His Story

Sardar Hardit Singh Malik – Flying Hobgoblin of India

Sardar Hardit Singh Malik - Flying Hobgoblin of India

During World War 2, The British Military deployed over a million Indian soldiers to fight their battles, but very few have the opportunity to join the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

However, He is an Oxford graduate who paves the way for other Indians to follow his path and fighter during the world war.

He was born in Rawalpindi, British India (now in Pakistan) in 1894.

He was home-schooled by an Anglo-Indian couple when he was 14, after that he went to England for the higher studies.

During his college years,  he actively played golf and cricket for the Balliol College in Oxford and various championships.

When the first world started, most of her classmates stop their studies to join the British military and defend their nation.

He also wanted to do the same but to serve in the Indian military hospitalThe RFC rejected him, Malik decided to complete his studies, and after that, he joined the French Red Cross.

He has informed him by his Oxford tutor that the French Red Cross had selected him as a fighter pilot. He wrote to Major-General Henderson saying that,  “ it was disgraceful for an Indian to denied the opportunity of joining the RFC, while the French were willing to offer him a commission.”

He had said in a TV interview, adding that “After that meeting was over, I was sent for training and got a commission in the RFC as a fighter pilot.”Thus, Malik became the first Indian to be selected as a fighter pilot for the RFC (later known as for the Royal Air Force).

Malik used to wear a custom-made helmet over his turban, which earned him the name, “Flying Hobgoblin.” According to the Empire Faith War exhibition, the enthusiastic fighter flew ‘solo’ in a Caudron aircraft just three hours after his orientation.

Within a month of training, he was posted to Squadron number 28 and went to fight in France. Here, Malik ’s first flight commander was Major William Baker, a Canadian, who would go on to earn the Victoria Cross—the highest award of the British honors system.

I looked up but could see nothing. Within a few seconds, however, I saw a German scout diving on him, and firing at Major Barker and shot him down. It was all over in a few seconds. Later during the same flight 1 got him and had the satisfaction of seeing him go down in flames,’ wrote Malik about his first combat flight on October 18, 1917.

At a time when the life expectancy was very less, He went on to shoot down two German planes and wounded in combat, but he was the one who survived in the world war.

According to a report in Empire, Faith & War, “On 26 October 1917, Barker took Malik over the lines in an attack on an enemy airfield in poor weather. They were surprised by a large number of German fighters, and although Hardit Singh shot one down, his aircraft was struck by an incredible 450 bullets, two of which pierced his leg.

A legendary hero in his own right, Sardar Hardit Singh Malik lived and died with the two German bullets that had wounded him, still embedded in his legs!



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