Cecil Chaudhry was born on Aug 27, 1941, in a Catholic Christian family who resided in Dalwal village sited in the Salt Range. It is truly said that Legends were born once! This fits in with him. His father, Elmer Chaudhry is a veteran photojournalist in The Times, Lahore.
He tied a knot with Iris Chaudhary in 1965 and continues his legacy with three daughters and a son who’re working for peace and justice through a non-profit NGO named The Cecil and Iris Foundation, CICF. From this organization, he and his family want to vanish injustice from society by representing the marginalized groups.
Cecil Chaudhry got his initial education from Lahore at St Anthony’s High School. He studied BS in Physics from Forman Christian College, Lahore. He becomes an Air scout in 1956 and attains glider pilot’s wing.
Moreover, he enrolled himself in a 23 general duty course in PAF Academy Risalpur on 12 March 1958. From there he graduated as a Pilot Officer in June 1960 and joined no. 2 Squadron at PAF Base Masroor for Fighter Conversion Course. His learning didn’t just there as he did double B.Sc. aeronautics and mechanical engineering in 1960.
Contribution for Pakistan
He got commissioned in the GD (P) branch of PAF in the 1960s. This was his first posting as a professional in no. 5 Squadron where he continued his services for about five years until the 1965 war happened. Due to his aerial skills, he was credited as one of the most proficient fighter jet pilots. Cecil’s exceptional airfield superiority made him attack the Halwara airdrome and the Amritsar radar in the 1965 war. His unflinching professionalism made Pakistan neutralize the Indian airfield although the mission got delayed as the Indian army was on guard.
Later, he served as no. 18 Squadron where he combats the 1971 war. In that mission, his plane strike. But he managed to land it safely near the Pakistan border where our troops picked him.
In his career, he commanded Mirage squadrons and Combat Commanders School in PAF.
He was a fighter pilot in Pakistan Air Force (PAF), who remained outstanding and brilliant throughout his career. His services didn’t just end after he retired from PAF in 1986. Because he became an educationalist and right activist after that. He was appointed as a principal of St. Anthony’s College and St. Mary’s Academy at Lalazar, Rawalpindi. He also served as the director of the Punjab education foundation and did many educational reforms.
He joins hands with the national commission for justice and peace and did a 14-year campaign that eventually led to the restoration in 2002 of the joint electorate systems for minorities. This made Cecil Chaudhry the Executive Secretary of the All-Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA).
Govt of Pakistan reward towards services
Mr. Chaudhary played a key role in many aerial battles. For that matter due to his exemplary courage, he was awarded as Sitara-e-Jurat for 1965 and Sitara-i-Basalt. On his last breath on 13 April 2012, Govt. of Pakistan presented him with “Pride of Performance.” Noted: very few relish this distinction in the Armed forces. Due to his commendable efforts, Lahore’s cathedral and the archbishop’s resident named a section of road under his name.
He is suffering from a contagious disease, lung cancer, and was undergoing treatment for that in a military hospital. But due to this horrific illness, he passed away in his 70s. His funeral was held at Lawrence Road’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, Jail Road’s cemetery.
Zunaira Ali is the Freelance writer. She is working at STUDENTINN SOLUTIONS as Intern Content Writer. She is also part of MainHOONPakistan and contributing to HumSayPakistan.
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