Col Prithipal Singh Gill (Retd) turns 100: Only man to serve all three armed forces


Chandigarh: Col Prithipal Singh Gill (retd), the only officer who served in the country’s all three armed forces, turned 100 on Friday. His wife, Preminder Kaur, is 93 years old.

Colonel Gill, who lives in the city, started his military career in the pre-World War II era as a pilot in the Royal Indian Air Force.

He then sailed the high seas with the Indian Navy and later was a gunner (artillery officer) in the Indian Army.Serving during World War II and the 1965 India-Pakistan war, Gill was a Sector Commander with the Assam Rifles in Manipur when he retired.

Greeting the veteran, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, also an ex-serviceman, tweeted: “Congratulate Col Prithipal Singh Gill who turns 100 today.

“He bears the unique distinction of having served in all the three Armed Forces. Sir, wish you many more years of good health and may you continue to always inspire all of us.”

“Col Prithipal Singh Gill (without family consent) joined the Royal Indian Air Force and was commissioned as Pilot Officer stationed at Karachi, flying Howard aircrafts,” Lt Gen. K.J. Singh (retd), a former Western Army chief, said on Twitter.

Colonel Gill served on a minesweeping ship and INS Teer. He was also part of a Navy escort team for cargo ships during World War II.

He even trained at the School of Artillery in Deolali and was posted to the Gwalior Mountain Battery. He “raised and Commanded 71 Med Regt in 1965 war”, said Lt General Singh.”

After an exceptional career in the Air Force, Indian Navy and the Indian Army, Colonel Gill retired to farming at his native village in Faridkot,” he added.

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