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Air force service records
People - 6 individual histories
Private/Army: Thomas Aageson
Officer/Army: JRR Tolkien
Officer/RAF: Indra Lal Roy
Rating/Navy: James Dellbridge
Member/WAAC: Annie Ellwood
Officer/Army (executed): Eric Poole

Officer's record: Indra Lal Roy
(RFC and RAF)

Indra Lal Roy, the most famous Indian pilot of the First World War, was born in Calcutta on 2 December 1898. Roy's service record in AIR 76/438 shows that he joined the Glossary - opens new windowRoyal Flying Corps (RFC) in early April 1917 at the age of just 18, when he was a student at St Paul's School in London. Within the space of three months, he had earned promotion to the rank of second lieutenant.

After a period of flying training at Vendôme in France and a spell at the RFC Gunnery School in Turnberry, Roy was given his first posting (with No. 56 Squadron) in late October 1917. Unfortunately he was injured when his plane crashed on 6 December 1917. The medical board record in Roy's file shows that he was not declared fit to resume flying until 13 May 1918.

On 19 June 1918 Roy was posted to No. 40 Squadron in France. During his period of service with the squadron, he shot down nine German planes in less than 14 days. His brief and spectacular flying career ended when he was killed in action during a dogfight with a German Fokker aeroplane on 22 July, at the age of only 19.

Roy was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was the first Indian to receive this honour. The citation in the London Gazette on 21 September 1918 praised Roy as 'a very gallant and determined officer' whose 'remarkable skill and daring' had enabled him on occasion to shoot down 'two [enemy] machines in one patrol'.

Indra Lal Roy service record - opens new window
Service record (170k)


Indra Lal Roy DFC citation - opens new window
DFC citation in London Gazette

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