Tag Archives: Halwara 1971

Hectic Days in Halwara-6: The ‘Thing’ Explodes


The night wore on amongst hectic activity on the ground.    With the runway blocked, I stood the Archers down.   Soon the sky filled with planned activity from other stations.   The Canberra second round strikes got airborne.   Strange ‘sparrows’ started chirping in the neighbourhood.   It was not that we were failing to carry out any task from Halwara.   Apart from a pair of MiG21s on ORP,   I had no other allotted task at that time of the night.   However, we had a runway to rehabilitate for use at first light and we were running against time.   If I was a bit restless,   perhaps I could be excused. Read the rest of this entry


Hectic Days in Halwara-5: Challange and Response


Moments passed. The raid was over.   It was time to sound the ‘All Clear’ and get on with the next task.   After all, the war had just started a few hours ago and none of us knew how long it would take for us to prevail over the enemy.   Of course there was not an iota of doubt in any one’s mind that we shall prevail. Read the rest of this entry

Hectic Days in Halwara-4: The Enemy Shows Up


I was still to finish my second cup of tea with the Tiger Sharks when the news came in.   It was just after six in the evening of 3rd December 1971.    The information was rather vague.   It seemed that a raid on Srinagar had taken place a few minutes earlier.   At the crew room the news did not create any flutter.    There had been too many rumours in the recent past that had turned out to be false.   Within a few more minutes however, Groupie Gole drove up.   Alan D’Costa and I were standing in front of the unit.   We moved to the station commander’s jeep as it stopped.    Groupie was at the wheels as usual.   There was a faint smile on his lips and a sparkle in his eyes.   ‘It is on’ was all he said.   Read the rest of this entry

Hectic Days in Halwara-3: …and Wings Clipped!


Out of the bed I dressed quickly and was in my BADC (Base Air Defence Centre) bunker by 7:30.    The place was fully alive.  The change of shift had taken place.   The boys were on 14 hour shifts with an hour of overlap at each change over.   Squadron Leader Gopal Krishna Arora was my assistant at the BADC.  Read the rest of this entry

Hectic Days in Halwara-2: Getting My Ankles Wet


Groupie Gole had come down to the tarmac himself to pick me up.    The Otter pilot who had brought me from Palam was in a hurry to get away and reach Adampur before dark; he won’t even switch off his engine.     I stepped down the extended ladder, pulled my suitcase behind me and ran out of the cold slipstream to the Station Commander’s Jeep. Read the rest of this entry

Hectic Days in Halwara-1: 02 December 1971


By the end of October 1971, the DSSC at Wellington was emptying out fast.   The current course was cut short by a few weeks and all the student officers were posted out.   The Directing Staff of the Army Wing were astir with sudden attachments to units or Head Quarter formations for many of the officers.  In contrast, no one from the Air Wing was disturbed.   Read the rest of this entry