SAMPLE FROM BOOK „THE ULTIMATE TEMPEST“ BY CHRISTOPHER THOMAS
As noted earlier, RIAF squadrons had commenced equipping with Tempests in September 1946 – nearly a year
before the country achieved independence. When ‘Partition’ was formally enacted on 15 August 1947, all the
RAF’s Tempests (and other various types) in India were
transferred to the two newly independent countries,
the bulk (124) going to the RIAF and the remainder (35)
to the RPAF. The RIAF Tempests included those already
serving in RIAF units, namely Nos 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 10
Squadrons. Nos 1 and 9 Squadrons, recently converted to
Tempests from Spitfires, were among the assets selected
for transfer to the RPAF although Indian personnel in those units were evacuated to their homeland.
No 2 Squadron, also recently converted from Spitfires,
was short-lived as a Tempest unit, disbanding at the end
of 1947, leaving the RIAF with five operational Tempest
No 3 Squadron eventually converted to Vampires in December 1952
No 4 Squadron had taken over No 30 Squadron RAF’s
Tempests in July 1947 and would be the last Squadron to
fly Tempests operationally, not trading them for Vampires
until April 1954.
No 7 Squadron left its original Tempests at Risalpur for
the RPAF but, re-equipped with replacement aircraft,
continued to operate until the end of 1949.
No 8 Squadron, the second to fly Tempests, continued
to operate them until Nov 1951 when they were replaced
No 10 Squadron received its first Tempests in May 1947
and were the second to last to operate the type, beginning conversion to Vampires in December 1953.
In October 1947 an invasion into disputed Indian territory (in Jammu and Kashmir) by tribal insurgents from
Pakistan, took place, inevitably developing into war
between to two new nations. The RIAF Tempests were
heavily employed supporting ground troops in the fighting which continued throughout 1948. Bombs, RP and
cannon were used to great effect. No air combat took
place other than the interception of a RPAF Dakota which
was damaged as it was driven away. The war reached
a stalemate situation towards the end of 1948 and the
United Nations brokered a ceasefire that was imposed
on 31 January 1949.
Meanwhile, attrition had forced the RIAF to look for reinforcements for its Tempest force and surplus RAF Tempests were purchased. These aircraft had mostly been in
store since their delivery but in May 1948 113 were sold
back to their manufacturer, Hawker Aircraft at Langley,
where they were completely refurbished and brought up
to the latest standard. India acquired 89 of these Tempests, allocating serial numbers HA547 to HA635; they
Title photo: The first RIAF unit to equip with the Tempest was No 3 Squadron which began conversion at Kolar
in September 1946. PR836 Q was reported with that squadron the following month and served with them until it was
badly damaged in an accident at Risalpur on 14 May 1947, when the undercarriage collapsed and Sqn Ldr M.L. Mishra
was injured. In common with the other RIAF Tempest squadrons, no unit codes were carried, just individual letters.