The IAF History Thread

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby wig » 13 Nov 2014 09:20

Indian WW-II hero’s medals up for auction to save legacy


The son of an Indian World War-II hero is selling his father’s coveted medals so that they can “go to a serious collector”, rather than to grandchildren who he fears might fight over them.

Bambi Majumdar is the son of late Wing Commander Karun Krishna Majumdar, affectionately referred to as “Jumbo” by his friends and colleagues and revered as the “father of the Indian Air Force.” Jumbo’s maternal grandfather WC (Womesh Chunder) Bonnerjee was the first president of the Indian National Congress.

Marshal of the IAF Arjan Singh, the only surviving contemporary of Squadron Leader Majumdar, describes him as “my hero Jumbo Majumdar” on a signed personal portrait he has given to Bambi. For his part, Bambi, now an NRI chartered accountant living on the outskirts of Birmingham, has no memory of his father who died in 1945 during an air display in Lyallpur when he was only two years old.

He was subsequently brought up by his mother, “Premo” Premola Dutt, was from a well-known Bengali family settled in Lahore who moved to Jalandhar after Partition. Her second husband and Bambi’s stepfather was Kanwar Mahindar Singh of the Kapurthala royal family.

The medals that Bambi is selling include his father’s ‘Double’ Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), India General Service Medal, Flying Logbook and other items. They are expected to raise between £20,000-£30,000 (just under Rs 30 lakh) when they come up for sale at a London auction next Wednesday.

“I decided to sell them after due consideration,” Bambi told The Tribune. “I have two children and six grandchildren and ask myself what would happen if I died. There would be a conflict over who was entitled to them.”

The DFC and Bar were awarded to Jumbo for acts of skill and courage on both the Burma front and in Europe. The official citation for his DFC reads: “Early this year this officer commanded the squadron during its activities in Burma. He led two unescorted attacks on enemy airfields in Thailand and attacks in support of the army in Tennasserim; he also completed valuable reconnaissances during the retirement from Rangoon to the Prome positions.” The official citation for the Bar to his DFC reads in part: “His skill and courage have always been outstanding…Before the advance northwards in France, he completed exceptionally valuable photographic reconnaisances of the Seine bridges, in the face of heavy ground defences.”

To go under hammer
•Bambi Majumdar, Wing Commander Majumdar's son, is selling his father's 'Double' Distinguished Flying Cross, India General Service Medal, flying logbook and other items

'Father of the IAF'
•Wing Commander Karun Krishna Majumdar, affectionately referred to as 'Jumbo', is revered as the 'Father of the Indian Air Force'
•Kolkata-born Majumdar went to St Paul's School, Darjeeling, before leaving for England in 1932
•Majumdar died during an air display over Lyallpur in February 1945 when the Hurricane he was flying stalled and crashed

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141113/main6.htm

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby ramana » 13 Nov 2014 19:49

Why not donate to IAF museum in Hindon, Delhi?

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby pushkar.bhat » 16 Nov 2014 18:36

ramana wrote:Why not donate to IAF museum in Hindon, Delhi?


He is selling for the money. IAF museum can buy it if it thinks its got any historical importance.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 20 Nov 2014 08:43

Can BRFites please unite on this one issue ... saving the legacy of a man widely considered the Father of the Indian Air Force ... Jumbo Majumdar ... The IAF IS INTERESTED IN PROTECTING HIS LEGACY but there is a half-hearted effort going on .. In ONE WEEK, his DFC will be auctioned in London ... can everyone here please tweet Sushma Swaraj, Manohar Parrikar and the PM ?

The latest on this story here ... Thanks, Vishnu

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/gover ... topstories

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Raja Bose » 20 Nov 2014 11:56

pushkar.bhat wrote:
ramana wrote:Why not donate to IAF museum in Hindon, Delhi?


He is selling for the money. IAF museum can buy it if it thinks its got any historical importance.


That is what I am wondering. Does he need the money? If so, I can see why he is selling. Otherwise if it is merely to prevent grandchildren from fighting over it, why not donate it to IAF Museum Palam. I know of 2 of the grandchildren as Jumbo Majumdar's daughter is a family friend of ours and I believe they would totally fight over it. I think Jagan has met her too. I am forwarding this article to my dad so that he can try to get in touch with her and find out what is the reason for the sale. I do know from previous inquiries that Bambi Majumdar has all of Jumbo Majumdar's memorabilia, not just his medals.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 20 Nov 2014 12:31

I personally think we shouldn't get into the reasons of why he wants to sell. There is no time left at all. The government has to go in there and bid and thats all there is to it. This treasure shouldn't fall victim to babudom - a policy that says "we don't bid at auctions." In sticking to our high-high principles, we will end up losing a part of our history. All this needs is one nod from the PMO - and this time next week, it can be here in India.

I have written to everyone from Sushma down, the IAF, MoD, everyone. The Air Force reached out to me and asked for contact details. I have provided them with everything I know ...

But at this stage ... this is a lost cause. Unless we have the wisdom to aggressively bid for this at the auction.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby member_28840 » 20 Nov 2014 13:16

my grand dad who was an engineering officer in the IAF from 41 onwards witnessed this crash and was part of the crash investigation panel.

IIRC Jumbo was performing a falling leaf maneuver, when his engine quit and he was too low to recover or bail out.

i do hope the medals can be bought and put on display at Palam.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby JTull » 20 Nov 2014 15:06

£20-30K guide price is too steep for this lot. GoI should get involved!

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 20 Nov 2014 15:13

Indian Air Force reconfirms that they have no authority to bid. They have the number of Sailen Majumdar and have failed to get in touch with him ... he does not answer. Unless, the powers that be adopt change of policy .. this is all over.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 20 Nov 2014 19:33

New information - The Chief is personally involved in efforts to get back these treasures ... Heres hoping for the best.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby ramana » 20 Nov 2014 21:45

Lets hope so.
At same time wish IAF museum gets all his memorabilia as he is the "Father of the IAF".

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby vsunder » 23 Nov 2014 00:00

Anniversary Day: Air Battle over Boyra, Nov 22, 1971. Ooooh! that Statesman page the next day, people went crazy. One of the two who remain:

https://www.facebook.com/Gp.Capt.DonLazarus.Vrc

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 27 Nov 2014 06:45

No one wants Jumbo's medals ...

The auction of Jumbo Majumdar's DFC has been unsuccessful. The highest bid was 15,500 pounds - below the reserved price. The price expected was between 20,000 and 30,000 pounds.

Jumbo's son, Sailen Majumdar hasn't decided what to do next with the medals. For now, they remain with the auction house where they are insured. The box with the treasures is also apparently too expensive to carry back to his home in Birmingham.

While IAF officers did apparently inspect the medals ... there was no bid that was made. \

Is there now a possibility of someone now negotiating directly with Sailen (Bambi) Majumdar for these medals. Thats the big question.

This is all very sad.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 28 Nov 2014 17:41

I just interviewed Jumbo Majumdar's son ... (these are not exact quotes)

Sailen `Bambi' Majumdar to NDTV - Not ruling out handing these medals to India if there is an assurance that they will be preserved and looked after.

Sailen `Bambi' Majumdar to NDTV: The situation has changed since the auction of the medals has failed.

Sailen `Bambi' Majumdar to NDTV: My reasons for auctioning the medals are not linked my my finances.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby vsunder » 28 Nov 2014 21:09

Vishnu wrote:I just interviewed Jumbo Majumdar's son ... (these are not exact quotes)

Sailen `Bambi' Majumdar to NDTV - Not ruling out handing these medals to India if there is an assurance that they will be preserved and looked after.

Sailen `Bambi' Majumdar to NDTV: The situation has changed since the auction of the medals has failed.

Sailen `Bambi' Majumdar to NDTV: My reasons for auctioning the medals are not linked my my finances.


Wah wah, "My reasons for auctioning are not linked to my finances" so why does this gent not sell for 15,000 pounds or whatever he got ? Seems to me a lot of grandstanding. "The situation that has changed" is that this greedy fellow has gotten a kick in the seat of his pants. Yes we "ashure" you 400% only that India will place these gongs in a safe place, since finances are not a problem give it to us for free and we will put a plaque that you Bambi the deer donated them. What a load of crock. Fellow wants his 15 mins of fame like Andy Warhol said.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 28 Nov 2014 22:15

Air Marshal (retd) Anil Chopra, a real hero - on the programme says, "I commanded 1 Squadron, Jumbo's Squadron and I will pay Rs 20 lakhs from my own pension fund to bring back this treasure." (Words not exact) - Viewers writing in offering money. Air Force Chief's office called as well. A major political party (not Congress or BJP) will likely raise it in parliament. Not naming them till it happens.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 28 Nov 2014 22:33


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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby member_28840 » 29 Nov 2014 05:10

Thanks for the updates Vishnu. I hope we manage to get them back.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Raja Bose » 29 Nov 2014 06:59

Vishnu wrote:I just interviewed Jumbo Majumdar's son ... (these are not exact quotes)

Sailen `Bambi' Majumdar to NDTV - Not ruling out handing these medals to India if there is an assurance that they will be preserved and looked after.


No instead of preserving them, the IAF is going to melt them and make them into door handles, bl00dy idi0t :roll: On top of that the guy is making this statement after he admits that the IAF Chief personally spoke to him and asked him to donate those medals.

I am sorry but this Bambi Majumdar is being disingenuous to the core. The existence of Jumbo's medals and his possession of them (& Jumbo's log book) has been well known for years. And exactly what does he want for preserving his own father's medals? A medal himself? A ransom? What he is doing is highly disrespectful of his own father's memories. Instead of making pious claims, he should just say it out loud that he is in it for the money and be done with it. All this vague BS that he is spouting neither helps him, the IAF or Jumbo's memories except getting his 15 minutes of fame on TV like every Jerry Springer show participant.

OT but next thing we know he will become an AAPtard - he already sounds like one. I am guessing Kejriturd might rake this up to hoodwink aam aadmi about their patriotic credentials and get some cheap publicity, as usual.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 29 Nov 2014 17:34

OK ... here is the latest ... The IAF ... from the office of the Chief down ... and several former Chiefs and retired Air Marshals are working out how to raise the funds ... They "will do something" and have made contact with Bambi once again.

I have informed the IAF .. that we are willing to run a campaign to collect funds for this. I can also share that one viewer has volunteered to pay 10 lakhs. At this stage, I believe its the IAF family that needs to take the lead on this ... and I fully respect that. But just so that everyone knows ... we are happy to do something if this doesn't work out. The goal here isn't to publicise any role for ourselves ... hence, we are happy to wait on this.

Thanks
Vishnu

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Kakkaji » 29 Nov 2014 22:46

Vishnu:

Why can't NDTV set up a private trust to collect funds expressly for the purpose of buying these medals and then donating them to the Palam museum, and let the general public contribute to it? Something like what is done for raising funds for disaster relief?

I don't think this needs to be an official GOI effort at all, or that this matter should be raised in Parliament etc. Not everything needs to be done by the Govt.

Just a suggestion.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Raja Bose » 30 Nov 2014 01:15

^^^That would be a worthy effort especially if NDTV has experience hosting such funding campaigns (and the PR can't hurt either and might even undo some of the damage done to NDTV's reputation by the likes of Barkha Dutt etc.). I had for a fleeting moment thought of a BRF-based effort but I shot it down immediately keeping in the mind the fraud that took place the previous time we did fundraising.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby jahaju » 30 Nov 2014 10:29

[url http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi ... 319912.cms]World War II Indian pilot honoured with statue in UK[/url]

NEW DELHI: The 1972 Bollywood movie, Lalkaar, was unique in its depiction of Indian pilots fighting in the Second World War. Although it was perhaps the last Bollywood movie with that war as backdrop, it did offer a glimpse, and a tiny one at that, of the contribution of India's air warriors in bringing down the combined might of the Axis powers.

But at a memorial function in the UK on Friday, this contribution was recognized and firmly engraved in stone. At St Andrew's Garden in Gravesend, Kent, Great Britain, an eight-foot bronze statue of a decorated Indian fighter pilot of WWII, Squadron Leader Mohinder Singh Pujji, was unveiled—perhaps the first such memorial to an Indian war hero in Europe.

Pujji was among the 24 officers from Indian Air Force sent to Britain in 1940 to fly with the Royal Air Force, which was fighting the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain and desperately needed pilots (the RAF at that time already had 13 direct-entry Indian officers). These Indian officers were placed in different squadrons in RAF's fighter, bomber and coastal commands and flew rhubarb missions.

In fact, Indian pilots also flew bombing missions over Dresden and other German cities, and were there during the Normandy operations — a fact that's never been acknowledged in the mass media, both in the west and India.


Squadron Leader Mohinder Singh Pujji.

As for Pujji, he scored two kills and damaged three German fighters in Europe and was himself downed twice, first over the English Channel and then in the Middle East. He ended the war with a Distinguished Flying Cross and was among the lucky 16 to return home.

Pujji's contribution was remembered by Air Vice Marshal Edward Stringer of the RAF at the unveiling of the statue that cost £70,000.


Wing Commander Karun Krishna Majumdar.

"We remember a stunning record, a fine pilot and a fantastic officer ... This is an absolutely magnificent sculpture which captures this very fine man. What we're also remembering and commemorating with this memorial are all those who came and fought on the right side in the Second World War and fought for the freedoms that we cherish today. We especially remember those from the Commonwealth," Stringer said.

He also highlighted the lack of awareness about the Indian contribution to the Second World War in air in the UK: "It's worth recording that over 17,000 Indians volunteered to join the RAF alongside 25,000 Indians who fought in the Indian Air Force, a staggering statistic not well known enough today in the UK."

UK-based military historian Amarpal Sidhu was there at the unveiling ceremony.

"Pujji's story is a remarkable one of a man who served not just in the UK but in the Middle East and Burma and who came close to death several times. This statue, the first of its kind in the UK, will in the coming years and into the next century tell not only his tale but act as a marker and memorial to the countless others from India who followed his example and volunteered to risk their life in a just cause," he said.


Indian Air Force officers arrive in London on October 8, 1940.

After the war, Pujji tried his hand at civil aviation in India for a while before returning to England in 1974 to settle permanently. He passed away in 2010 at the ripe age of 92.



mods not sure if this is the correct thread.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 30 Nov 2014 17:54

We have extensive experience in raising funds for a good cause and are fully ready to do it in this case. But have been told that the IAF and the IAF Association is on the job and they believe its something that they should do. Which is fine. But if they fail or are unable to get their act together, then we are happy to step in.

Raja .. as for your dig on Barkha and NDTV ... may I suggest you write to me directly with your issues. This isn't the place for that ... and as Forum Moderator, I'm sure you know that best.

Its vishnu@ndtv.com

Thanks

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 05 Dec 2014 09:19

The IAF has bought the medals for 25K + buyers premium. The medals are headed home!

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby deejay » 05 Dec 2014 09:59

^^^ Jagan Sir, great news. IAF has done what it needed to do here.

@ Vishnu, thanks to you and folks like you who took up the issue. Good work here.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Akshay Kapoor » 05 Dec 2014 13:51

Vishnu,

First of all thank you and others for your support for the IAF in this cause. However may I say with the utmost respect that it is wrong for you or NDTV to muzzle us. NDTV champions freedom of speech but uses it's corporate and journalistic clout to beat down small folks like us in an open forum ?

The people's voice can't be silenced - you saw that in the last election.
Last edited by Akshay Kapoor on 05 Dec 2014 19:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Rahul M » 05 Dec 2014 14:49

not here. please.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 09 Dec 2014 17:12

Air Force Hero Jumbo Majumdar's medals are coming back ... read all about it here ...

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/air-f ... ome-632020

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 09 Dec 2014 17:28

A few more details further to my article ... the voucher for acquisition of the DFC and his personal belongings is in the Defence Ministry presently and a decision needs to be taken by the Defence Secretary on whether the funds would come from public funds or an air force staff benevolent fund. Either way, the IAF/GOI is committed to the acquisition and an email to this effect has reached the auction house. Former Chief NC Suri, CAS Arup Raha and our DA in London were all involved in this ... Thanks.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 09 Dec 2014 20:47

Thanks for the confirmation Vishnu. I am glad AirHQ moved and it took your piece and AM Anil Chopra's personal call to push them into it.

Apparently there was some discussion ahead of the auction listing (and just after the listing in the catalogue) in the AF Veteran fraternity, but it probably did not gain the traction with Air HQ till the news was reported by NDTV.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Raja Bose » 10 Dec 2014 20:03

Glad to hear that Jumbo's medals are coming back (I hope his log books too?). I had initially missed Jagan/Vishnu posting the news on this thread till I got an email from my dad who in turn had gotten a call from Jumbo's daughter.

---
OT

Vishnu, there was no 'dig' on Barkha Dutt or NDTV. Any issues I personally may have with her reporting may be be discussed publicly or privately based on my discretion and those will be my personal views and not that of this forum, its owner(s) or other administrators/members or any other entities that I may be associated with. As a senior journalist I am sure you have no issues with freedom of speech and an individual's right to form and broadcast one's opinions. Anyways this specific thread is not the place for those discussions as there are other threads on BRF for that. Thanks.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Jagan » 10 Dec 2014 22:37

Raja Bose wrote:Glad to hear that Jumbo's medals are coming back (I hope his log books too?).


Yes, logbooks, dogtag, rank badges wings, the whole lot!

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Raja Bose » 11 Dec 2014 00:59

^^^Nice! 8) Just to see those I will make a visit to the IAF museum Palam again after all these years. I hope they don't delay too much in setting up a display kiosk. Has the main museum building changed any or is it still the same?

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby member_22868 » 11 Dec 2014 01:24

It is still the same, in all its glory! 8) :)

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Raja Bose » 11 Dec 2014 02:12

I guess they must have added more aircraft to the external display. An Iskra and MiG 23 were planned iirc, maybe a MiG 25.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby neerajb » 11 Dec 2014 16:53

It already has the Iskra, MiG-23 and 25 on display alongwith An-12, Fairchild C-119 and the latest addition Tu-124.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Raja Bose » 12 Dec 2014 09:57

Got a call from Jumbo's daughter today after landing in India - she is absolutely ecstatic that the medals, logbooks and other paraphernalia is coming back to India and will be put on display at IAF Museum Palam. Full marks to Air Chief Raha who actually called her up personally as part of his efforts to bring them back to India. We talked quite a bit about the what actually happened, why etc. but that is something too private to post about here. Also learnt about a common link between Jumbo and Vishnu - all I can say is small world, eh? :mrgreen:

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Vishnu » 12 Dec 2014 20:47

Jumbo and I were both Paulites ... St. Paul's Darjeeling ... but I was there for only 2 years as a kid ... but I had no idea of Jumbo being a Paulite until I started highlighting this issue. Cheers.

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Re: The IAF History Thread

Postby Raja Bose » 13 Dec 2014 05:00

I was born there. My dad was estate manager there. I believe ex-air chief Suri's sons also went to school there. Jumbo's family has 3 plaques in the school chapel.


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