Grand old IAF air warrior passes away at 93

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New Delhi, June 29 (ANI): Group Captain Gurdial Singh Paul, who served in the Indian Air Force from its formative years, passed away on Saturday. He was 93.

Singh was cremated near Brar Square, today. A wreath was placed on behalf of the IAF by Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Race Course, Air Commodore Ajit S Bhonsle.

Born on November 3, 1916, in Chittavatni in Pakistan, Singh studied at the Khalsa College, Amritsar.He joined the Royal Air Force and was commissioned to the IAF at Air Force Station Tambram.

In 1943, he visited the UK for training, sailing from Mumbai to Durban to Southampton on the Elle de France, encountering German U-boat in the Atlantic. He spent time at various stations of the RAF in London, Cranfield, and Branham etc.

He had the privilege to serve in the same Squadron as the actor, Clark Gable. At times, Gurdial flew over occupied France and Germany on air reconnaissance flights and on more than one occasion, had close encounters with the German Messerschmitt.

In 1946, he married Jaswant Kaur. The partition of India caused the personal losses of his in-laws, with Gurdial being in Lahore on his way from Peshawar.

He had served with officers of the like of Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh, Air Chief Marshal I H Latif, Air Marshal S Mukherjee, Air Marshal Rajaram, AVM Pinto, Air Commodore Mehar Baba, Group Captain Sarkar and Wing Commander Majumdar (an ace pilot during the 40s).

After serving at the Air Force stations Jalahalli and Secunderabad, Singh worked at Air Headquarters, New Delhi for several years in the Adminstration Branch, eventually going to Air Force Station Avadi as Station Commander in 1967. Before this tenure, it was the Staff College Hyderabad and NDC, New Delhi. He retired from the Air Force in 1971, as Station Commander Race Course, New Delhi.

Singh is survived by his wife, two daughters, a son and three grand children. (ANI)

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