DH Latest NewsDH NEWSArmyarms & ammunationsLatest Newsofficials and personalsNAVYNEWSIndian Air ForceLife StyleDefence

“Soldier, aviator & sailor” ; Only officer to serve all three ‘Indian Armed Forces’ celebrates his 1…

New Delhi: A World War 2 veteran, (retd) Col Prithipal Singh Gill, is the only Indian to have functioned in all the three wings of the armed forces Air Force, Navy, and the Indian Army respectively. He is celebrating his 100th birthday today. Col Gill celebrated his birthday with close family members and spent most of his time on his rice and wheat farms at his native of Pakhi in Faridkot District. Farming is a hobby that carried its span after retirement.

He started his career in the pre-World War II period as a pilot in the Royal Indian Air Force. Colonel Gill then cruised the high seas with the Indian Navy and thereafter was a Gunner Officer with the Indian Army. The veteran performed during World War II and the India-Pakistan war in 1965. Before retiring from the service, Colonel Prithipal Singh Gill was a Sector Commander with the Assam Rifles in Manipur.

Col Singh hailed from a family with a history of serving in the armed forces, his father, Captain Harpal Singh, was dissatisfied with him joining the flying school in Karachi.“My grandfather worried that he might die in a crash or something horrific would happen in the skies. So, he got my father transferred to the Indian Navy rather,” said Dr. Ajay Pal Singh, Col Gill’s only son.

The man of all 3 Indian armed forces
Col Prithipal Singh Gill born on 11 December 1920, in Patiala, started his service with the erstwhile Royal Indian Air Force in 1942. As a flight cadet in Karachi, he fled Howard aircraft but soon transferred to the Indian Navy where he performed on a minesweeping ship and subsequently on INS Teer, a Navy escort for cargo ships during World War 2. He tied the knot with Preminder Kaur in 1950, who is 95 now.

Due to an illness(presence of water in the lungs), Col Gill pursued a transfer to the Army, which was consented and he was stationed at the Gwalior Mountain Battery. He later served with the 34 Medium Regiment and extended and commanded the 71 Medium Regiment. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel and controlled over the Assam Rifles Sector in Manipur.

However, both his son and grandson, say they have never heard of his war stories.“Like most families whose near and dear ones have been in wars, ours too never discusses them. It is something unpleasant and grandfather never shares stories of his times in World War 2 and the 1965 India-Pakistan war, though he has a plethora of knowledge and information,” said Abhaypal Singh, Col Gill’s grandson who is a lawyer by profession.

But there is one story that both Col Gill’s son and grandson fondly recollect.“It is plain simple courage and valor, during the 1965 India-Pakistan War, four cannons of his Regiment were cut off by the Pakistani army in the Sialkot sector. Col Prithipal Singh Gill personally guided a victorious mission to regain them. This is one of the very few stories he has told us, though he never much explores into details.” said Dr. Ajay Pal Singh. Col Prithipal Singh Gill didn’t receive a gallantry medal but has no regrets. “His life has been an example; how often do you meet someone who has seen the lives of all the three security forces and been witness to historical wars,” Dr. Singh said.

For his grandson, Abhaypal Singh, Col Gill is a happy young man who adores kids. “He is not so active nowadays, he is 100, but still she manages to go to the parks and the farmlands to give chocolates to children,” Abhaypal said. “There is a different joy on his face when he plays with kids. I don’t think he has missed anything in his life … it’s been a glorious 100 years. I would say my grandfather is mischievous, he loves to play around with children”, he added


Post Your Comments

Back to top button