Nowshera. As a result of injuries suffered in this accident, he was not with No.1 Squadron when it moved to operations in Burma in December 1943, but joined them later in March of 1944 at Imphal.

His duties in Burma mostly involved photo and tactical reconnaissance of strongly held Japanese positions and the photographs that he brought back provided very valuable information to the Army. The photographs secured by him were highly commended by the Fourteenth Army and for these acts of gallantry he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 22 Jan. 1945. During this tour of duty he completed 169 sorties totalling 206 hours in seven months.

- With a Hurricane II at Miranshah - Fg Offr Gupta on the wing.
Fg Offr Bollineni Ramachandra Rao DFC, Fg Offr A R Pandit DFC,  Fg Offr Khemendra Nath Kak DFC (Kneeling) and  Fg Offr Kapur with the Squadron pet 'Ceaser' at Miranshah. -
- Fg Offr A R Pandit and Fg Offr B R "Pop" Rao, both DFCs of No.1 Squadron on a Hawker Hurricane in Miranshah
Fg Offr S Hafeez on his Hurricane IIc. This aircraft appears to have one of its Cannons removed for better speed. Going under the call sign 'Yellow One' Hafeez is believed to have collided with another Hurricane flown by Fg Offr AC Prabhakaran during a patrol.   -
- Entry from F/O AR Pandit's Log Book on being awarded the DFC. Read the complete citation 
THE DFC SMILE, photograph of the CO Sqn Ldr Arjan Singh from Air Marshal Pandits Log book from the time his DFC was announced -
- THE DFC SMILE II, photograph of Fg Offr A R Pandit proudly sporting the DFC Ribbon below his flying wings.
1703 GD(P) Fg Offr Theodore Alex Manuel Andrade was shot down in flames on 8th May 44. Click to read the full log entry. -
- With No.2 Sqn at Kohat in 1946. Sqn Ldr M Rabb (Third from left, front row), Wg Cdr Mehar Singh (Fourth from left. front row) and Flt Lt Pandit (Sixth from left, front row, in the dark colored battle dress)
Flt Lt Pandit leading No.2 Sqn's move from Kohat to Pune. No.2 had already converted to the Spitfire VIII by that time. -

 

© AMIT JAVADEKAR