Great Lives World War One

A Camel for India: Hardit Singh Malik

Hardit Singh Malik was the first Indian and Sikh to become an officer in any of the world’s air forces. David Orman has been researching this fascinating history.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon early in 1918, a delegation from the Indian Government was taken from Manchester’s Midland Hotel, where they had enjoyed luncheon, to the Athletic Ground in Fallowfield, just a short distance away.

There, Manchester Chamber of Commerce presented them with an aeroplane – a Sopwith F1 Camel – to mark ‘Lancashire’s appreciation of the splendid part which India was playing in the war.’

The pilot who would fly the Camel from Manchester was 2nd Lt. Hardit Singh Malik.

photograph of Malik beside his plane
Flt Lt Malik in Manchester. Image in the public domain.