"The Forgotten Few": A new history of the Indian Air Force in WWII.

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Sid Guttridge
Posts: 9859
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

"The Forgotten Few": A new history of the Indian Air Force in WWII.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2021 09:31

This is an Indian-produced history of the IAF in WWII. This went from a single squadron in 1939 to twelve squadrons in 1945 using entirely Indian personnel.

The Forgotten Few by K. S. Nair (Harper Collins, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2019) is well written and accessible to the reader.

It seems to be a comprehensive survey of material previously published in India and the UK, which is useful in itself. To this has been added the personal accounts of 20+ veteran Indian pilots. It does not appear to have used archival materials, or at least does not disclose them in the bibliography.

It is the recollections of the Indian veterans that goes beyond anything that could be discovered in English-language publications. On the one level, their narratives read very similarly to the memoirs of contemporary RAF pilots in the same theatres. However, it introduces elements of Indian nationalism and some friction with the British not previously (as far as I know) disclosed.

The book might perhaps have benefitted from more access to that third of the IAF that went on to form the Pakistan Air Force a few years later.

That said, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in aerial warfare in WWII or the Indian armed forces generally.


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