Service No : 5105 GD(P)

Place of birth : West Bengal

Last Rank : Flight Lieutenant

Arm/Regt : Indian Air Force

Operation : Op Riddle

Martyrdom : September 7, 1965

Flt Lt Babul Guha

Son of a professor Dr Prafulla Chandra Guha, Flt Lt Babul Guha did his schooling from St Joseph's Boys High School Bangalore. Subsequently he got selected to join the Air Force and was commissioned on 1st Apr 1956. He joined the flying stream of the IAF and got trained as a fighter pilot as part of 68th Pilots' course. By 1965, Flt Lt Babul Guha had put in nearly 9 years of service and developed into a committed soldier and professionally competent fighter pilot. Later Flt Lt Babul Guha got posted to PTE (Pilot’s Training Establishment) as a flying instructor to train the young IAF pilots.


After serving for few years Flt Lt Babul Guha got married to Ms Swapna and the couple had a son Arindam. As the war with Pakistan broke out in 1965 the pilots of PTE were sent to various forward IAF basis to take part in air operations against the enemy.


Attack on Sargodha Airfield: 07 Sep 1965


During 1965, Flt Lt Babul Guha was serving with 1 Sqn, known as "Tigers". No.1 Squadron Air Force was raised on 01 April 1933 at Drigh Road, Karachi and equipped with 04 Westland Wapiti aircraft. The Indian element that time consisted of 06 officers and 09 technicians then known as Hawai Sepoys. On the historic day of 16th March, 1939 Flt Lt Subroto Mukherjee took over the Command of the Squadron from Sqn Ldr CH Smith, thus becoming the first Indian to Command a flight, a Squadron, later a Station and finally, the Indian Air Force itself. The squadron took part in "Operation Vijay" for the liberation of Goa in 1961 under the command of Sqn Ldr S Bhattacharya and equipped with Mystere-IVa aircraft. In 1963, the squadron moved to Adampur, an airbase that was to remain its home for the next 17 years. When hostilities broke out in 1965 the unit under the command of Wg Cdr OP Taneja undertook various offensive air operations. Flt Lt Babul Guha was tasked for one such operation on 07 Sep 1965. 


At the height of 1965 war No.1 squadron which was operating Mystere aircraft from Adampur airbase, was entrusted to attack the highly fortified Sargodha air base of Pakistan Air Force. Sargodha airbase located west of Lahore hosted the headquarters of the Central Air Command, one of the three combatant air commands of the PAF. The base was the hub of PAF effort during the war. On 7th Sept the IAF mounted 33 sorties against the heavily guarded PAF complex at Sargodha. The commanding officer of the squadron, Wg Cdr OP Taneja decided to launch a wave of sorties on 7th September. In their pre-dawn mission, they successfully attacked the Sargodha airfield albeit one of the pilots, Sqn Ldr AB Devayya, lost his life before shooting down a PAF’s F-104 aircraft.


Flt Lt Babul Guha was part of the two Mystere aircraft strike mission which went to Sargodha airfield in the afternoon. He and the other pilot had to face the alert PAF’s aerial as well as ground-based forces. While the aircraft flown by the other pilot was shot down by the ground forces, Flt Lt Babul got engaged in a dogfight with the aircraft flown by PAF’s pilot Flt Lt Malik. At around 1540 hours, during the dogfight, Flt Lt Babul’s aircraft got shot by a deadly sidewinder missile fired from adversary’s F-86 Sabre jet.  Though Flt Lt Babul Guha was officially declared Killed (presumed) in Action (KIA) on 07 Sep 1965, he is presumed to have been taken over as a POW (Prisoner of War). Shri Mukhatyar Singh, who was repatriated from Pakistan on July 5, 1988, reportedly said that Flt Lt Babul Guha was in Kot Lakhpat Jail at that time. However, successive regimes in Pakistan have denied the existence of Indian POWs in its jails. Presently, Flt Lt Babul Guha's name features on the official list of the ’54 Personnel Missing in Action’, tabled in the Lok Sabha in 1979 by the then Minister of State of External Affairs Shri Samarendra Kundu.


Flt Lt Babul Guha is survived by his son Shri Arindam Sinha.  

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  • Gunendra

    2021 at 4:53 pm Reply

    On behalf of all the Free Goans, I would like to thank Flt Lt Babul Guha and his family for their honorable service & sacrifices to our Nation.
    I am sure every citizen of this country can feel Flt Lt Babul Guha in every breath they take in this free country.

    I wish Flt Lt Babul Guha’s family the best wishes for any future endeavors & may the force be with you.
    Jai Hind!

  • Narinder Singh Sidhu

    2021 at 12:02 am Reply

    I was posted on 23 June 1965 in No 1 Sqdn as FME trade at that time we were stand by for Goa operation. Ground support for army started from 2 or 3 Sep 1965 as metered unloaded tons of rocket fire for Army support in Chhumb Joria sector . On 6 Sep 1965 PAK done pre-emotive strike on our all forward basis one Mig 21 also damaged at orp . Afterwards whole night loading of bombs started on all the aircraft’s . On 7 Sep 1965 morning big line up of Mysteries going in batches started before dawn and contd. till war ended 16 Sep 1965 . No 1 Sqdn lost pilots Guha , Dabbiaya and Uppal . On 13 Sep 1964 one B57 of PAK was hit by ground fire and seen as fire ball in sky .

  • George Ollapally

    2022 at 1:20 am Reply

    The Old Boys Association of St Joseph’s Boys High School Bangalore, Flt Lt Babul Guha’s Alma Mater is having a War Memorial Service to honour his memory on July 1,2022.

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