The first ‘real’ pilot of Tata Airlines
We all know about how the house of Tatas forayed into civil aviation in 1932 as the Aviation Division of Tata Sons Ltd. Much has been written about two of the three pilots involved in the first flight between Karachi and Madras and back, between 15-18 October 1932.
He then joined Tata in 1932 flying mail for them between Karachi and Madras. During the eight years he was with Tata, he not only flew as part of the 15 October 1932 first flight, but also both the special flights with Christmas mail and the Colombo extension on 23 & 24 December 1936. Later when the Empire Air Mail Scheme was introduced, Bharucha again had the honor of flying the first extension flight from Karachi to Colombo on 27 February 1938.
Left: Homi with a Chinese pilot during World War II.
Right: (L to R) Sir Phiroze Sethna, Homi Bharucha, a postal official, Thelma and J.R.D. Tata, C.M. Eastly, Nusserwanji Guzder and Lady Sorab Saklatvala.
Mail flown by Homi D. Bharucha on first flights of Tata Air services.
Left: Bombay to Karachi on 18 October 1932; Right: Madras to Colombo on 23 December 1936 (pilot signed cover)
He joined the Maharaja of Jaipur in 1940 looking after his fleet of aircraft and aerodrome. He was then lent to the R.I.A.F. between 1942-1945 as a pilot, a Flt. Lieutenant, flying critical missions ‘over the hump’ in the Eastern Himalayas. He flew over 1,000 hours and was decorated with the AFC and DFC. After the war, when India took over the Air Force, he was promoted to Wing Commander.
Having taken very ill, he sadly passed away in 1948, just 40 years of age. His final resting place is at the Brockwood Cemetery and there is a beautiful plaque in his memory installed by his son Cyrus and daughter Gita in August 2022.
Sir, we salute you!
His children, Gita & Cyrus at his resting place in Brockwood Cemetery in August 2022
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