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Thursday, September 24, 2020

1965 war hero Air Marshal PP Singh passes away

The Mahavir Chakra awardee was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in April 1950. In the beginning, he served as a Dakota pilot but later he switched over to the Canberra aircraft.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | August 14, 2020 11:34:29 pm
PP Singh passes away, Air Marshal, Chandigarh news, Punjba news, Indian express newsDuring the 1965 war, Wing Commander PP Singh was commanding No. 5 Squadron (Tuskers), stationed at Agra. The squadron, equipped with Canberra bombers, carried out bombing of various targets in Pakistan. (Source: Defence min)

Air Marshal PP Singh, who took part in air raid on Sargodha airfield in Pakistan in 1965 war, passed away Thursday at Command Hospital, Western Command, Chandimandir after a brief illness.

The Mahavir Chakra awardee was commissioned in the Indian Air Force in April 1950. In the beginning, he served as a Dakota pilot but later he switched over to the Canberra aircraft. He had the privilege of serving as ADC to the first President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad.

During the 1965 war, Wing Commander PP Singh was commanding No. 5 Squadron (Tuskers), stationed at Agra. The squadron, equipped with Canberra bombers, carried out bombing of various targets in Pakistan.

As per one report the squadron attacked Pakistani military positions east of Gujarat and airfields at Chaklala, Dab, Murid, Akwal, Risalwala, Wagowal, Sargodha and Peshawar. The squadron also gave close support to the army in Kasur, Khem Karan, Pasrur, Chawinda and Sialkot sectors.

The citation for the Mahavir Chakra to Wing Commander PP Singh says he was Commanding Officer of an Operational Bomber Squadron, which achieved a high pitch of operational preparedness within a short time.

“During the period from the 6th to 9th September 1965, he undertook six major offensive and tactical close support operations which included reconnaissance over the Sargodha airfield complex, Dab, Akwal and Marud airfields, marking of Peshawar airfield and bombing of Pakistani troop and armour concentrations in the various sectors. Disregarding his personal safety, in these very dangerous operations in the face of heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire, he led a number of bombing and reconnaissance missions deep into enemy territory and carried out his missions with courage determination and tenacity,” the citation reads.

In 1971 war, he coordinated Air Warfare operations as a Group Captain (Air 1 Central Air Command).

He went on to serve as Director of Air Force Intelligence, Air Officer Commanding No. 4 Wing (Agra) and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (FS&I) at Air Headquarters New Delhi. Promoted to the Rank of Air Marshal – he was posted as Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) incharge of operations at Eastern Air Command (Shillong).

Thereafter he returned to Air Headquarters as Vice Chief of Air Staff (VCAS). Air Marshal PP Singh was appointed as the Air Officer Commanding In Chief of the South Western Air Command in 1986 and held that position till his retirement in February 1987.

He spent his retirement years with his family based out of his home in Mohali (Punjab). He is survived by his daughter and son.

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