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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Christian war hero and saviour of Pakistan passes away

 Cecil Chaudhry 27th August 1941 - 13th April 2012 (RIP)

Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry, a veteran fighter pilot of Pakistan Air Force, breathed his last breath at Combined Military Hospital Lahore on Friday 13th April 2012. 

At the ripe age of 71 Cecil was suffering from lung cancer as he passed away to a new life.

He has left behind three daughters and a son to mourn his death.  Michelle Chaudhry founder of the Iris Foundation has often written articles for the BPCA blog.

His father FE Chaudhry, a veteran photographer of Pakistan Movement, remains alive and is said to be over 100 years old. 

Cecil Chaudhry was a legendary fighter pilot of Pakistan Air Force who participated in a number of aerial battles during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars. 

He was credited with several air-to-air kills and was one of the distinguished Pakistani strike and fighter pilots of the period. 

Cecil Chaudhry is renowned for displaying outstanding professionalism, unflinching devotion and exemplary courage during combat. It has been said that services rendered by the legend were beyond the call of normal duty and contributed a significantly towards PAF achieving air superiority during the Indo-Pak war of 1965.  He was part of the famous attack formation which was responsible for the destruction of Halwara airfield and the Amritsar radar during the 1965 war.

In recognition of his meritorious services, he was awarded with Sitara-e-Jurat and Sitara-i-Basalat.  Two of the highest military honours available within the Pak- Air Force.

 Group Captain Captain Chaudhry was born on 27 August, 1941, in a Christian (Roman Catholic) family of the village Dalwal, located in the Salt Range. He joined  Pakistan Air Force on March 12, 1958 and got commission in the GD (P) branch on 26 June, 1960. 

During his career in Pakistan Air Force, he commanded two Mirage squadrons and Combat Commanders School (CCS).Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of the Air Staff Pakistan Air Force, has expressed his extreme grief on the demise of  the PAF legend. 

 The CAS has extended deepest sympathies and profound condolences to his family over the sad demise of the great fighter pilot and a true patriot. He was taken as the beacon of inspiration for all ranks and files of Pakistan Air Force.

The BPCA would like to extend its heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of  Group Captain Emeritus Cecil Chaudhry.

Wilson Chowdhry said:

"Cecil Chaudhry was undoubtedly a great Pakistani and a great Christian, a man who served his country with bravery and honour and who strove for a more equal Pakistan.  He proved that every Pakistani can contribute to the nation if given an opportunity - regardless of faith.  It is with sorrow that we remember the loss of a national hero."

Please do write about your memories of Cecil in our comments page below.


  1. A legend has died.

  2. sharon tilsdale20 April 2012 at 15:09

    God bring peace to his family as he did for so many..

  3. Michelle Chaudhry21 April 2012 at 00:16

    Dear Friends,

    I am so touched by the kindness and love expressed by all of you; it has really been a great source of strength and comfort to me and my family at this extremely difficult time.

    The four of us stand so proud and fortunate to be the children of such a brave, courageous and illustrious man. My father was bestowed with numerous Honors, from Gallantry Awards to equally high Peace time citations, he also received enormous recognition for his contributions towards the rights of Religious Minorities in Pakistan and in the field of education too, his services are second to none. My Father was a proud, dignified and daring man, who always held his head high and when life presented its worst adversity before him, he took it in his stride and refused bow his head even in the state of extreme pain. He fought cancer; an absolute merciless disease like a brave and courageous warrior right to his last breath.

    Our Father was a National Hero, a highly decorated war veteran, a legend of the Pakistan Air Force, a bold and fearless Human Rights Activist, a beacon of light and inspiration for many Pakistanis. His death has been widely mourned - from the President of Pakistan to the man on the street. Catholic schools in Lahore and Rawalpindi / Islamabad were closed today as a mark of respect. A one minute silence was observed at most Christian Institutions across the country and citations were read out at various institutions.

    However it was my Father’s first family The Pakistan Air Force that has left us completely overwhelmed. The Chief of Air Staff, senior serving officers and all the Officers at the Lahore base went beyond all expectations to bid farewell to our father and their colleague in an extremely befitting manner.

    A funeral ceremony was held at the Lahore Base a “100% percent full uniform attendance” was ordered, the Honor Guards were flown in from Air Head Quarters, he was presented with a Guard of Honor, was carried by the Air Force pall bearers in a coffin wrapped in the flag of Pakistan, a gun salute was given at the cemetery as he was being laid to rest.

    Floral wreaths were presented on behalf of the Chief Minister Punjab, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Army Staff, the Naval Chief, The Corps Commander Lahore, The Ministry of Defense and thousands of family, friends and well-wishers from across the world.
    He was given a funeral with complete Military Honors, the kind he truly deserved.

    We apologize for not being able to thank each one of you individually, your Facebook posts, comments, emails, text messages and telephone calls have left us emotionally overwhelmed. No amount of words can express our gratitude. Thank you ever so much. God bless each one of you abundantly.

    Michelle Chaudhry