Colonel Prithipal Singh Gill (retd), a World War 2 veteran, who has the unique distinction of having served in all the three services of the military, the Royal Indian Air Force, Royal Indian Navy and the Indian Army during his career in uniform turns 100 today.
According to reports, Gill started his military life as a pilot in the British Royal Indian Air force in the year 1942 as a flight cadet in Karachi. However, his stint with the Air Force did not last long as his father who was concerned about his safety forced him to leave his flying ambitions. Next year, at the age of 23 Gill joined the Navy and served as a commissioned officer in the gunnery branch till 1948. In a 2019 interview, Gill told that “During World War II, I used to undertake escort duties for maritime convoys proceeding from the Indian mainland to the Persian Gulf.”
Two years after leaving the Navy, Gill joined the Indian Army in the Regiment of Artillery and retired as a Colonel in 1970. During his service, Gill served in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and the North-East, before hanging up his boots as a Sector Commander in Imphal. Enjoying good physical and mental faculties even at this advanced age, Colonel Gill had an impish smile when asked the secret of his longevity. “It is rare and it is a secret,” he said. Colonel Gill retired to farming at his native village in Faridkot in Punjab.