Roy, Indra Lal
Roy, Indra Lal (1898-1918) first Bangali pilot, born in Kolkata on 2 December 1898, second son of PL Roy, a zamindar of Lakutia in Barisal district. Indra Lal had a brilliant academic career, winning several scholarships and finally joining Oxford University on the Balliol Scholarship. He was expected to compete for the indian civil service (ICS), but instead joined the Royal Flying Corps. He was commissioned in October 1917 and joined No. 56 squadron.
While on a sortie in December 1917 over France and Germany, Indra Lal Roy’s aircraft was shot down by Germans in ‘No Man’s Land’. After lying unconscious for three days, he was picked up by British troops and sent to a British military hospital in France. He was given up for dead and sent to the mortuary. At the mortuary, however, he regained consciousness.
Indra Lal was soon flying again. During 6 July to 18 July 1918, he shot down 9 German fighter aircrafts before he was himself shot down. He was awarded a posthumous DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) for his role in the war efforts. [A Muzaffar]