March 5, 2024


HarvardCoimbatore is a major town and district in the eastern part of Tamil Nadu. It adjoins the border with Kerala and is an important place as far as Air Force installations in Tamil Nadu are concerned. The Air Force Administrative College, No.5 Base Repair Depot, Air Force Station Sulur are all located in and around Coimbatore.

There are two airstrips commissioned during World War 2, Peelamedu and Sulur, Both providing facilities for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm Squadrons flying aircraft as diverse as the Barracuda, Hellcats, Hurricanes and Seafires. Peelamedu was decommissioned in 1946 along with Sulur. Today it acts as the Civlian airport of Coimbatore.

What is not known widely was that Coimbatore once had a Spitfire VIII as a gate guardian in the air force premises. The Initial Training Wing was located in Coimbatore in the late 40s, after it moved to here from Poona. The ITW was responsible for initial basic training to IAF flight cadets. The Spitfire was preserved on the premises to motivate the flight cadets, and going by the number of photographs it has appeared in, it has done its job well. However the final fate of the aircraft is a mystery, and it is believed to have been scrapped by 1949