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A friend on Twitter pointed me to this old film titled “Planes of Hindustan” on the website of the Imperial War Museum about the Indian Air Force which was officially established on October 8, 1932. I found it quite fascinating especially as it had has rare footage of the No. 1 Squadron of the Air Force commanded at that time by Squadron Leader Subroto Mukherjee.

Decades ago, I remember reading “Survivors Story” the autobiography of Air Marshal Sir Gerald Gibbs who was the last British officer to command the Indian Air Force. He handed over to Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee, who became the first Indian to command the Indian Air Force in 1954.

In those days, Air Marshal Mukherjee was the childhood hero of thousands of young Indians like me. We had heard of his exploits during and after the Second World War. As a child I remember the horror with which we heard the news of his death in Tokyo in 1960.

The Indian Air Force has come a long way since those far away days. As we take pride in its achievements, we remember with respect the pioneering work done by Air Marshal Mukherjee and others of his ilk.