Pre Partition

Pre Partition

PAF heroes form a galaxy of dedicated men who have expanded their lives in the service of Pakistan Air Force, each leaving behind the best of himself, and adding yet another measure to the courage and honour poured into its foundations by those before him; that endless cavalcade of men who look back with swelling pride and say, ' I was in the Pakistan Air  Force'

 

Coastal Patrol Off Karachi - May 1940, Karachi

Flight Lieutenant A B Awan leads three Westland Wapitis of "A" Flight, No 1 Squadron, IAF from Drigh Road (now Faisal) air base on a coastal patrol in the Arabian Sea. As World War II raged in Europe, Allied air forces in Asia also prepared for possible operations against Germany and Japan. Hailing from Dera Ismail Khan, Wing Commander A B Awan was the first Muslim military avaitor of the subcontinent. He died in 1989, having made a pioneering contribution to what would evenyully become the Pakistan Air Force.

 

Dive Bombing a Bridge - 20 May 1944

Flying Officer M Noor Khan of No.7 Squadron, IAF carries out a high angle dive bombing attack in his Vultee Vengeance in the Burma theatre of war against the Japanese. In the rear seat is Sergeant Harrington, his gunner. Twenty-one years later Air Marshal M Noor Khan, who opted to transfer to Pakistan in 1947, was to lead the Pakistan Air Force in his country's war with India.

 

M Asghar Khan Flies Jet Fighter - 20 May 1946

During World War II, Squadron Leader M Asghar Khan - later the first Pakistani C-in-C of the PAF - commanded No 9 Squadron at the Burma front. While on the Fighter Leaders' Course in England before Independence, he became the first pilot from the subcontinent to fly a jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor Mark III, the only jet employed by the Allies during the last stages of the War.

 

Z A Chaudhry and Nilofur - 1946

To keep their aircraft in top shape, it was a normal practice in the IAF fighter squadron to assign each plane to the care of a pilot. Flying Officer Zafar A Chaudhry of No. 7 Squadron (later to be one of the PAF's Air Chiefs) proudly 'owned' RN-183, the Spitfire Mark XVI which he named "Nilofur", inspired by the beautiful Turkish princess who had married a son of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

 

Spitfire VIII - 1947

No 9 Squadron (after Independence becoming a Pakistani Unit ) had converted onto the famous WW II Spitfire in 1945. It was powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin 66V 12-Cylinder liquid-cooled engine. Armed with 4 x 20 mm cannons, it could fly at a maximum speed of 404 mph. It flew in the Battle of Britain, in Africa and Asia during the War. No. 9 Squadron continued to fly this aircraft from August to December 1947.