Mervyn Middlecoat: A Pakistani Christian Air force Fighter Pilot

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Mervyn Middlecoat was a Pakistani Christian Air Force fighter pilot who participated in a number of aerial battles during the Indo-Pak wars 1965 and 1971. In 1954, he completed his 16th General Duty Pilot (GDP) Course and won the Best Performance Trophy in ground subjects.


Mervyn_Middlecoat

Mervyn was born in Ludhiana, India in 1940. Percy and Daisy Middlecoat were his parents. He acquired his early education from St. Anthony high School Lahore. Afterwards, he joined Lawrence College Murree. He married jane, daughter of a Christian family from Karachi on On September 27, 1957. After two years, On October 21, 1959 God blessed the couple with a daughter named Leslie.

He was a Soft spoken and mild mannered man. Middlecoat was therefore considered to be a brilliant officer, a gentleman and an outstanding pilot. While During his service career he flew a number of different aircraft during, he came to master the F-104 Starfighter.

In 1965, Middlecoat was posted to Masroor Airbase. The night Karachi was attacked by the Indian Air Force (IAF), Middlecoat flew an F-86 in which he shot down two IAF aircraft killing both pilots. He was accredited with defending Karachi from the Indian Air Force. After his posting to PAF, Lahore he joined Mushaf Airbase under the guidance of Air Commodore W. J. M. Turowicz.

As a Squadron Leader, Middlecoat commanded No. 9 Squadron Griffins in the war. He directed his pilots in an extremely professional manner and maintained the high morale of Squadron. In addition, Middlecoat flew 17 air defense sorties and three photo investigation missions over forward Indian airbases during the three-week war. He was awarded the Sitara-i-Jurat, for his leadership and devotion to duty.

At the outbreak of war on 3 December 1971 Middlecoat was in Egypt on a training. He moved to Pakistan immediately. He joined operations with such a deep interest that he motivated all the squadron pilots. Middlecoat was one of the six strike command officers who were carefully chosen to conduct the aerial operation “Amritsar Radar”. The day after his return, he was selected to attack the profoundly defended Indian airbase at Jamnagar on 12 December.

Middlecoat and his wingman were forced to terminate their mission after when they were bounced by two IAF MIG-21 aircraft from No. 47 Squadron IAF. Middlecoat speedily reduced altitude, and preserved a high speed. He succeeded to deflect the first missile, however, he was shot down over the Gulf of Kutch at a range of just 300 metres (330 yd). The Indian pilot Flight Lieutenant Bharat Bhushan Soni, who shot him down, contacted a nearby IAF base to send a rescue team when he saw Middlecoat eject into the Arabian Sea. But He was nowhere to be found when they reached the site. Middlecoat fell in shark infested waters and it doubtful that he lasted. He was subsequently awarded a Bar to the Sitara-i-Jurat after he was declared missing. His remains were never found afterwards.

Middlecoat was one of a number of distinguished Pakistani strike and fighter pilots of the period who gave away his life for Pakistan.