Originally posted on 23 Aug 2011 :

If you look up in the sky tonight, you will see a new star. It is to be called “Mahendra Vir” in the memory of Air Cdre MV Singh. He joined our course in Jan 1958 (No.3008) but like all good soldiers he did not let academics to interfere with his flying career. Consequently, like several outstanding soldiers, he had to repeat a term and passed out with the 20th course.

This morning he took off for his final flight to the Milky Way. For those who would like to remember him the way he was 54 years ago, here is a group photograph. You see him at the right extreme at the top row of the picture.

Mahendra Vir was an outstanding fighter pilot. He was married to Christine (affectionately called Tina) the charming daughter of Col (Later Maj Gen )Clarke, who was the Commandant of the ASC Centre in Meerut, when our father was posted in Meerut in the early sixties. Her brother Richard,  joined the NDA with (perhaps)the 23rd course.

A few months ago, I had a lengthy chat with MV and we discussed just about everything under the Sun. He told me that he was enjoying every moment of his life, as always. His one regret was that while he wanted to live on his farm and be with the mother earth his wife preferred their NOIDA house. He loved his wife, but farming was his passion. And therefore, he divided his time between his first love and the passion.

MV has joined Pakrasi, Malhotra, Jawa, Yadav, Aneja and Lalwani. The whereabouts of Gora Sen (2998 )and AS Bachchu (2689) are not known. It is feared that they are not alive. Thus, statistically, nearly half of  the above ’group’ is gone. And we are just about seventy years old. This way, nearly half of us are gone, before completing the Biblical ‘three-scores-and-ten’ and ten years. A few years ago I had carried out a statistical study of the life expectancy of military officers. My result showed that we live to be 73, on an average, and that is about four less than the life expectancy of civilian officers. Incidentally, the results which I got for JCOs and NCOs are much worse. For JCOs the figure was 67 and for the lower ranks it was 63. The study has not been authenticated by the army as yet.

May MV’s soul rest in peace.

  1. Rakesh Sachdeva says:

    But we must circulate the major findings of your study thru’ RMS (Report My Signal) and thru’ the distr list of IESM et al.

  2. ajay chandele says:

    you would be aware that Farida Singh(daughter of late ‘Jangoo’ Engineer) is the wife of late Devendra Singh(MV’s elder brother),who was with Air India.(Incidentally, the brothers all married outside the community–christian,parsi,kashmiri…).

    an article by Farida, “Brothers- in- Arms” on the Engineer brothers is a good read ( ).

  3. J Thomas says:

    He didn’t pass out with us. I think he was relegated twice when he joined us. So he probably went home.
    I spoke to 2996 today. He appears to be doing fine but says that he can’t join the IMA reunion — too tiring.

  4. Rakesh Sachdeva says:

    Combatants have shorter life span because of Military’s Facor X, I reckon! This is what I suspected. Govt must publish this fact; but I know you can’t expect that, not from this Govt.
    Warm regards.

  5. ajay chandele says:

    we met MV last on 15 aug 11.neerja,one of his sisters,was with us from US,alongwith her husband,digvijay singh chowhan(who is promilla’s mama).promilla had met them earlier too, but i was meeting them for the first time.
    they were very lively, but just when they were to leave, tina asked me if i could fix up an appt for MV with the comdt RR. he was a heavy smoker,she said, and wanted a thorough exam of the appt was fixed with the chest specialist,col rajput, at the RR for 16th.

    he was in RR for three days, where all tests, incl PET were carried out.

    he was discharged and advised to return on tue,23rd, when all results would be in.

    however, that was not to be, with fate having different plans.

    tina was quite composed, stating that one part of her was happy that he left without suffering any pain.

    the funeral was in the evening, with his daughters performing the last rites.

    richard was able to make it, just in time, from mumbai.

    wreaths were laid on behalf of air chief, aoc-in-c WAC and aoc hindon.

    kunnu and i attended the funeral.


  6. Amarjit Singh Behl says:

    You have forgotten SS Grewal who left us 3 months ago.

  7. J Thomas says:

    2689 is G Sharma. I think that AS Bachchu joined us after the photo was taken

  8. Nirmal Mahajan says:



    My father Late Air Cdre Dayal Singh was No:3498.

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