Who's Who - Indra Lal Roy

Indra Lal Roy Indra Lal  Roy (1898-1918) was India's only officially accredited air ace of the First World War, achieving ten 'kills' prior to his death in action in July 1918.

Born in Calcutta on 2 December 1898 Roy was educated in England and was attending St. Paul's School in Kensington (since 1911) when war broke out in August 1914, then aged just 15.

In April 1917 Roy enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and was given a commission as 2nd Lieutenant on 5 July 1917.  Within a week Roy was training at Vendrome.  Gunnery practice at Turnberry followed before he was assigned to 56 Squadron at the end of October 1917.

Roy suffered an early setback when his S.E.5a crash-landed on 6 December 1917.  Following a spell of recuperation - during which time he occupied himself sketching aeroplanes, many of which have survived - Roy underwent further remedial training in England.  Nevertheless pronounced medically unfit Roy was successful in getting the verdict reversed before returning to France on 19 June 1918.

Assigned to George McElroy's 40 Squadron "Laddie" Roy amassed ten air victories (two shared) in a short period from 6-19 July, including three in a single day in under four hours, 8 July.  Three days following his last victory, on 22 July 1918, Roy was killed in action, shot down in flames in the skies above Carvin while fighting German Fokker D.VII aircraft belonging to Jasta 29.

Roy was awarded a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in September 1918.  To this date he remains the sole Indian air ace.

Ack Ack was a term used to describe anti-aircraft fire.

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