War hero: Cecil Chaudhry passes away at 70

Published: April 13, 2012
Following his decorated career in the air force, Cecil Chaudhry developed a reputation for his work as an educationist and an outspoken activist. PHOTO: FILE

Following his decorated career in the air force, Cecil Chaudhry developed a reputation for his work as an educationist and an outspoken activist. PHOTO: FILE

Then Flight Lieutenant Cecil Chaudhry. PHOTO: PAF ARCHIVES Then Flight Lieutenant Cecil Chaudhry being interviewed by the media during hte 1965 Pakistan-India war in which he had claim air-to-air kills. PHOTO: PAF ARCHIVES Following his decorated career in the air force, Cecil Chaudhry developed a reputation for his work as an educationist and an outspoken activist. PHOTO: FILE

Decorated war hero, educationist and rights activist Cecil Chaudhry passed away on Friday at the age of 70, Express News reported.

A veteran fighter pilot, Chaudhry was battling lung cancer since 2011 and was put on life support on April 11 as he was in terminal stage of the disease.


Chaudhry was schooled at St Anthony’s High School and is an alumnus of the Forman’s Christian College. He joined the Pakistan Air Force Academy in 1958, where he studied aeronautics and mechanical engineering. It was as a pilot that Chaudhry developed his legacy as national hero for several flight missions including the 1965 and 1971 wars for which he received a Sitara-e-Jurat and Sitara-i-Basalat.

Following his decorated career in the air force, Chaudhry developed a reputation for his work as an educationist and an outspoken activist.

He served as the principal of St Anthony’s High School in Lahore and St Mary’s Academy Lalazar, Rawalpindi.

Correction: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated that Chaudhry received a Tamgha-e-Jurat, instead of Sitara-i-Basalat. The error has been rectified.

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Reader Comments (73)

  • Imran Mohammad
    Apr 13, 2012 - 5:40PM

    Very Sad to hear. May he rests in peace. He was a true Air Force hero who inspired a whole generation of fighter pilots. God bless you and may you rest in peace , sir.


  • Apr 13, 2012 - 5:44PM

    Rest in peace


  • Saad
    Apr 13, 2012 - 5:45PM

    I loved the time when people from all faiths were appreciated and honored in Pakistan. Why can’t we have that anymore? Rest in peace Cecil…..


  • Javaid R. Shami
    Apr 13, 2012 - 5:54PM

    Group Captain was one’s of the true heroes of Pakistan. May he rest in peace.


  • Saint Marian
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:11PM

    Sir Cecil, You will be missed alot.Recommend

  • K Niaz
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:22PM

    Sad to hear the passing of a great man. We are loosing them one by one at a time we needed them most. Rest in Peace Sir, and hopefully you will continued be remembered as a national hero


  • Uza Syed
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:36PM

    Let the mullah-brigade take note of the services this national hero rendred—-one such great man equals a million useless fundos. RIP —– Pakistan is proud of you as one of its great sons.


  • Christina Razi Khan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:42PM

    Sir Cecil Ch was a real war hero and a great educationist and a social worker.He always supported the Christian community in their hour of need. He will be missed greatly by all who knew him. May his soul rest in Eternal Peace.


  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:57PM

    I remember him from our college days at F C College, Lahore. Rest in peace dear friend. God bless you.


  • Apr 13, 2012 - 6:57PM

    He was one of the best students of St. Anthony’s High School Lahore – studied with my Father (late) in 50s. I miss him more – as he being the Principal of my only School – St. Anthony’s High School for more than a decade. He has been my greatest inpiration.
    Pakistan is proud of such Heros….
    Sir Cecil – you have rendered so much to your country and to us. You have made us students, what we are today and I feel proud to be an Anthonion. Pakistan Solutes you.
    You will be missed a lot..
    ” Anthonions Forever ”
    May your Soul REST IN PEACE….

    Ali Hussain
    St. Anthony’s High School
    1992 – 2004 — O-Level


  • Acorn Guts
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:59PM

    RIP Cecil Chaudhry. An exceptional man and a truly inspirational pilot. Certainly one of my early childhood heroes. What a legacy you’ve left behind!


  • Akif A Khan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 7:03PM

    He was a great and widely respected person. Excellent orator, extremely disciplined and one whom even the most potent bullies of school feared.
    It weighs heavy on heart to hear this…Allah inki maghfarat farmaye, ameen!


    Apr 13, 2012 - 7:15PM

    I have fought two wars for country and i will fight hundred wars for terrorism.

    Cecil Chaudhry

  • Apr 13, 2012 - 7:18PM

    We salute him, respectfully.


  • Anthonian
    Apr 13, 2012 - 7:26PM

    May he RIP.


  • Abdullah Khan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 7:40PM

    Salute to a great Pakistani hero.


  • Blue Devil
    Apr 13, 2012 - 7:42PM

    A great man and remarkable leader. I had the fortune of studying under his stewardship at St, Anthony’s. My thoughts and prayers with the family.


  • SaneVoice
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:03PM

    I had the priviledge of studying under his stewardship at Saint Anthony’s, he was true and an inspirational leader. May his sould Rest in Peace…..


  • Yousaf Farhat
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:08PM

    It was sad to hear the passaing away of Mr. Cecil Chaudhry who was the pride of Christian Community and a very patriotric Pakistani who loved and defended his country Pakistan. His services and sacrifices to the country are very much appreciated. I salute him for being an inspritaion to too many of us. May God Almighty grant His divine peace to his family.


  • uzair farooqi
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:21PM

    rest in peace sir! u’ve been one great principal…


  • Ammar anthonian
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:26PM

    I’M really proud that i completed my schooling from st.anthony during your Era…. really really miss u sir… i salute u… u r a real pakistani hero sir… RIP


  • vigilant
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:31PM

    Rest in peace…


  • Truth Seeker
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:32PM

    Sir, you will always be remembered as a great patriot and inspirational Pilot of Pakistan Air Force. Pakistani nation salutes you for your heroic services to the nation. May God bless you and rest your soul in eternal peace.


  • Syed Awais
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:42PM

    RIP Chaudhry Sahib! Anthonians will never forget your contribution to their school.


  • Sharjeel Jawaid, Karachi, Pakistan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:55PM

    Soldier and citizen who made us proud!

    May his soul rest in peace!


  • hammi
    Apr 13, 2012 - 8:56PM

    All Pakistan is Proud of you.
    This is a great lost for Our Nation, to loss Sir Cecil Chaoudry who was an inspiring personality for all the students of St. Anthony’s High School Lahore and the Pakistan Air force.
    I can still remember him walking around in school corridor.
    Sir we all ANTHONIANS are proud to be your student and thankful what you made us.

    Hamad Hhmad
    St Anthony’s High School Lahore
    1989-2000- O-Level


  • Pakistani Muslim
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:02PM

    I hereby SALUTE you SIR,……..


  • Apr 13, 2012 - 9:37PM

    Cecil Chaudhry was an amazing man. A complete gentleman who even the brutes of St. Anthony’s respected .. at least somewhere deep down. Most of us had no idea of his achievements or more accurately sacrifices and courage; as he never really put them out there. And in a world and country where even a man not worth two cents likes to put his “PRESS” or any symbol of power and achievement out there… he earned respect by just being who he was.

    I also had the opportunity to attend his daughters wedding where I got a chance to see that he was more than just the strict, hard faced college principal we thought it was. He was also a loving father, husband… and a man who so many looked up to as an inspiration and not just in the Christian community.

    He was the “dilemma” that forced me and many others at a very young age to reevaluate how we saw Pakistan and its minorities. He will be missed.


  • ProudPakistani
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:44PM

    Rest in peace…!!


  • Wasif M. Khan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:01PM

    The swashbuckling fighter pilot who flew on that ill planned but gallant mission on which Sarfaraz Rafiqui embraced Shahadat and inspired so many to greater courage and audacity. Gp Capt Cecil rolled out the red carpet for us in 1993 when 4 of us ex-Anthonians and now LUMS faculty were specially invited to visit the school where we learned the values that held us so firmly through thick and thin.
    He was still the super confident figure almost brimming with hubris and he and I had a most interesting chat on the number of his aerial kills.

    I am so proud that he continued his courageous fight against tyranny by representing our abused minorities as best as he could. He will be sorely missed and may he continue his good work as his spirit rests in heaven.

    Just a correction: Gp Capt Chaudhry received the SJ and Bar (possibly also an S.Bt) and not an S J and a TJ


  • sami akmal
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:04PM

    RIP. what a loss 2 the nation. he was such a special person, a hero , such a larger than life figure that no words can describe how sorry i am for the loss. Mr.Cecil will be greatly missed. my thoughts r with his family during this difficult time. now more than ever we needed a man like to get this country back on course. but ,alas… Rest in peace, our hero.


  • Naeem Sadiq
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:05PM

    A very fine person, an inspiring pilot, a wonderful friend. May you rest in peace. Pakistan can be truly proud of you.Recommend

  • Syed Faisal
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:07PM

    May His Soul Rest in Peace


  • Syed Mohib Hassan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:11PM

    He was my school principle in Saint Marys Rawalpindi …had the honor to meet him personally….indeed he is a National Unsung Hero! Salute you sir.


  • Umer
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:24PM

    RIP sir,


  • Umer
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:26PM

    It wouldn’t hurt ET if you had Mentioned a little about his faith. Oh wait, that would ruin your crusade of making Pakistan look like a minority bashing state!


  • Riaz Khan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:46PM

    True Hero! We mourn your death.


  • Fahd Fayyaz
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:48PM

    He was truly a great person. I can still clearly remember his speeches (even his voice is resonating in side my head at the moment) and little pieces of advice he had for us when we were student back in St. Anthony’s High School.


  • Apr 13, 2012 - 11:11PM

    An absolute privilege to have met him in person. Pakistan will heavily feel this loss. Great man, our prayers are with you.


  • Awais
    Apr 13, 2012 - 11:37PM

    i have seen him as the principle of St Anthony’s high school till an uncle of a very close friend. an awesome personality and one of the few well dressed persons ive ever come across in my life. you will be missed uncle cecil.


  • Imran Munawar
    Apr 13, 2012 - 11:56PM

    seldom we come across people who through their infinite energy and radiance inspire us to be best at integrity, intelligence and yet ever so humble. Salute to the committed warrior of peace.


  • Apr 14, 2012 - 12:10AM

    Cecil Chaudhry was a great patriot. His services to the nation in it’s defense, education and the rights of Christians were exemplary. We have had the privilege of meeting him at S.C.M
    camp and later in Peshawar. We have lost a man with extra ordinary qualities. Our prayers and condolences with his family.


  • Shoaib Ali
    Apr 14, 2012 - 12:24AM

    May his soul rest in peace!


  • Matee Ullah Khan
    Apr 14, 2012 - 12:30AM

    A Great War Hero. A Man Of Principles. May His Soul Rest In Peace.


  • Khuldun
    Apr 14, 2012 - 12:35AM

    A great man indeed. Proud to have been an Anthonian when he was the principal. Rest in peace sir!


  • jan
    Apr 14, 2012 - 12:39AM

    I didnt know him but going through the comments it is quite evident that he was a great man… an inspiration to many… someone from the minority who contributed to the society and left a legacy of well wishers…

    To all other pakistanis… just read the comments above and get inspire by his life…



  • Parvez
    Apr 14, 2012 - 1:23AM

    I did not know him nor met him, but in casual talk when ever his name came up, words to the effect ‘ he was a class apart ‘ or ‘ they stopped making them like him long ago ‘ or ‘ there are a very few made from the same metal as Cecil ‘, told me much about this hero.


  • Noble Tufail
    Apr 14, 2012 - 1:37AM

    Salute you sir. May You rest in peace.


  • Max
    Apr 14, 2012 - 1:43AM

    Please make another correction. He was recepient of “SITRA JURRAT” and not Tamgha Jurrat.
    Rest in peace Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry.


  • Ghazala
    Apr 14, 2012 - 1:55AM

    Rest in eternal peace Group Capt. Cecil Choudhry, along with your illustrious father, Barre Choudhry Sahib. Didn’t know father and son personally, but my generation still knew both of them, no matter where we lived— Father, from his wonderful career as a media man, and a photographer per excellance, son as a proud defender of the nation. May both be blessed eternally!


  • Usman
    Apr 14, 2012 - 2:31AM

    May he rest in peace. What a remarkable man and personality. I remember from our junior school days in St Anthony’s, the commanding voice he had and disciplined he used to enforce on all of us… We have lost a treasure today.


  • Hossein
    Apr 14, 2012 - 2:38AM

    This guy deserves every honor there is in Pakistan


  • Wasif Arshad
    Apr 14, 2012 - 2:54AM

    May he be blessed with Jannat


  • jock
    Apr 14, 2012 - 3:11AM

    Fly free, sir.


  • Faesal
    Apr 14, 2012 - 4:19AM

    Always heard good things about him. A true patriot, Pakistan is proud to have had him and we are very sad on the demise of this great man

    Thank you for the services you rendered to this nation. Thank you from bottom of my heart. I hope and pray thousands more patriots like you are born on this day. Thank you again


  • Haider Ali
    Apr 14, 2012 - 4:52AM

    Sir Cecil Chaudhry you will surely be missed.


  • Atif Bilal jadoon
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:13AM

    May his soul rest in peace.a remarkable man with a great personality.one of the best principal I ever had.and I am the luckiest person to be his student in st’anthonys collage.i will never forget his these verses “jadoon,it’s last warning for u”


  • naeem khan
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:29AM

    May God rest your soul in peace.Thank you for serving the nation.


  • Amer Qureshi
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:42AM

    I am a very close friend of Mr. Cecil Chaudhry family. I had the pleasure of spending some time with him when he visited Maryland about 15 years ago. He was an amazing person and a true gentleman. Person of his stature is born once in a blue moon. May God rest his soul in peace.


  • Bilal
    Apr 14, 2012 - 8:43AM

    you will be missed sir!!!! infact the whole of Saint Mary’s will. RIP


  • Umar Pervaiz
    Apr 14, 2012 - 10:05AM

    Rest in Peace Sir.. You will be Missed.. Proud to be An Anthonian..


  • Haroon
    Apr 14, 2012 - 10:42AM

    Its really sad news and he was symbol of bravery. May his rest in peace


  • rashid khan
    Apr 14, 2012 - 3:50PM

    They don’t raise them like him anymore.
    Cecil’s death is Pakistan’s loss more so for a force that refused to acknowledge his worth.
    A true patriot who refused to seek the refuge of the greener pastures in foreign lands whereas others who claimed a deeper affiliation to Pakistan on religious grounds of religion did not spare a moment’s thought to pack up and leave when things never went their way.
    Cecil refused to be cowed down by disappointment and slightest setbacks; he stood for all the considered right and truthful.
    He was a true soldier, a loving father and husband and good human being.
    There was never a dull moment in his company.
    He was lost in the dark tide of mediocrity, hypocrisy and charlatanry.
    His sense of humour and wit will be missed.


  • Irfan Javaid Butt
    Apr 14, 2012 - 5:52PM

    Sir U made Anthonians Proud. I am proud to be an anthonian. U will be missed alot. Hates Off to u Sir.


  • Saad
    Apr 14, 2012 - 9:00PM

    A respectable and an honourable man, I am a Saint Marian of which sir cecil chaudry was the principal i really was impressed by his personality, May his soul rest in peace, A big solute to the pakistani hero.


  • Rehan
    Apr 14, 2012 - 9:40PM

    May You Rest in Peace Sir…We Salute You


  • Apr 15, 2012 - 1:10AM

    rest in peace sir…..u r an epic….im not using the word ‘were’ because its well said heroes never die…..u r and u will be alive in our memories and in our good deeds……anthonians r proud of u:)


  • muhamed shahbaz
    Apr 15, 2012 - 10:52AM

    strong texthe must be awarded a medal of great educationest GOD MAY BLESS HIM


  • Eesha
    Apr 15, 2012 - 4:59PM

    I salute to a Hero of the nation may his soul rest in peace


  • Yamine Farhatt
    Apr 15, 2012 - 11:47PM

    Cecil was truly one who led by example, and will be remembered by many as is reflected in the tributes from so many, as a soldier, scholar and educator.
    May God grant you, your place with all his saints and May Light Eternal Shine on the soul of the departed.


  • Faisal
    Apr 16, 2012 - 1:03AM

    @ Ghazala: my father not only learned the art of photography from Barre Chaudhry, he and Cecil studied together at St. Anthony and joined the Air Force together.
    I feel quite sad for both Cecil and my father, who has lost a very close friend.
    Cecil, you shall missed immensely.


  • Hassan
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:54AM

    A sad day for the nation.

    He was amongst the legends of the PAF and form the elite group of “best of the best”. There and just a handful of names in his category in the history of pakistan.

    You were my childhood hero Sir Cecil, along with MM Alam, Rashid minhas and Rafiqui. And will remain so. RIP.


  • muhammad hikmatyar
    Apr 18, 2012 - 2:35AM

    Its a tragic moment.
    You’ll be remembered as a national hero sir!
    Rest In Peace.

    Hashir,Awais,Ali and Hikmatyar, Mrs and
    Mr Tariq.


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