Colonel Prithipal Singh Gill (retired), the only officer to have served in the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force, celebrated his 100th birthday on Friday. The retired officer served in World War II and the India-Pakistan war in 1965

Colonel Gill was born in 1920 in Patiala and went on to study at Government College in Lahore. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1942 and was commissioned as Pilot Officer. He then joined the Indian Navy and served on the high seas. 

Finally, he was designated as a Gunner Officer with the Indian Army. He retired as a Sector Commander with the Assam Rifles in Manipur.

On the occasion of his 100th birthday, netizens wished the veteran on social media. Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh tweeted his wishes for the colonel. “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.”

Lieutenant General (retired) KJ Singh also wished Colonel Gill on Twitter telling the veteran officer’s exceptional military journey. “Col Prithipal Singh Gill (without family consent) joined the Royal Indian Air Force and was commissioned as Pilot Officer stationed at Karachi, flying Howard aircraft.” His Air Force career came to an end after his father forced him to leave due to safety concerns.

Colonel Gill was born in pre-Independent India’s Patiala in 1920 and started taking flying lessons at Walton Aerodrome in Lahore, earning his flying license. He later joined the Royal Indian Air Force but was withdrawn from training by his father Major Harpal Singh Gill because the family feared for his safety. 

Thereafter, he joined the Navy and served on a minesweeper INS Teer, escorting cargo ships on the rough seas during World War II. After Independence, he moved on to the Army and was keen on serving in the Sikh regiment, where three generations of his family had served before. However, he was alloted the Gwalior Mountain Battery due to his gunnery experience at the Navy.

Colonel Gill went on to serve at 34 Medium Regiment and later raised and commanded the 71 Medium Regiment. He served as the commander of the 71 Medium Regiment during the Indo-Pak War of 1965, serving at Sialkot. He was promoted to his final rank in the Army, that of a Colonel while serving with the Assam rifles at Ukhrul in Manipur, and retired from the armed forces at the age of 70


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