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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14 Comments
  • Dr Ramakrishna N Reddy

    2021at2:53 pm Reply

    Late Babul Guha were close friends in Bangalore. I visited him often & discuss various subject. I MISS HIM. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE.

  • Sushil Pharasi

    2021at2:55 pm Reply

    Our salute for great hero, dedicated person Mr Guha. He was brave and sacrifice for the country.

    • Kumarswamy ex sgt.

      2021at9:40 am

      While appreciating this piece of information also would like to know of Mr Devvaya and many unknown who laid down there lives.

  • Bijay Ranjan Sahu

    2021at2:58 pm Reply

    Veer yodha ko koti koti naman.

  • Karan Mittra

    2021at2:59 pm Reply

    RIP hero, we thank you for your service.

  • Anashua Majumdar

    2021at3:01 pm Reply

    My maternal uncle. Handsome, courageous, kind and with a great sense of humour. Still remember the fateful day when we got the tragic news, and so very sad that we never saw him again; no dead body and no confirmed news either of his being a POW. Rest in Peace dear Babul mama. Never forgotten.

  • Pronob Guha

    2021at3:03 pm Reply

    In reply to Somnath Nag.
    Somnath
    Late Flt Lt Babul Guha, my uncle, went to the mission at about the same time we witnessed the fod foght over Kalaikunda whoch brought down the Sabre Jet by our Gnats! Hi son Arindam was born posthumously on Sep 30 that year and is now a Judge at Kolkata High Coirt!
    Pronob

  • Suchet V Guha

    2021at3:07 pm Reply

    He was my uncle as well. Thanks to the 1965 Indo-Pak war I never got to meet him in person. But I heard a lot of him from my surviving uncles and aunts. Salutations to his memory.
    Sincerely
    Suchet V Guha
    Michigan USA.

  • Somnath Nag

    2021at3:08 pm Reply

    We salute our brave war hero, FLT LT Babul Guha. Our respectful homage to the family for gifting a true fighter like Babul Guhal to our country. Every Indian would be proud for his service and sacrifice.

  • Jyoti prakash guha

    2021at3:09 pm Reply

    He was my uncle. Pranams.

  • Nilesh Konar

    2021at3:54 pm Reply

    Salute to the brave pilot of Indian Air Force. It was not known to me earlier. I have served 20 years in Indian Air Force (May 1982 to May 2002) and retired as Junior Warrant Officer. Posted in Adampur Air base (1986 to 1991).

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