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The content for the First Course of ISW/JSW later NDA has been designed by Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh PVSM, Signal Officer-in-Chief Indian Army 1988-91 (a member of the 1st Course, Cadet number A/46), to perpetuate the legacy of the Course and also to honor the Institution in which the Course started its military training, the mentors (training staff) and course mates, including their families.
A decision was taken by the Government of India on 22 Sep, 1945, that an academy to train officers for the three Services together, should be started. No such institution existed any where else in the world at that time! Government approval was accorded on 17 February 1948. The deserted Prisoner of War Camp in Clement Town near Dehradun, was chosen as the interim location. 190 cadets (141 for the Army, 25 Navy and 24 for the Air Force) reported at Clement Town between 6- 9 Jan 1949. The training started from 11 Jan 1949.
The First Course/Batch of any training institution has a special place in its history and progress. They are the trend setters. Former cadets of the 1st Course JSW feel very privileged and proud of their lead position in the evolution of this Premier Academy, which for over half a century has been the main source of intake of officers in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.
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Service training institutions for cadets worldwide, till the end of World War II, were Service-specific ie Armies, Navies and Air Forces trained their own cadets. However, one of the important lessons learnt particularly during the 1939-45 War was to have greater inter-service integration, not only in men and machines but minds too, to hone the three Armed Forces as an integrated striking force. It was therefore considered desirable to bring the cadets of the three Services together right from the beginning so that they could start developing and imbibing jointness from the very first day of their training.
In 1941, the Government of Sudan placed a sum of R 14 Lakhs (quite an amount in those days) at the disposal of the Viceroy of India for building a suitable War Memorial as a token of recognition of the services rendered and sacrifices made by the Indian Troops in the defence of its Country. In 1943, General Auckinleck, the Commander-in-Chief suggested the founding of an Inter- Service Academy as the National War Memorial. The Viceroy set up a Committee to examine the proposal and Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the members. On 22 Sep, 1945, it was decided that India should have only one academy to train officers for the three Services. It was a very dynamic and important decision, as even in UK and USA there was no such institution!
The core of the Indian experiment was that youth from diverse backgrounds and beliefs would be trained together physically, mentally and morally for sufficient time to be able to act in unison. They would live together, study together, work together, play together, win or lose together. The friendships so developed in the formative years would ensure that the future officers of the three Services were on the friendliest terms with each other and there was a spirit of give and take, mutual understanding and camaraderie. And when they separate, they will be able to appreciate the points of view of brother officers of the other Services. In later years when as senior officers they meet each other in conferences, they will not start in an atmosphere tinged with mutual suspicion, but in one enlightened with their previous knowledge of each other and common experiences and background at the ISW/JSW/NDA.
West Point as the Model
The founding of the ISW/JSW/NDA was an amalgamation of several ideas. A committee of three eminent educationists and a representative from each Service visited military training institutions in UK, USA and Canada, studied their syllabi and functioning. In India there was the Indian Military Academy (IMA), started on the lines of Sandhurst. The attractive features of West Point were its aims and objectives, its honour code as well as the academic curriculum.
A press communiqué was issued on 2 May 1945, stating the intent of the Government to set up a Military Academy on the lines of US Military Academy at West Point for the education and basic training of future officers of the three Services together. This was considered to be the most suitable form for the National War Memorial. Another Committee was next appointed to work out the details of organisation, setting up and working of the proposed Academy.
The report of the Committee was approved in Dec 1946 and a new Section-MT 9 was formed at Army Headquarters, under Col Kamta Prasad, MC, to ensure that various sanctions were obtained and different aspects of the Project were speeded up. The Partition of the Country into India and Pakistan delayed the setting up of the Academy. Subsequently, on 23 Sep 1947, as an interim measure, setting up of a Junior Experimental Wing of the Indian Military Academy at Dehradun was sanctioned, while the planning for the National War Academy at Khadakwasla, carried on.
On 17 February 1948, Government of India accorded approval for the setting up of the Inter-Services War Academy. Subsequently, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru did not approve of the name National War Academy due to its aggressive overtones and the name was changed to National Defence Academy. On 15 December 1948, Colonel Kamta Prasad, Deputy Commandant (designate) and his Team arrived in a deserted Prisoner- of-War Camp in Clement Town near Dehradun, to set up the Inter-Services Wing (ISW).
On 31 Dec 1948, Brigadier Thakur Mahadeo Singh, DSO,
Commandant IMA issued Special Order of the Day. IMA will be re-designated as Armed Forces Academy (AFA) wef 1 January 1949. It will have two Wings; viz. Military Wing and an Inter-Services Wing (ISW). AFA will be the interim National War Academy. Our Country is the first in the World to start the basis of true Inter-Services training and cooperation. It is a unique honour and privilege to all members of the Staff and Cadets who will be associated with the initiation of this great experiment.
The Selection Procedure
India gained independence on 15 August 1947. Prior to and after this date there were intense communal riots in many parts of the Country. The Partition involved massive migration of population, particularly from Punjab and Bengal and resulted in large number of refugees. Education system was disrupted in these two states. The invasion of Jammu and Kashmir by Tribals from NWF Province, masterminded and aided by Pakistan Military started in mid Oct 1947 and Indian Forces got busy in J&K. Indianisation of the Armed Forces was also taken in hand. In spite of such preoccupations of the Ministry of Defence and Services Headquarters, in particular the Army Headquarters, it was very creditable that arrangements to start the ISW as early as Jan 1949 were made with considerable speed and efficiency.
The advertisements for entry into First Course ISW appeared in various newspapers towards the Third Quarter of 1948. The selection process comprised of preliminary selection at different Sub Area and other headquarters. The successful candidates were asked to appear before Services Selection Boards (SSBs) at Meerut, Bareilly and Bangalore. Candidates for the Air Force were sent to the Air Force Selection Centre at Clement Town. Those who made the final merit list were intimated through letters and service telegrams to report to ISW at Clement Town, between 6 and 9 Jan 1949.
Cadet Ashok Datta (A-26) had the distinction of being the first ever cadet who got “A” rating at the SSB. The SSB took this as a case study and monitored Ashok’s career while he was at the JSW, later IMA and thereafter. Ashok Datta proved the SSB rating right, as he became the Academy Cadet Captain in JSW, won the President’s Gold Medal for being the best all round cadet and later repeated the same at IMA also. Unfortunately, his brilliant career was cut short, when he passed away at a young age, when he was only a Lt Col.
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Ends and Means
The ‘Ends and Means’ of the Joint Services Wing were spelt out thus. ‘The Joint Services Wing catches the potential officer young. He is given thorough and varied training, designed to make him eventually just not a professionally efficient soldier, sailor or airman, above all, a dedicated servant of the Country, blessed with the unique privilege of living and, if need be, dying for the Motherland.
The process is four fold-the cadet is given a sound basic all round Liberal education (of muscle no less than of mind), so that before he proceeds to learn his job, he knows something of everything. He goes through some amount of elementary Service training. He is indoctrinated with the joint service ideal, by being introduced through personal contact and lectures, to the practices, problems and personalities of the three Services. Above all, his character is scientifically shaped by the inculcation of loyalty, discipline, devotion to duty, a sense of humour, initiative, self confidence, resourcefulness, team spirit and other qualities of leadership. From the daring new type of training is expected to emerge a new type of officer, more liberal and cultured but as tough and efficient, more friendly to the other two Services but as loyal and proud of his own’.
The First Course Arrives
The First Batch of cadets for the three Services joined ISW at Clement Town on 6, 7, 8 and 9 January 1949. Cadet A-188, DS Sabhiki (later Air Marshal) had the distinction of being the first to report, at 0630 hrs on 6 Jan 1949 . A few cadets like Jagjit and Shukul (both Army) joined a few days after 9 January. There were 25 cadets for the Navy (A-1 to A-25), 144 for the Army (A-26 to A-166 plus A-189 to A-191) and 21 for the Air Force (A-167-A188; A-169 did not report). Mudholkar , NC Suri and Brijender Chimni changed over from Navy to Air Force and RB Rai to the Army from Navy. From the Air Force lot, TV Manoharan, Bangara and Dubey came to the Army. Chimni had the distinction of first changing from Navy to Air Force and then to the Army! DK Ghosh, a naval cadet had the privilege of having the number A-1!
The Course comprised of young men from diverse backgrounds and places. National integration in 1949 was not to the extent it is now a days. People in one part of the Country say North or South, knew very little about those living in other parts and vice versa. However, the cadets soon got to know one another, carved out their turfs and friendships. Sports, extra-curriculum activities and hobbies started gradually and got the cadets busy.
In the beginning everything looked so different, new and strange. The daily routine was tough with PT, drill, followed by academic classes, workshop practice, Service subjects, weapon training, field craft and rather enjoyable D&M (Driving and Maintenance). In the afternoons after a bit of well deserved rest, there were sports. One had to get ready for the evening in Bushirts. At sun down there was the mandatory ANTI MOSQUITO precautions Parade. All the Sections fell in, in front of their living barracks. It was mandatory to wear long sleeves and trousers and all cadets had to apply mosquito repellent cream on exposed parts of the body. (In the Second World War, Allied Forces in South East Asia , suffered large casualties due to Malaria. Anti Malaria measures were therefore formalised. Any one getting Malaria was punished severely as it was considered a preventable disease)!.
To start with, cadets from the three Services were issued distinctive Service specific uniforms. However, soon this was rescinded and all cadets were given common Khaki dress, so that an atmosphere of oneness and jointness prevailed. This dress with minor modifications along with Blue Patrols continues till today.
The Course had about 40 cadets from RIMC and KGRIM. They were well versed with military discipline, drill, PT, wearing of uniforms, military etiquettes and had an edge. The others even did not know how to stand at attention, wear anklets or shine their boots, but caught up fast.
Since there were no senior courses and precedences, this was also the start of the setting up of trends, building up customs and traditions and germination of the inter-service ethos.
ISW was housed in barracks in which Italian Prisoners of War lived during World War II. The MES must have been busy for quite some months to get the living, office, classroom and mess accommodation ready as also arrange furniture and various ancillaries by the end of Dec 1948. The cadets were fairly comfortable when they arrived. However, in the first few weeks, the cadets picked up picks and shovels and spruced up the area around their living barracks, including some gardening.
The training including academic classes started wef 11 January 1949 . The civilian professors led by the Principal Mr. JTM Gibson were a selected lot but had no experience working in military environment. Mr. Bhawani Shankar, Mr. Bhawnani, Dr. Virender Verma, Mr. Basu, Mr. Wanchoo, Mr. Sehgal, Mr. Dias, Mr. Isaac were some of the finest professors selected through the UPSC. The syllabus covered very large number of subjects at Intermediate level; in both science and arts. Award of gradings generated a number of ideas. Civilian instructors were given powers to award up to seven Puttie Parades and initially some cadets indulged in mock Parade State reporting and Orderly Room procedures in the classrooms to have some diversion from studies. The Sick Bay was a favourite place for those who wanted to relax a bit.
The military training included drill, PT, weapon training, army, naval and air force organisations and minor tactics. Capt Pathania, the Adjutant was a respected figure as also Capt Bains the PT Officer. A few drill and PT instructors were obtained on loan from England (for drill RSM Prestige, Sgt Majs Pierce and Armstrong and for PT Sgt Fairy and a couple more). They proved their worth along with their Indian counter parts. The Indian JCO and NCO instructors did not like the importance given to the British Staff and at times showed it. Out of the Indian instructors, one still remembers Sub Chuni Lal of the Punjabis and Hav Maj Burge of MLI, for their excellent bearing and conduct.
No cadet could go out to Town unless he had passed the dreaded Drill Square nor were the bearers allowed to polish boots etc. The cadets practiced marching, saluting, other drill movements and saw to it that they wore the uniforms properly. The drill instructors were also highly charged to ensure that maximum number of cadets in their squads passed in the first attempt. The majority did pass and the unlucky ones had to wait a few more days to have a second try. Dehradun Town was flooded with ISW cadets on the week end following the Drill Square !
There was considerable experimentation as regards cadet appointments and distinctive badges they were to adorn. Finally ‘five pointed brass stars’ were decided upon, to be worn on the chest. Initially, the cadet appointments were by rotation.
The Military Instructors were efficient, firm but friendly and handled the cadets well. Who can forget the likes of Maj GS Saran (Rajputs), ‘A’ Squadron Commander, Lt Sarma of the Navy, not only marching but even cycling with his chest stuck out. He would return the greetings of even the sweepers with a smart salute and uttering ‘good morning Topus’!! The strict Sqn Ldr MB Chand, ‘B’ Squadron Commander, Capt DS Dhindsa (Sikh Regt), Capt Pannu (ASC), Capt Amarjit Singh (Armoured Corps), Capt Anand (Sikh LI) and highly popular, Capt Sahai (Ordnance)!
The cadets were given a pay of Rs. 90 per month. Out of this, after deducting mandatory expenses for services like barber, washer man etc, Rs. 25 was paid in cash and this came in quite handy. The bonanza, however, lasted only a year! Smoking was not permitted but some found secluded places to have a few puffs (tight space above the living barrack ceilings being most common). Everyone used to be so hungry due to physical exertion and the Catering Staff led by Maj Babbbar had to keep a vigil to guard against some gluttons going in for second or even third B’fast!!
The Drill Square was being extended and within a few months a Naval Mast arrived from Bombay and became a famous landmark. It was the largest Drill Square in the Country and may be Asia ! The drill instructors led by RSM Prestige, fumed, huffed and puffed to put the cadets in some military shape and bearing. Those awarded extra drills and restrictions had to visit the Drill Square at additional laid down timings.
Camp Green Horn was the first major outing the Course had. The setting up of the camp, inspections, competitions, guard duties and patrolling gave the first taste of life in the field. Many a lessons were learnt and techniques to survive in the field imbibed.
Formal Inauguration of Armed Forces Academy
On 04 Jun 1949, the then Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel formerly inaugurated the Armed Forces Academy at a ceremonial parade at Clement Town new Parade Ground. Cadets of both ISW and Military Wing took part.
Arrival of Second Course
The Second Course arrived in Jul 1949 and it was a big event. The First Course was eagerly waiting for the juniors to arrive, put them through their paces and initiate the new arrivals to the military ways. ‘C’ and ‘D’ Squadrons were added and a second mess came into being. The cadets of both the courses were mixed up in all the sections, divisions and squadrons. Considerable ragging took place but within a short period both the courses developed good rapport and friendships.
Sports played an important role in the training curriculum at the ISW. In the early days the sports grounds, tennis courts and squash courts were being got ready. However, these improved over time. There was a Plunge Bath (which still exists) and looked like an International Standard Swimming Pool to most of us those days!! The Course had some good sportsmen. Inter squadron competitions were held in each sport and there was healthy competition. At times, matches were played against Military Wing and local teams as well.
Sukhbir Garewal was a national standard cricket player, Harbakhsh Sodhi, Hasabnis, Jakatdar, Surinder Singh were also enthusiastic cricketers. Jaitly excelled in swimming and diving, Katty and Laroia were also good swimmers and Pannu became quite a swimmer too. Brij Tewari, Caveeshar, Andy and Bhagat Singh were keen basketball players, Jimmy Dovedy could control and shoot the football at will. Ravi Sawhney, Rajju Shahani and BK Laroia were good in tennis. BK Laroia and KD Issar were leading players in squash. Padamjit, Chimni, Surinder Singh, Sultan Mal, Malhi and Harbhajan played hockey well, Roddy, Gurung, Nirmal Suri, Tony Archer, GK Sen were tough boxers and Hanut, Giyan Gupta, LB Sondhi keen riders. Durjan Shekhawat, Madanjit, Niranjan Khera, Harbhajan, Mohinder Kahlon and Giyan Gupta were the track and field stars.
Hobbies and Clubs
ISW offered avenues and facilities for wide range of hobbies and extra curricular activities like debating, music, dramatics, arts and crafts,hiking, dramatics, aero-modelling . These kept the cadets occupied in constructive pursuits. The most popular was the local cinema. Western cowboy and Hindi movies were popular.
Calendar of Important Events
First Course Passing-Out Parade
Although the First Course by and large enjoyed their stay and training at ISW/ JSW, each cadet was eagerly looking forward to the day when they will successfully complete their training, pass out and move on to Service specific academies and training.
The Passing-out Parade was held on 8 December 1950 thus marking the successful completion of the training of First Batch of First ever Inter Service Academy anywhere in the World. Quite a landmark in the soldiering history of the World and lives of 1st ‘J’ cadets.!!
General KM Cariappa, the First Indian Chief of the Indian Army was the Chief Guest and took the salute at the smart parade. Wing Cadet Captain, Ashok Datta commanded the Parade and Rodrigues (later Chief of the Army Staff) and MN Vasudeva (later Rear Admiral) were the Ceremonial Stick Orderlies. As the teenage boys marched smartly past the Saluting Base, one could see the firm markings of good soldiers/sailors/aviators and officers in them.
The Organisation of AFA and ISW is given in a form of a family tree.
The inter service ethos was imbibed in the Organisation of ISW. There was a Squadron (air force terminology), under it three Divisions (a naval terminology) and each Division had three Sections (an army term).
In January 1949, to start with, there were only two squadrons; ‘A’and ‘B’. In July 1949 when the Second Course joined, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Squadrons came in to being.
Photographs of First Course Cadets – Division wise as in Dec. 1950, when the Course passed out are given below. Under each photograph is a short pen picture written by JSW Instructors as given in the Souvenir prepared by them.NO 1 DIVISION, “A” SQUADRON
- GAJENDRA SINGHWhen the J.S.W. claimed this U.P. lad with his Elmhirst eyebrows, he was reading for the Inter at the Meerut College after having matriculated from the Government High School, Saharanpur. He divides his leisure between the pen and the camera, and is the nearest we ever got to Cardinal Newman’s definition of a gentleman as one who would never hurt anyone’s feelings.
- YOGINDAR KUMAR SONDHINever was name more appropriate, for Yogi (who incidentally is Nehru’s double) performs yogic exercises daily. Originating from the D.A.V. High School, Lahore, he reached the J.S.W. via St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. Yogi is also a singer, an excellent artist and a plunger, the J.S.W.’s best in 1950.
- VIJAI PAL YADAV‘Jamboora’- so called for his wealth of hair which he taken an enormous amount of trouble to maintain and dress-is the Cadet Captain of the Div. His manner is as smooth and polished as his hair and is typical of the P.W.M.C which gave him to the J.S.W. He excels in groundwork and horsework, has won his weight as a boxer, sings well and did a good job as a cadet instructor in Hindi.
- NIRMAL SONDHI‘Texan’, with his stiff, square shoulders, is a product of the Cambridge School, Delhi. He loves angling and basket ball.
- G.C. MUTHANNA Muthus’shome is far-off Coorg and his alma mater the Mercara Central High School.
- PRANAB KUMAR DUTTA‘ Black Beauty’, product of the C.M.S. High School, Bhagalpur, Bihar, has represented the Wing ably in football and is an expert slow-cyclist besides.
- NARANJIN SINGH KHERAKhera’s turban proclaims that his home is Kapurthala. His slight stoop is misleading, for he is a first rate sprinter and back-stroke swimmer, devoted to athletics to the exclusion of all hobbies. Soldering is in the blood of this son of a retired major.
- A. A. FRANCIS‘Frankie’, from St. Joseph’s High School, Cuddalore, Madras, is He of the Stony Jaw. Extremely fond of fishing and dancing. Has a fine record in basket ball and a finer one in extra drills.
- SUNITH FRANCIS RODRIGUESLittle’Roddie, who is from St .Xavier’s High School, Bombay, has been throughout a good student and a brave boxer. But what we shall miss most about him is his voice-for two whole years he was the Wing’s best singer of English songs. For two whole years he was also perpetual cadet orderly at our ceremonial parades.
- GABAR SINGH PANWAR‘Gadbad Singh’, who is from Garhwal and a product of the King George Military College, Ajmer, is a paradox: a child of the mountains, he feels giddy mountain-driving! He is and looks a happy-go-lucky type and is renowned story-teller.
- AJAY NARAYAN SAPRUSir Tej Bahadur’s grandson and Mahatma Gandhi’s double hails from the Colvin Taluqdar College, Lucknow. An excellent marksman and cricket-lover, he is besides known for the pull-ups he does on the cabin door every evening.
- NIRMAL CHAND SURI‘Bharati Gavala’(cowboy), who is to be traced back to the P.W.M.C., could not decide whether to keep his moustache or get rid of it, as he did not know if his future Service was the Navy or not. It therefore used to appear and disappear at more or less regular intervals. Boxes, swims, fishes and sings-and very soon will fly.
- AVTAR SINGH BAWAA friendly face, his tact and his camera have made Bawa an extraordinarily popular personage. He is in addition a gifted cook.
- RAJENDRA NATH GULATIA talented painter in water colours and a student of instrumental music, Gulati passed from the D.A.V. High School, Lahore to St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and then to the J.S.W. whence he will move to the Navy. Since that, he has made a mark, among other things, as a cadet instructor in Hindi.
- JAGDISH MITTER SABHERWAL‘ Field Marshal Sabherwal’, who emerged from the D.A.V. High School, Delhi, has a brasshat’s solemn face, fitted with the ‘Lala’ type of moustache. He is, like Shakespeare’s Iago, nothing if not critical.
NO 2 DIVISION, “A” SQUADRONNO 3 DIVISION, “A” SQUADRONNO 4 DIVISION, “B” SQUADRONNO 5 DIVISION, “B” SQUADRONNO 6 DIVISION, “B” SQUADRONNO 7 DIVISION, “C” SQUADRONNO 8 DIVISION, “C” SQUADRONNO 9 DIVISION, “C” SQUADRONNO 10 DIVISION, “D” SQUADRONNO 11 DIVISION, “D” SQUADRONNO 12 DIVISION, “D” SQUADRON
The Army component of 1st JSW’ Course joined IMA Dehradun in Jan 1951, as the 10 th Regular Course, after passing out from Clement Town in Dec 1950, There were 132 of us from 1st J’ and 32 Direct Entry Cadets. The Direct Entry cadets were at a disadvantage in the beginning but most of them made good progress within a few months and meshed in well with the JSW lot. This was a unique experiment in that the Course comprised of two streams of intakes; ex JSW and Direct Entry. This signified epitome of unification and an experiment which proved successful and is being followed till date.
Some of us had thoughts that since we had done two years training in JSW and the senior most course in IMA, 7 th Regular Course had been there only 1 ½ years where as 8 th and 9 th Courses even for lesser duration, that they would not have full authority over us, which senior courses normally exercised. This thought was soon dispelled and the Senior Courses went after the 1st JSW’ Course with a vengeance. The Direct Entry Cadets had to bear the onslaught too. However, no amount of physical ragging could dampen the spirits of the 1 st JSW Course as we were physically quite tough, with two years training in JSW! The Seniors soon realized the futility of their ragging and also recognized the high standards that the Course displayed in sports and other out door activities. We were given our due by them there after.
The training at IMA was tough but interesting. It was reverse of JSW ie more stress on military subjects and less on academics. Camps Chindit and Mountain Warfare were physically challenging but introduced us to the basic tactics and field conditions. Col Guts and Blood Lt Col Bhaya Rajwade (later Maj Gen and GOC 7 Infantry Division) would invariably come to the Assault Course when we had gone over it twice already and then announce in his typical Maratha accent, let’s have computition!! He was also very fond of boxing and keen to see blood flowing from noses and cuts on the faces of the boxers. Then there were instructors like Col Ranbir Bakshi, Lt Col SN Antia, Maj Zal Penty, Maj HS Bains, Vrc, Capt Alley, Capt Chowdhry, who were popular with the Course.
The Course acquitted itself very creditably during the two years at IMA and is regarded as one of the top courses to have passed out. As for sports, AS Malhi, Brijender Chimni, Surendera Singh and Harbhajan in hockey, SK Dovedy, GK Sen and PK Data in football, SSGarewal, Surendra Singh, HS Sodhi and Hasabnis in cricket, SF Rodrigues, VP Yadav, AM Archer and GK Sen in boxing, RK Shahni, Inderjit Singh, BK Laroia in tennis, BK Laroia, Ashok Datta, KD Issar and VK Madhok in squash, DS Shekhawat, Madanjit, Harbhajan, Niranjan Khera in athletics, Brij Tewari, Bhagat Singh, Mohinder Kahlon in basketball, NK Jaitley, Katkar, ML Kumar, NS Khera, KS Pannu, JM Thapar, VP Yadav in swimming and Hanut, GC Gupta, Bahukhandi, LB Sondhi, RK Ohri and Shivaji Sable in Polo stood out.
The time passed pretty fast and the most sought after day ie passing out arrived. General KM Carriapa, the Chief of Army Staff took the salute at the Passing out Parade on 28 Dec 1952 . Senior Under Officer Ashok Datta maintained his 1 st position and was awarded the Gold Medal for being first in the order of merit (he had also passed out first from JSW!!). JUO LP Sharma also maintained the second position and was awarded the Silver Medal for being second in order of merit (having passed out second from JSW as well). The coveted Sword of Honour for being the best All Round Cadet was, however, won by SUO VP Yadav. Raj Rif Medal for tactics was awarded to Vijay Madhok .
After commissioning, the young 2/Lts joined their respective battalions, regiments and corps. Bhag Singh was the first fatality and unfortunately died in a road accident in Mar 1953, while on way to his unit in J&K.
Some met during Courses of Instruction, others were posted at same stations, old bonds cemented and new ones formed. The Course officers took part in all the wars that the Indian Army fought after Jan 1953 and acquitted themselves creditably.
OFFICERS OF GENERAL RANK
HONOURS AND AWARDS
This is indicative of the high level of professionalism and performance of the Course, while in Service.
The Course has earned a very good name in the Army as also among the other two Services and set very high standards and traditions, It has proved the value and worth of Joint Services spirit during peace as well as war.
The Course has lost 50 of its members ex 1 st JSW) by Nov 2008; rather a high rate. The battle casualties have not been so many. Tilak Puri and Hasabnis were taken POWs in 1962 War with China .
The Course has done well in the Corporate Sector after retirement. Inderjit in Telecom, Guggi Vohra in manufacturing auto parts, Satish Bahri represented a foreign company, Harbhajan in exports with Tatas, Rajji Kanwar, BK Laroia and Surender Sarup in civil works abroad, Padamjit in garments and Ravi Virmani in business. Brij Tewari has helped a company in Faridabad, Ajab Bhullar has specialised in ISO and SK Dovedy in Management. Atul Shivpuri had long stint in security in hotels. YR Ratra took premature retirement and joined Air India and later the travel business.
Tony Archer, KS Caveeshar, YK Sondhi and Madanjit have shifted abroad with Harbhajan also for a few years!
To cap the achievements of the Course Gen SF Rodrigues (Roddy) was appointed Governor of Punjab and Chief Administrator of Chandigarh in Nov 2004. Jean and Roddy occupy the prestigious Punjab Raj Bhawan in Chandigarh . This is a matter of great honour and pride indeed for the 1st JSW Course
A short voyage from Bombay to Minicoy Island on board the Flagship of the Navy, INS Delhi , during a Term break at JSW gave us a glimpse of the Navy and the shape of things to come. On getting up one morning while sleeping on the quarter deck of the Ship in Bombay Harbour , everyone was bewildered when Taj Hotel on shore changed its position from starboard to port. (The tide had turned the anchored ship around).
After passing out from JSW, we found ourselves at a loose end as the term at Dartmouth , England was to commence in May 1951 and where as we were ready to go in January 51. So we were bundled off to Cochin to acquire some Naval ‘spit and polish’ and shed our habit of stamping our feet a` la JSW. Here we remained under the very able stewardship of Lt Russi Gandhi, one time Flag Lieutenant of Lord Mountbatten and ending his career as Governor of Himachal Pradesh, after retiring from the Navy as Vice Admiral.
On the morning of 17 th March 1951, our ‘coffin like’ metallic trunks (only 16, as three Electrical cadets: SBN, Shukul and Suresh Chandra, as also the Supply Branch Cadet Radhey were to come later), were hoisted aboard the P & O liner SS Strathaid at Bombay and we trooped in thereafter. After nearly a month’s memorable voyage, we landed in Tilbury, London, straight in the hands of our wet nurse, Lt Cdr Nagarkar, who took great pains to introduce us to the toiletry habits of Gora Sahibs so that we would not offend our land ladies. In London , we had a twenty days’ jolly and savoured our travels in the ‘Tube’ and ride on the escalators, in those days a great novelty for us.
Our Term at Dartmouth lasted from May to August 1951. This beautiful ‘Alma Mater’ of the Royal Navy is situated on a sloping hill on the mouth of River Dart in the South western corner of England . However, we were kept apart from the regular British Naval cadets who had joined at the age of 13. But we did have a sprinkling of those from the Commonwealth countries. Ours was called ‘Benbow Division’. Emphasis here was laid on seamanship and navigation, and particularly sailing.
When Admiral of the Fleet Lord Louis Mountbatten visited Dartmouth , the Indian cadets adorned the entire Front rank of the Guard of Honour, on merit, as we were by far the smartest cadets on board.
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On to HMS Devonshire, the three funnelled Training Cruiser, we were to mingle with the regular cadets of the Royal Navy, popularly called ‘the Darts’. The ship undertook the Autumn Cruise to the Mediterranean ports like Gibraltar , Syracuse ( Sicily ), Sorrento (off Naples ), Malta , Rhode Island of Greece etc. Here we were taught to undertake all the chores of a sailor as well as class room instructions for professional subjects in running a warship.
This cruise lasted from end Sep to Dec 1951 and then after a brief break, the winter cruise (end Jan 52 to end March 52) took us to the West Indies, where we were to visit ports, home to ‘rum and coca cola’ and ‘steel bands’ such as Port of Spain in Trinidad, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua, British Virgin Island and Bermuda etc.
May 52 saw us returning to India on board SS Circassia of Anchor Line, another grand holiday on board for over three weeks. Also on First May we were promoted to the rank of Midshipman, a strange rank that hung between a sailor and an officer. We joined INS Tir, the very first Training Frigate of the Navy and us the very first trainees. No seniors, what a joy!
Now we were only thirteen, as Bhalla, the Engineering Cadet, Begum Sharma, Andy Anand and Radhey Sharma supply Branch cadets stayed back in the UK . Lucky ones!
We remained in INS Tir for only 8 months as midshipmen. Thereafter we were distributed amongst various ships of the Fleet for another 8 months. Ravi Sawhney, Reggie Gulati and Dilip Ghosh were lucky ones, as their ship INS Ranjit, under the command of Cdr S M Nanda (later to become CNS), was dispatched to the UK to represent India at the Spithead Review for the Coronation of the Queen in June 1953. The others undertook the Mediterranean Cruise with the rest of the Fleet, visiting exotic places such as Malta, Naples, Dubrovnik and Split in Yugoslavia, Corfu etc.
On First of September, 1953 we received our first stripe and became Sub-Lieutenants or ‘subbies’. Then after serving in various ships ‘the Thirteen’ returned to the UK by yet another liner. This time we really beat it up and painted the town red as the saying goes. We reached Royal Naval College at Greenwich ( London ) in Dec 1953 and stayed
on in the UK till May 1955. Perhaps this was the happiest time of our training. It was here that some acquired motor cycles and cars (of course, ancient museum pieces). Some ventured out to the Continent hitch hiking, others just cycling in the UK .
After Greenwich we spent a few months doing courses in the Naval professional subjects like gunnery, navigation and direction, communications, NBCD, torpedo and anti-submarine, submarine, naval aviation etc. These took us around the Southern Coast of Britain where these professional schools were located. This was no ‘beer and skittle affair’, as our seniority in the Service depended on the outcome of these courses. So everyone had to keep their noses to the grindstone.
Once again we were on board another liner to go back home. Being summer, many a romance by our naval Romeos blossomed on board SS Cilicia, another Anchor Line ship. On arriving at Port Said we were informed that we had to go to Cairo to await the arrival of our Fleet as there had been a collision between two ships and the fleet had returned to Bombay for repairs. So we beat it up in Cairo for around a fortnight. Flush with money and staying in one of the top hotels of Cairo (all paid for) we could afford to enjoy the nightlife of this beautiful city. We were also lionized by the Egyptian Military as it was the beginning of the era of Nehru-Nasser friendship and World Military games were in progress then.
On return, four of the 1 st ; Garry Grewal, Chops Chopra, Harry Hardev and Joe Tripathi went to the Air Force Flying College at Jodhpur . A year later, two (Chops and Garewal) were inducted as pilots in the Fleet Air Arm as Pilots and a third opted to become an Observer
A few years later, Vasudev joined the Submarine Arm of the Navy. Dilip Ghosh and Reggie Gulati opted to remain ‘salt horses’. Ravi Sawhney and Ranjit Chaudhury specialized in Gunnery, Ramu Ramdas and Mahendra Pratap in Communications, Lochi Khurana and Vasu in Navigation and Harry Madhok joined the Naval Provost Branch.
Our friends in the ‘Electrical’ Branch spent a total of seven years in the UK, starting with Dartmouth, Devonshire, University of Durham (three and a half years to obtain a degree in Bachelor of Electrical Engineering) and another two years in Collingwood and other RN Establishments and ships before joining INS Vikrant being readied in the UK.
S K Bhalla the lone Marine Engineering officer followed the same routine as others i.e. RNC, Dartmouth , HMS Devonshire and 16 months at sea as midshipman on board RN ships before joining Royal Naval Engineering College , HMS Thunderer for a two year basic engineering course. In 1955 he returned to India as a confirmed Sub-Lieutenant (E) for Sea Watch Competency Certificate. He went back to UK as a Lieutenant for specialist engineering course at HMS Manadon till end 1956. Thereafter he returned to India as part of the Ships Company of the newly acquired INS Mysore , the Flagship of the Indian Fleet.
Three cadets who opted for the Logistics cadre also followed similar training pattern as rest. They had also stayed back in the UK and did their professional courses and stints in RN Naval Establishment. T hey were sent to an Aircraft Carrier or a large Cruiser of the Royal Navy. They also spent some time on board Naval Air Stations in Malta and in UK , before rejoining their parent course at Greenwich for the Junior Staff Course . On returning to India , they joined INS Hamla, for conversion courses, to bring them back to Indian logistics stream.
In the peak of their careers , Admiral LN Ramdas rose to the dizzy heights to become the Chief of Naval Staff. He along with VADMs S C Chopra and RP Sawhney commanded the three Naval Commands. Operationally both VADM Chopra and Ramdas commanded the Western and Eastern Fleets, respectively whilst VADMs RP Sawhney was in command at Port Blair.
VADMs SBN Singh and JN Sukul headed the Material Branch and VADM RS Sharma headed the Logistics branch.
Ravi Sawhney became the first ever Commandant of NDA (JSW) from the 1 st Course. It was during his tenure that Queen Elizabeth II visited the NDA.
On retirement or premature retirement six joined the Merchant Navy. Among these Reggie Gulati served the longest, for over 17 years. SBN served as a consultant to the newly constructed Port of Pipavav and Ranjit Chaudhuri as an Administrator of National Performing Arts.
Ravi Sawhney served as the Chairman and Managing Director of Jawaharlal Nehru Port, off Bombay .
The “1 st “JSW” Course was considered the finest course of young cadets which joined the Indian Navy in all its history. It produced one four star Admiral, five three star Vice Admirals, one two star Rear Admiral, and six one star Commodores. Sixty Five percent of the cadets reached the enviable Flag Rank from the Naval Contingent. Of the remaining seven two became Captains and five retired as Commanders.
The Course also won two Veer Chakras and seven Navy Medals in the 1971 Indo-Pak War. Six officers were awarded PVSM, six AVSMs and six VSMs, for highly distinguished and dedicated service in the Navy.
The 1 st JSW Course set very high standards indeed for generations of NDA cadets to emulate!!
Alas, as on 15 Nov 2008 , six are no more with us. May their souls rest in peace.
Before the start of Flying, A 24 Cadet BS Chimni was sent to Indian Military Academy Dehradun on medical grounds and he was commissioned in the Armoured Corps. Retired as Brigadier.
The Basic Stage Flying training was on Tiger Moths and very adventurous indeed. However, five Course mates namely A/174 S Balasubramanian, A/12 AJ Mudholkar, A/170 JK Bhalla, A/171 PP Avasthi and A/178 M Mukherjee did not make the grade to the Advance Stage on Harvard Aircraft.
Before the Advance Stage commenced, A167 OP Kukreja and A176 CL Gupta along with 12 odd Direct Entry cadets were sent to No 1 AFA Begumpet, as spare capacity for flying training existed there.
During the Advance Stage, A186 PC Dubey was sent to the Indian Military Academy , A167 OP Kukreja and A188 Didar Singh Sabhiki to Navigator stream.
A176 CL Gupta was the first officer amongst the three Services to be commissioned from Begumpet on15 Feb 1952.
57 th Pilots Course got their commissions on 15 Mar 1952 . Eight Pilots namely, A17 NC Suri, A172 PJ Jakatdar, A175 Shib Charan Singh, A179 PD Dogra, A180 Dalbir Yadav, A183 BR Singh Bindra, A185 A Lahiri and A187 Sunandan Roy joined the Fighter Stream and, three A176 CL Gupta, A173 KC Misra and A177 JC Verma entered the Transport Stream.
Balasubramanian was the first cadet to join the 5 th NAV Course in July 1951 and was commissioned in Jun 1952. Didar Sabhiki and OP Kukreja joined 6 th NAV Course on 6 Feb 1951 . Didar Singh Sabhiki was awarded the Sword of Honour for the best all round Cadet and OP Kukreja the Ground Trophy during the Passing out Parade.
A178 M Mukherjee was commissioned in the Admin ATC stream and took premature retirement as A Flg Offr
A-12 AJ Mudholkar, A/170 JK Bhalla, A/171 PP Avasthi were withdrawn during the training
Bala was the first officer to die in an air crash in a Dakota Aircraft in the Eastern Sector, on 17 Jan 1953 . Lahri died in air crash in a Vampire aircraft due to bird hit at Kanpur in Jun.1953. Bindra died in spitfire while doing range work in Jam Nagar in Oct 1954.
Out 20 Cadets who joined Air force, fifteen were commissioned (11 Pilots, three Navigators and one Admin officer).
The Course had the proud privilege of having (A/17) Nimmi Suri, as the Air Chief. He was originally selected for the Navy but then joined the Air Force. (A/188) Didar Singh Sabhiki became Air Marshal and was Commandant of the Alma mater (NDA). (A/179) PD Dogra became Air Cmde. Four; (A/180) Dolly Yadav, (A/172) PJ Jakatdar, (A/167) OP Kukreja and (A/173) KC Misra attained the rank of Group Captain.
Wg. Cdr CL Gupta and Sqn Ldr.) SC Singh were seconded to Air India where they retired as Chief of Operations.
The ex NDA Officers acquitted themselves creditably. They participated in 1962, 1965 and 1971 Wars and carried out various missions like Strat Recce, Interdiction, Air Defence, Close support and Offensive Ops
PD Dogra and Didar were the leaders of Indian Experts to UAR now Egypt and Nimmi Suri was leader in Iraq .
HONOUS AND AWARDS
Air Chief Marshal NC Suri was awarded PVSM, AVSM, VM. Air Marshal Didar Singh Sabhiki, AVSM and Group Captain OP Kukreja VSM.