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SOURCE: Hindustan Times

The Indian Air Force (IAF) marks November 22 as Boyra Day when the first-ever aerial dogfight between Indian and Pakistani air forces erupted on this day decades ago. IAF on Sunday remembered the Battle of Boyra that took place on November 22, 1971.

“The first aerial engagement between IAF&PAF in the buildup to 1971 war took place on 22 Nov, when IAF Gnats intercepted PAF Sabres over Boyra. In the ensuing dogfight, three PAF Sabres were claimed by the IAF Gnats, with two crashing in Indian territory,” IAF tweeted.

The IAF also said that 22 Squadron of the IAF was rechristened as Sabre Slayers and decorated with battle honours. “Three of its pilots, Flt Lt RA Massey, Flt Lt MA Ganapathy & Fg Offr D Lazarus were awarded #VirChakra for their role in the air battle,” it added.

Here’s all you need to know about Boyra Day:

1. On November 22, 1971, four Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Sabres intruded into Indian airspace in the eastern sector while providing support to the Pakistani ground units.

2. The IAF’s Gnats intercepted the Sabres and shot down three over the skies of Jessore in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). All the four aircraft or ‘Swifts’ (as they were called) of the Number 22 Squadron returned to base unscathed.

3. Two PAF pilots who ejected over India were captured and produced before a crowded press conference the next day.

4. The IAF heroes of Boyra dogfight were pilots Flight Lieutenant Roy Massey VrC, Flying Officer Donald Lazarus VrC, Flight Lieutenant MA Ganapathy VrC and Flight Lieutenant S Soares. The fighter controller during the engagement was Flight Lieutenant KB Bagchi VM.