Pakistan-India wars hero Pakistani Christian Pilot of PAF Cecil Caudhry passed away
13 Apr 2012
Lahore: April 13, 2012. (PCP) Pakistan Air Force former Group Captain, a Pakistani Catholic Christian, Cecil Chaudhry passed away today in a long battle with cancer
After retirement from PAF, Cecil Chadhry was serving in Catholic Missionary School of Lahore Dioceses and taking active part in social uplift of Christians.
Cecil Chaudhry was born in Lahore in 1941 where his father Faustian Elmer Chaudhry was working as Press Photographer in a prestigious newspaper “Pakistan Times” . His interest in aircraft and flying brought him to the PAF and he graduated in 1960. He soon established himself professionally and in 1965 was working as Flight Commander (Training) under the renowned Squadron Leader Sarfraz Rafiqui. When war broke out on 6 September, 1965, Cecil busied himself flying numerous Close Support missions to ward off the Indian ground attack against Lahore and Sialkot. He was detailed to fly a dusk strike mission against Halwara under the command of Squadron Leader Rafiqui. There were unavoidable delays in their take-off and Halwara got forewarned because of the successful PAF strike against Pathankot. When Rafiqui, Yunus and Cecil reached their target Halwara, they were intercepted by numerous Hunter aircraft of the Indian Air Force. During the engagement, after shooting down one Indian Hunter, Rafiqui’s guns jammed and he handed over the lead to Cecil. The three fought bravely against heavy odds but Rafiqui and Yunus were shot down while Cecil managed to return safely after shooting down a Hunter. The loss of his mentor Rafiqui and friend Yunus enraged Cecil and he fought the rest of the war aggressively and with determination. For his acts of courage, dedication and professional ability, Cecil received the Sitara-i-Jurat.
During the 1971 war also Cecil, by now a Squadron Leader, fought with valour. On 7 December, during his second mission of the day over Zafarwal-Shakargarh sector, Cecil’s aircraft was hit by ground fire and badly damaged. He had to eject in enemy territory but he managed to make good his escape and reached Sargodha base safely. He continued to fight valiantly despite fractured ribs and exacted his revenue on 11 December, when he managed to shoot down an Indian SU-7 fighter right over the area where he had lost his aircraft.
During the course of his service, Cecil commanded the prestigious No 9 Squadron and the Combat Commander’s School PAF. He retired in 1986 in the rank of Group Captain. Not one to sit idle, he took time to educate himself and subsequently became the Principal at St. Anthony’s School at Lahore. He continues to turn out scores of motivated young men who are bubbling with zeal and enthusiasm to serve their country with dedication, pride and honor.