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Veteran Squadron Leader Dalip Singh Majithia of the Indian Air Force Dies at 103

Veteran Squadron Leader Dalip Singh Majithia of the Indian Air Force Dies at 103

At his property in Uttarakhand, Squadron
Leader Dalip Singh Majithia, the oldest surviving pilot in the Indian Air Force, passed away on Monday night at the age of 103. At the age of 103, Indian Air Force pilot Squadron Leader Dalip Singh Majithia, the oldest pilot still alive, passed away. Majithia's life served as a tribute to her dedication to service, her love of adventure, and her passion for flying.


Childhood and enlisting in the Indian Air Force

Following in the footsteps of his uncle, Surjeet Singh Majithia, Majithia was born in Shimla on July 27, 1920. In 1940, he enlisted in the Indian Air Force (IAF) volunteer reserve in time for World War II. His grandfather, Sundar Singh Majithia, was connected to the Chief Khalsa Diwan and was one of the founders of Khalsa College Amritsar. His father, Kirpal Singh Majithia, was a well-known person in Punjab during British control.


The Pilot's Journey

Majithia started his flying career at the Karachi Flying Club, where he picked up the fundamentals of controlling a Gypsy Moth. at August 1940, he then enrolled at the Initial Training School (ITA) in Walton, Lahore, for the 4th Pilot's Course. He received the Best Pilot Trophy three months later and was assigned to the No. 1 Flying instruction School in Ambala to pursue further advanced flying instruction.


Experiences and Honors During the War

Majithia joined No. 6 Squadron in March 1943, serving as a flying officer under the famed "Baba" Mehar Singh. He was assigned to fly Hurricanes as the Flight Commander of No. 3 Squadron in January 1944. He flew a lot at Kohat during this time, when he served alongside Air Marshal Randhir Singh, who was awarded the Vir Chakra in 1948, and Air Marshal Asghar Khan, who would go on to become the Chief of Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force.


Visiting his Wife and Posting to Burma

Majithia was assigned to No. 4 Squadron as the Flight Commander in Burma during his subsequent service. Following a protracted sickness that prevented him from flying regularly, he worked for a while at Air Headquarters before becoming the IAF's liaison officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Melbourne, Australia. He met Joan Sanders Majithia, his future wife, at this period. She served as a code breaker in the Women's Royal Australian Navy Service during World War II.


Retirement and Persistent Interest in Aviation

On March 18, 1947, Majithia announced his retirement from the Indian Air Force and moved into his family's land at Sardarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, which is close to Gorakhpur. His passion for flying did not, however, fade. He created aviation history in 1949 when he carried out the first aircraft landing in Kathmandu, Nepal, on an unkempt plot of land that is currently home to the nation's international airport. 

Veteran Squadron Leader Dalip Singh Majithia of the Indian Air Force Dies at 103