Douglas King-Lee was commissioned as a pilot officer in the Indian Air Force (IAF) in November 1944. During WWII, the Indian Air Force (IAF) played an instrumental role in halting the Japanese advance in Burma. The IAF was mainly involved in strike, close air support, bomber escort and aerial reconnaissance for the RAF and USAAF. In recognition of valiant service, King George VI conferred the prefix “Royal” in 1945. India’s declaration as a Republic in 1950 returned its air force to the original Indian Air Force moniker.
Contact with King-Lee was graciously facilitated by Mr Adil Rana Chhina, son of Sqn Ldr Rana Chhina. A loose page from The Log Book (one of two pages making separate journeys) was dispatched from the UK to India. King-Lee prefers to allow his lifetime of distinguished achievements and service in the Indian Air Force speak for itself: he is a gentleman of few words.
King-Lee served over Burma during WWII flying against the Japanese while assigned to No. 8 Squadron IAF.
From January 1945, No. 8 served as a true fighter squadron equipped with Spitfire VIII’s. At the time there were very few Japanese aircraft in the air so for the remainder of the war the squadron resumed its earlier ground attack role.
Post war service
King-Lee would devote 37 years of his life to meritorious service in the IAF. His awards include the Ati Vishist Seva Medal and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal. He has commanded a Tactical Air Centre, an Air Defence Control Centre and an HQ Maritime Air Operations. Notable staff appointments include Air Adviser to the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh, Senior Air Staff Officer of Training Command and Commandant of the National Defence College.
King-Lee retired in 1983 as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of Eastern Air Command. His entry has added tremendous gravitas to The Log Book Project. During the process of obtaining his signature, he was gracious but deflective about his service. His response when prompted about WWII is typical of his modesty.
I’m afraid I have nothing much of interest to add to what you already have. I was a very very junior teenaged “sprog ” at that time though I had managed to log a number of hours on Hurricanes before converting onto Spit. 8’sAir Marshal King-Lee, PVSM, AVSM IAF (Retd)
Last Updated on 26 February 2021 by Nick Devaux