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Song of Life: Tribute to Worlds Oldest Fighter Pilot Squadron Leader Dalip Singh Majithia on His 100th Birthday

MG Singh- early retired Airforce senior officer who is now a corporate advisor. He is also a global traveler and writer

song-of-life-tributev-to-worlds-oldest-fighter-pilot-squadron-leader-dalip-singh-majithia-on-his-100th-birthday

Introduction

To be a man to fly planes and then enter into combat is perhaps the highest form of chivalry. Many will not agree with me but then it's a free world and everybody is entitled to his opinion. The world of aviation is thrilling and I am thankful that I spent a fair amount of time in this field.

I will now like to entertain my readers about a man who has just celebrated his hundredth birthday and I think he is the oldest living fighter pilot in the world. His name is Dalip Singh Majithia and he belonged to the state of Uttar Pradesh in India.

Dalip Singh had joined the Royal Indian Air Force in 1940 at Walton in Lahore. He left the service in 1947 as the Squadron Leader, which is equivalent to a major of the USAF.

On his hundredth birthday, the Air Force remembered him and deputed an Air Force band to play the tune 'happy birthday to you.' The local OC at Gorakhpur felicitated him on behalf of the Chief of Air Staff with a bouquet, a letter of commendation, and a cake which was duly cut by him. His wife of 73 years was along with him. Dilip Singh had married her in 1947 while on a visit to Australia. She is an Australian citizen and she willingly left Australia and got married to him in Gorakhpur.


song-of-life-tributev-to-worlds-oldest-fighter-pilot-squadron-leader-dalip-singh-majithia-on-his-100th-birthday
song-of-life-tributev-to-worlds-oldest-fighter-pilot-squadron-leader-dalip-singh-majithia-on-his-100th-birthday

Career

Dalip Singh joined the air force in 1940. This was the time when Great Britain was fighting a life and death war with Hitler's Germany. He was commissioned as a pilot officer on 1 August 1940. He belonged to the No 4 course of the GDP(General Duty pilot). He was a fast learner and was adjudged as the best pilot in his course.

He was initially trained on the Westland Wapiti IIA and also flew the hawker Audax and Hart which formed part of No 1 squadron.

With the Japanese imperial army advancing in Burma Dalip Singh was posted to number 6 squadron. This was equipped with the Hawker Hurricane which as we all know is a legendary plane of the Second World War. The task of No 6 squadron was to try and delay the Japanese advance. It was a difficult task as the Japanese moved under cover of thick jungles and it was difficult to locate them.

Dalip Singh Majithia flew over the Burma front under the command of the legendary Baba Meher Singh, who was honored with a Distinguished Service Order and was later awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for his role in the 1947-48 war with Pakistan.

The Japanese surrendered in 1945. He had been promoted as Flight Lieutenant on 1 October 1943. At the end of the war, he was assigned to British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (BCOF)and was stationed at its HQ's in Melbourne.

This was a happy moment for him as he met Joan Sanders and fell in love with her. He married Joan at his family home in Gorakhpur.

He was now promoted to Squadron Leader but as he had massive landed assets and property in Gorakhpur, his parents were keen that he comes home. He resigned from the Air Force in March 1947 and along with his wife settled down in Gorakhpur.

He did not give up his love for flying and bought 2 L-5 light aircraft which the Americans were selling as they left India. He made history when in1949 he became the first pilot to land his aircraft in the Kathmandu Valley where no aircraft had ever landed before. This was at the request of the king of Nepal who wanted to observe if an aircraft could be used in the Nepal Valley.



Last word

The life of Squadron Leader Dalip Singh looks like a page from a romantic novel. He continued flying till 1980 and then began to concentrate more and more on golf. Dalip Singh is a man who can be ideal for the youth of today. Here is a man who was a fighter pilot and continued flying until the age of 60. He also had a wonderful love marriage and the good lady is still with him.

Right down from the Chief of Air Staff, the Air Force remembers this man. It is a moving sight to watch the squadron leader being felicitated along with his wife Joan. The air force band trumpeter playing happy birthday brings a lump in one's throat. Dalip Singh was born in 1920 and yesterday celebrated his hundredth birthday. I also wish him all the best in the years to come. I must point out that Dalip Singh is extremely fit and I have been told just two days back he had a game of golf.

Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 15, 2020:

Tom, thanks.

tom on October 15, 2020:

his name is sood,thats all i know ,he is a graduate of tacde

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 15, 2020:

Tom, I recollect reading Amrita's life, but that's a long time back

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 15, 2020:

David, so nice to read your impressions.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 15, 2020:

Thank you Tom for your comment.Who was the pilot she married?

tom on October 15, 2020:

related to amrita shergill,after amritas death her husband reamarried,sole daughter wife of iaf pilot

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 09, 2020:

Thanks, Tom, yes, nice of you to have mentioned this fact

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 08, 2020:

Thank you David for commenting and your good wishes. Its a memory you will not forget.

David Jacobs on October 08, 2020:

My wife and I met Depi and Joan when they visited their lifelong friends Micky and Kaye Weatherall at Wallendbeen NSW Australia. On every visit to Australia we were enthralled by their stories and life. We were so fortunate to visit them in 1993. Our blessings to you both, congratulations Depi

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on September 16, 2020:

Robert, thank you

Robert Sacchi on September 15, 2020:

You're welcome and thank you for posting.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on September 15, 2020:

Thank you, Robert, for sparing time and commenting.

Robert Sacchi on September 14, 2020:

Thanks for telling the story a Squadron Leader Dalip Singh Majitha. He belies the myth: "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots."

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 05, 2020:

Thank you, Umesh, for sparing time and commenting.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 05, 2020:

Wonderful life sketch. Well presented.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 05, 2020:

Flourish, thank you. for your comment

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on August 05, 2020:

Flourish, thank you. for your comment

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 05, 2020:

A life well lived. 100 years serving his country admirably and loving his wife for 75 years. Amazing.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 31, 2020:

Thank you, Devika, for sparing time and commenting

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 31, 2020:

MG Singh you wrote an interesting hub I see the greatness in his leadership.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 31, 2020:

Col, to all of us who have served in the Air Force he is a great inspiration. Bless him

Lt Col Parduman Singh on July 31, 2020:

A wonderful article about a veteran. I salute him

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on July 30, 2020:

Liz, I am delighted with your comment.

Liz Westwood from UK on July 30, 2020:

This is a fascinating biographical article. He has made good use of his 100 years.