LT. 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