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Thread: Bale out at Cranwell (31-33)

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    Default Bale out at Cranwell (31-33)

    Flt Cadet Aspy Merwan Engineer trained at Cranwell between 03 Sep 31 and 14 Jul 33 .

    During this time he is said to have baled out of an aircraft during aerobatics after it caught fire and earned a caterpillar club badge.

    Can anyone share the details on the date and aircraft ? any other references are also appreciated.

    Engineer won the Groves trophy later on and served in the Indian Air Force to become its chief in 1960.

    This is a picture of him at Cranwell
    http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/1940s/Engineers/Aspy-Groves-Trophy.jpg

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    20 Feb 1933 J7176 AW Siskin Cranwell Pilot Cadet A.M. Engineer

    This is from an old record I held.. Can anyone check the J Serials book from Air Britain to confirm?

    Thanks
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 18th February 2010 at 13:58.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulmcmillan View Post
    20 Feb 1933 J7176 AW Siskin Cranwell Pilot Cadet A.M. Engineer

    This is from an old record I held.. Can anyone check the J Serials book from Air Britain to confirm?

    Thanks
    Fantastic Paul! Thanks for nailing that down. This is truly a 'historic' find for me!

    First ever confirmed Indian parachute use / bale out. and first accident involving an Indian Air Force pilot.
    Last edited by Jagan; 18th February 2010 at 15:27.

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    Paul

    J Register confirms.

    regards

    DaveW

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    Dave


    Thanks for confirming with a source

    Paul

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    Default more info

    Jagan

    Do you know more about this lucky young man? What was his subsequent history? Please tell us more if you know it.

    Dee

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    Dave,

    Thanks for confirming it with J File. Much appreciated.

    I had also in the meantime checked with his family - they only knew the vague details that he jumped out of a burning aircraft when young, but not the specifics like date, type or place. This helps me fill in the details for them as well.


    Oggie, certainly.

    Aspy had lot of flying experience by his time of joining in cranwell. he was the first Indian to fly solo from England to India at the age of 17 - earning the aga khan prize. With that experience it appears no surpise that he went on to win the Groves Trophy at Cranwell.

    After Cranwell, Aspy joined the lone IAF squadron that was still just a flight strength in 1934. For his participation in the Frontier operations, he was Mentioned in Dispatches (37) and then got a DFC (41/42) - then only the second Indian to get it. By end of the war he was the second most senior officer.

    He served in the IAF till 1964 when he retired as an Air Marshal - then the highest rank in the IAF that the Chief held. He died in 2002 aged 90.

    There is a short profile of him here http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Personnel/Chiefs/255-AM-Engineer.html . On another note, he was the senior most of four brothers - all of whom served in the IAF in WW2. Three of the four brothers (including Aspy) earned the DFC which is considered unique. A profile of all the four is here http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/Personnel/Tributes/1074-Engineers.html

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    Default Seems the luck continued

    Jagan

    Thanks for the potted history. Sounds like he was not only lucky but special. Its nice to see some stories about not so well known people...

    Dee

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    I have another query to add to the above, I am trying to dig up as much detail as possible on this event.

    Will there be an accident report somewhere that I can order? Like the Aircraft Movment Card from RAF Museum perhaps? will it have sufficient data or is it a single line entry on these cards?

    Additionally , I found these files on the NA Catalogue base on a search for accidents

    AIR 10/1461 Report on Flying Accidents during July-Dec. 1929
    AIR 10/1468 Report on Flying Accidents during Jan.-June 1930
    AIR 10/1469 Report on Flying Accidents during July-Dec 1930
    AIR 10/1481 Report on Flying Accidents during Jan.-June 1931
    AIR 10/1482 Report on Flying Accidents during July-Dec. 1931
    AIR 10/1494 Report on Flying Accidents during Jan.-June 1932
    AIR 10/1495 Report on Flying Accidents during July-Dec 1932
    AIR 10/1563 Report on Flying Accidents during Jan-June 1933

    Anyone ever had to look these up and seen what they contain? I am thinking of engaging someone to look AIR 10/1563 to find out more on this particular accident.

    -Jagan

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