17 September 2017

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Facts Short Biography of Arjan Singh IAF Five Star Marshal

Facts Short Biography of Arjan Singh IAF Five Star Marshal

September 16, 2017 - The Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh breathed his last at the Army Hospital (R&R), New Delhi. He was 98.

Facts Short Biography of IAF Five Star Marshal Arjan Singh

Name - Arjan Singh

Born – 15 April 1919, Lyallpur, Punjab, British India now Faisalabad, Pakistan
Nationality – Indian
Allegiance – British India and Independent India

Died – 16 September 2017 (aged 98) New Delhi, India
He died at 7:47 p.m.
Death Cause – Heart Attack

Education –
Trained Pilot
Arjan Singh was educated at Montgomery, British India (now in Pakistan) and later entered the RAF College Cranwell in 1938 and was commissioned as a pilot officer in December 1939
In 1938 when he got selected for the Empire Pilot training course at RAF Cranwell, he was still in college and was only 19 years old.
Height (approx.) - 170 cm or in meters- 1.70 m or in feet inches- 5’ 7”
Weight (approx.) - in kilograms- 70 kg or in pounds- 154 lbs
Eye Color - Black
Hair Color –Black

Arjan Singh got  admission into Government College, Lahore which only took first divisioners.
He spent three and a half years there.
Arjan Singh got trained in England as there was no arrangements for training in British India.
Arjan Singh started his training in 1938 and it was supposed to last two years. Then the war started in Europe in September 1939 and he got commissioned in December.
There was a shortage of pilots everywhere — in the Royal Air Force and the Indian Air Force, which had only one squadron at Ambala. Prithipal Singh (from the royal house of Patiala) and Arjan Singh were the last two men to join the RIAF from Cranwell in January 1940….
They were the last to join and complete the squadron.

Family –
Father - Kishan Singh (Army Officer)
When Arjan Singh was born, his father was a Lance Daffadar (equivalent rank to corporal in Indian Army) in the Hodson’s Horse (4th Horse), a cavalry regiment of Indian Army.
Few websites mentioned that His father, Kishan Singh, a civil engineer, worked in Ceylon Railways.

Arjan Singh married to Teji Singh
Children -  Arvind Singh

Arjan Singh Indian Air Force Career – 
in 1940, Singh’s Hawker Audax was shot down in the NWF by the Pathans. They used to capture arms, machine guns and so on from British troops. Indian soldiers would rather die than give up their arms.

Arjan Singh went to Imphal in 1943. By this time, he had jumped four ranks and was a Squadron Commander, in the rank of a Squadron Leader.

The Imphal Valley was surrounded by the Japanese and the only land route had been cut off by the Japanese.  They were provided supplies by the American Air Force, which also used to fly over the hump to China and deliver rations, ammunition and fuel to them

 squadron of Arjan Singh was kept in the valley and played a major role in helping the valley withstand the siege. Arjan Singh got the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) that was awarded by Lord Mountbatten. Later, squadron got eight DFCs—a record among all squadrons, whether Indian or British.
His first posting on being commissioned involved flying Westland Wapiti biplanes in the North-Western Frontier Province as a member of the No.1 IAF Squadron.

Arjan Singh flew against the tribal forces before he was transferred for a brief stint with the newly formed No.2 IAF Squadron.

Later he moved back to No.1 Sqn as a Flying Officer, when the Squadron was re-equipped with the Hawker Hurricane.
Promoted to the rank of Squadron Leader in 1944, Arjan Singh also flew Close Support missions during the crucial Imphal Campaign and later assisted the advance of the allied forces to Rangoon, Burma.

For his role in successfully leading the squadron during combat, Arjan Singh received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944.

He was given command of the IAF Display flight which flew Hawker Hurricanes after the war that toured India giving demonstrations.

He had nearly faced a court-martial in 1945 for boosting the morale of a trainee pilot (who was rumored to be the future Air Chief Marshal Dilbagh Singh) to attempt a low pass over a house in Kerala. Arjan, in his defense, said that it was necessary for every cadet to be a fighter pilot.

In 1945, Arjan had commanded the exhibition flight of Indian Air Force. He had also led the Air Force during World War II.

He became the Wing Commander of Royal Indian Air Force in 1947 and got stationed at the Air Force Station, Ambala.

On 15 August 1947, he was given the unique honor of leading the fly-past of more than a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi.

Immediately after independence, he took over the command of Air Force Station, Ambala, in the rank of Group Captain.

In 1949, after promotion to the rank of Air Commodore, Arjan Singh took over as the Air Officer Commanding of Operational Command, which later came to be known as the Western Air Command.

On 2nd the January 1955, he was named as the Air Commodore of Western Air Command in Delhi.

From August 1964 to July 1969, Arjan served as the Chief of Air Staff (Air Marshal).

Arjan Singh had the distinction of having the longest tenure as the AOC of Operational Command, from 1949-1952 and again from 1957-1961.

Promoted to Air Vice Marshal, he was the AOC-in-C of Operational Command. Towards the end of the 1962 war, he was appointed as the Deputy Chief of Air Staff and became the Vice Chief of Air Staff by 1963.

On 01 August 1964, Arjan Singh took over as the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) in the rank of Air Marshal. Arjan Singh was the first Air Chief who kept his flying category till his CAS rank.

Having flown over 60 different types of aircraft from Pre-Second World War era biplanes to the more contemporary Gnats & Vampires, he had also flown in transports like the Super Constellation.

A testing time came in September 1965   when Pakistan launched Operation Grand Slam, in which an armored thrust targeted the vital town of Akhnur, he was summoned into the Defense Minister's office with a request for air support.

When asked how quickly the IAF will be ready for operations, he replied with his characteristic nonchalance,"...in an hour". And true to his word, the Air Force struck the Pakistani offensive in an hour. He led the IAF through the war showing unparalleled leadership.

Arjan Singh was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his leadership during the 1965 War and subsequently the rank of the CAS was upgraded to that of Air Chief Marshal.

Arjan Singh became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force. 

as Arjan Singh turned 50, He retired in July 1969

Arjan Singh was appointed as the Indian ambassador to Switzerland in 1971. He was the Ambassador to the Vatican at the same time, to the court of Pope John Paul VI.

The government of India, in 1974, appointed him as the High Commissioner to Kenya.

Singh was a member of the National Commission of Minorities and the Government of India between 1975 and 1981.

Between December 1989 and December 1990, he served as the Lieutenant Governor of the national capital, Delhi.

In recognition of his services, the Government of India conferred the rank of the Marshal of the Air Force onto Arjan Singh in January 2002 making him the first and the only 'Five Star' rank officer of the Indian Air Force.

He remained a flyer till the end of his tenure in the IAF, visiting forward squadrons & units and flying with them.
Arjan Singh was and remains a source of inspiration to generations of Indians.

In 2016 Air Force Station, Panagarh was renamed as Air Force Station Arjan Singh.
That time Arjan Singh was 97-year-old.

His demise marks an end of a glorious era of the Indian Air Force.

Time Line Arjan Singh –
1919 - born
1939 — Commissioned in Royal IAF
1945 — Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross
1947 — Commander, Air Force Station, Ambala
1948 — Director, Training, Air Headquarters
1950 — Air Commodore, AOC, Operational Command
1959 — Vice Air Marshal
1961— Air Officer in Charge, Administration, Air HQ
1963 — Deputy Chief of Air Staff and subsequently Vice Chief of Air Staff
1964 — Chief of Air Staff
1965 — Air Chief Marshal
1965 — Awarded Padam Vibhushan
1966 — Chairman of the Chief of Staff Committee
1969 — Retired from IAF
1971— Ambassador to Switzerland
1974 — High Commissioner to Kenya
1980 — Member of the Minorities Commission
1989 — Lt. Governor, Delhi.
26 January 2002 - Marshal of the Indian Air Force
April 2011 - Wife Teji Singh dies at the age of 80
2017 - Died 

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tags –
Autobiography Biography Facts Major Arjan Singh IAF Career Second World War 1965 War