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Squadron Leader Peter Christy (1937 – 6 December 1971), SJ, was a PAF bomber pilot and weapon systems officer (WSO). A B-57 Canberra navigator, Squadron Leader Christy was officially declared "missing in action" since December 1971, but widely presumed dead by the Pakistan Defence Forces as of 2004.

Peter Christy
Sqn.Ldr.Peter Christy.jpg
Squadron Leader Peter Christy, 1965.
Nickname(s)Fire Master
Born1937
Died6 December 1971 (Death unconfirmed officially)
60 km away from Jamnagar, India (Assumed dead)
Allegiance Pakistan
Service/branch Pakistan Air Force
Years of service1958–1971
RankSquadron Leader
UnitNo. 7 Squadron Bandits
Battles/warsIndo-Pakistani War of 1965
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
AwardsTamgha-i-Jurat (1965)
PAK Sitara-i-Juraat ribbon.svg Sitara-i-Jurat (1971)

Contents

EducationEdit

Christy was born in Karachi then-British India in 1937. The son of Maola Bakhsh Christy, a fire fighter in the Air Force who belonged to Multan.[clarification needed] He initially completed his secondary school education at St Patrick's High School, Karachi and matriculated with good marks.[1] According to Christy's teachers, he had been a very intelligent student who always performed very well in sports as well.

Air Force careerEdit

Christy entered the Pakistan Air Force Academy in 1955 and graduated from a basic flying training program in 1958. The same year he was sent to the Commanders and Combat Flight School at Shorkot. He graduated from there with a specialisation in air weapons system and gained a commission in the air force. Christy began his career in 1962 as a flying officer. In 1964, Christy was promoted to flight lieutenant.[2]

Christy served as a B-57 Canberra navigator pilot and flew a number of successful operational missions in the 1965 war. His efforts gained him praise and he was conferred with Tamgha-i-Jurat by the Government of Pakistan in 1965 at a public ceremony. In 1968, he was promoted to the rank of squadron leader in the Air Force.

Christy subsequently ceased active service and began working for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). He was abroad working with PIA when the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 broke out. Christy volunteered for war service with the PAF in December 1971.[3] Christy was selected for bomber operations and reported to Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry.[4]

On 4 December 1971 at 4:00 o'clock in the evening from PAF Base Faisal, he was given a special mission to destroy an Indian Air Force special air station located at Jamnagar because missile attacks had increased from the Indian side and their fighter planes were continuously targeting the PAF flying bases in Karachi.

After attending continuous briefing sessions with his commanders, he, as a weapon systems officer (WSO) and navigator, along with Wing Commander Stephen Israel prepared for the mission. The mission codename was "Do-or-Die (DoD)". On 6 December 1971, Christy was detailed as navigator for a bombing mission to Jamnagar. The mission was completed successfully and the Indian Air Force's air station was completed destroyed, but Christy failed to return to base.[5]

It was widely speculated that his aircraft was shot down by an Indian surface-to-air missile and that he had been captured. However, after the war, India denied shooting down such an aircraft on 6 December and was unable to track down the pilot. On 8 December, he was officially declared as "missing in action".[6] The Government of Pakistan posthumously awarded him the third highest military award, the Sitara-e-Jurat (Star of Courage), in 1971. On 6 September 2006, independent analyst B. Harry published the war study report IAF Combat Kills- 1971 Indo-Pak Air War, claiming that Christy had died while returning to Pakistan when the IAF's anti-aircraft artillery shot down Christy's plane, and that he had died before capture.[7] However, India's Ministry of External Affairs declined to comment. On 6 September 2004, Squadron Leader Peter Christy was honoured by the Pakistan Television (PTV) in a program sponsored by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Javed, Nabeel (25 June 2010). "We pays tribute to Peter Christy, a Pakistani Christian war hero of 1965". Air Commodore Nabeel Javed. Pakistan Christian Post.
  2. ^ Ibid of Pakistan Christian Post
  3. ^ Hali, Group Captain Sultan M. (December 1998). "PAF's Gallant Christian Heroes Carry Qauid's Message (See:Squadron Leader Peter Christy)". Pakistan Defence Journal. Retrieved 2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ Ibid of Defence Journal
  5. ^ Pakistan Tribute. "Pakistan Air Force: Prides of Nation (See:Sqn Ldr Peter Christy)". Pakistan Tribute Foundation.
  6. ^ PAF, Pakistan Air Force. "Chronological Listing of Pakistani Air Force:Martin B-57 Losses and Ejections". Pakistan Air Force. Aviation History of Pakistan Air Force. Archived from the original on 29 June 2008.
  7. ^ Harry, B. (6 September 2006). "IAF Combat Kills- 1971 Indo-Pak Air War (See:TABLE 2.1- PAF AAA and Ground Fire Losses" (PDF). Retrieved 2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ Khan, Air Commodore Sarfaraz A. (6 September 2004). "Forgotten PAF officers". Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). Jang Group of Newspapers. Retrieved 2010. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External linksEdit