The Flying Sikh (Hardback)
The Story of a WW1 Fighter Pilot – Flying Officer Hardit Singh Malik
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The Flying Sikh tells the unique story of the only Sikh airman to fly with the RFC and the RAF during the First World War. It is the remarkable account of one man’s struggle to enlist, against discrimination, and then his service as a fighter pilot over the battlefields of Flanders.
This book represents the only detailed study of an Indian national enlisting in Britain’s armed forces during the First World War. It is an account of India’s role in the war; the rise of Indian nationalism and the challenges of Indians to take up the status of a commissioned officer in His Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Malik started his new life in Britain as a fourteen-year-old public school boy, who progressed to Balliol College, Oxford, before attempting to join the Royal Flying Corps after graduation with friends from university, but was denied a commission. Keen to participate in the war, he served with the French Red Cross in 1916 as an ambulance driver and then offered his services to the French air force. Ultimately, one of his Oxford tutors wrote on Malik’s behalf to General David Henderson, the former head of the RFC, and secured Malik a cadetship
Above all though, it is the story of a man who was a county cricketer who played for Sussex and Oxford University, an outstanding golfer and fighter pilot who fought over Passchendaele in the autumn of 1917. Being a devout Sikh, he wore a specially designed flying helmet that fitted over his turban.
Malik claimed two kills until he was shot down, crashing unconscious to the ground behind Allied lines. His Sopwith Camel was riddled with over 400 bullet holes. Malik was only one of a small number of Indian nationals who served with the RAF during the war.
In later life, Malik became the first Indian High Commissioner to Canada, and then served as the Indian Ambassador to France.
The flying Sikh tells the story of Hardit Singh Malik, one of the very few India nationals to fly with the RFC.Great War IPMS Newsletter, Cher Ami - December 2022
Hardit Singh Malik deserves a place in history. This book depicts him as a shining example of somebody who has worked hard to fit in to a different world, who was tolerant of others with different values than his own and above all as somebody who knew no boundaries.
The book itself is well written. The author obviously has a genuine interest in the subject and this shows throughout the narrative. I found the book a fascinating insight into the life of a man that I had very little knowledge of until I picked up this book.
As Featured in.Stand To! The Western Front Association
October 2022 Edition.
"Camel enthusiasts will no doubt find reading the book well worth the effort."Cross and Cockade
The Flying Sikh: The Story of a WW 1 Fighter Pilot - Flying Officer Hardit Singh Malik is a well-rounded, fact-laden account and is recommended highly.Over the Front - Autumn 2022 issue
Competition as featured inRAF News
This man is the kind of character who might have figured largely in Frank Richards's schoolboy stories - Hardit Singh Malik is a larger than life character straight from the pages of the Boys' Own Paper, and his daring and incredible exploits make for a totally fascinating read.Books Monthly
"...highly recommended as the military biography of an interesting young man who battled discrimination and difficulty with good humor and poise. It is also a good overview of the history of British-Indian relations, at least as regards the military of the period."Roads to the Great War, July 2022
Featured in:Cher Ami, GWSIG Newsletter – International Plastic Modellers Society (UK) – March 2021