Indian war hero Arjan Singh’s illustrious career: A timeline

April 15, 1919
He was born in Lyallpur, Punjab (now in Pakistan) in a distinguished military family.

While still in college, the 19-year-old was selected for the Empire Pilot training course at RAF College Cranwell, from where he graduated the following year. His first posting on being commissioned was flying Westland Wapiti biplanes in the North Western Frontier Province as a member of the No.1 IAF Squadron.

He was promoted to squadron leader and led the offensive against the Japanese during the Arakan Campaign. He later assisted the advance of the allied forces to Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar). He is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for successfully leading his squadron in combat.

August 15, 1947
On the day of India’s independence, he had the unique honour of leading the fly-past of over a hundred IAF aircraft over the Red Fort in Delhi.

He was promoted to Air Commodore and took over the Air Officer Commanding of Operational Command. He has the distinction of having the longest tenure as the AOC of Operational Command, from 1949-1952 and again from 1957-1961. After his promotion to the rank of Air Vice Marshal, he was appointed as the AOC-in-C of an Operational Command.

Towards the end of the 1962 war with China, he was appointed as the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff and he became the Vice Chief of the Air Staff in 1963. He was the overall commander of the joint air training exercise “Shiksha” held between the IAF, RAF and RAAF.

August 1964
Singh took over as the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) in the rank of Air Marshal.

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for services rendered to the nation during the 1965 Indo-China war. Subsequently, in recognition of the Air Force’s contribution during the war, the rank of the CAS was upgraded and Arjan Singh became the first Air Chief Marshal of the Indian Air Force.

He retired from the Indian Air Force at the age of 50.

He served as India’s ambassador to Switzerland.

He is appointed Indian High Commissioner to Kenya.