|A slightly better resolution image of the Gnat and Statue at Ludhiana. As of 2011, both the aircraft and statue were said to have been moved elsewhere.|
|The HAL Gnat on display besides the Statue of Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon at the Collector's office in Ludhiana . Pic Courtesy : Tribune India|
Ludhiana is the district from where Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, the only IAF awardee of the Param Vir Chakra, India's Highest Gallantry Award hails from. In his honour, a Gnat is displayed alongside his statue at the District Collector's office at the 'mini-secretariat' in Ludhiana. The statue and aircraft were originally at Samrala Chowk before they were moved to teh Dist Collectors office to make way for development works in the year 2000.
Some years ago this warbird got into the news when a tipsy bypasser used its empty engine nacelle as a sleeping shelter and got stuck when he woke up in the morning! Lessons in letting the Engine Exhaust covers on even after retirement of an aircraft.
Every year a ceremony to mark the day of the fateful dogfight is marked here on December 14th. The aircraft and the memorial are given a cleaning by local Air Force units. There is also a tank believed to be on display at the Mini Secretariat.
In 2011, orders came to develop the mini park area to be a parking lot, and the Statue and aircraft were slated to be moved to the District Commissioners office.
Its current whereabouts are unknown. Can anyone give us the correct address - or even better tell us what the id of this aircraft is?
Update 11 Nov 2015 : The aircraft's identity can now be resolved as Gnat IE-1079. A photograph of the aircraft taken in 2013 has been uploaded in the wikimedia commons. The aircraft seems to be in its new location at the collectorate and its identity has been confirmed. This Gnat, IE-1079 is one of the direct supply examples from Folland (GT-009) and has served with No.23 Squadron Panthers during the 1965 war.