Air Aces of World War One


1-indra-lal-roy-corneredzoneLT. Indra Lal ‘Laddie’ Roy – 1897 / 1917 India’s Fighter Ace

Indra Lal Roy was born in Calcutta, India, Where his father was a barrister and Director of Public Prosecutions. Indra was sent to England to further his education. He was at St. Pauls School in Hammersmith when the First World War began.

He applied for service with the Royal Flying Corps, but was initially rejected with defective eyesight. Roy paid for a consultation with an eye specialist and as a result the decision was overturned. He joined the R.F.C. in July 1917, and was Posted to No.56 Sqn. in France at the end of October.

A week later he crashed his S.E.5a, and in consequence was sent back to England for further training. There he was categorised as unfit for further training, but he persisted and  got this ruling cancelled.

He then returned to France, as a member of George McElroy’s flight in No.40 Sqn. Between the 6th and 19th of July he scored 10 victories, 4 and 1shared destroyed, 4 and 1 shared out of control. He was then subsequently shot down in a dogfight with Fokker D VIIs of Jasta 29.

This gallant young Airman, aged only 19, was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was and still is to my knowledge, India’s only fighter ace, a title he has held for over a hundred years.

(C) Damian Grange 2018


12 thoughts on “Air Aces of World War One

      1. I found his name in one of my reference books and thought that he would make an ideal post. I want to write more about the unsung heroes rather than the over publicised ones. Many thanks for your nomination!


  1. When you consider that most of the aircraft were made of wooden spars covered with fabric, if you were being fired at, there was nowhere to hide, only the very best pilots survived or the very lucky ones!


  2. Thanks for this one – I vaguely remembered reading about him from years ago and have been looking for him again recently but couldn’t remember his name. A great man who really pushed himself to the limit. As so often, you wonder what he would have done if he had lived.


  3. I have a lot of followers on the Indian sub continent and I came across him in one of my books and thought it would be nice to do a piece on him. He fits nicely in to the category of virtually unknown ace. The well known aces have been done to death I want to do more for the lesser known!


  4. I think then it was very much a case of flying by the seat of your pants, it was all about getting into position to take that lucky burst that would down your opponent. It was I feel better to be a lucky pilot rather than an expert one! thank you for your interest.


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