Inspirer Today

The Fighter Pilot, Air Marshal Denzil Keelor who Flew with Pride

Air Marshal Denzil Keelor (Image Source)

Quick Facts

  • Name: Denzil Keelor
  • Also Known As: Air Marshal Denzil Joseph Keelor
  • Famous As: War Hero
  • Birth Date: 7 December 1933
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Birth Place: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
  • Awards: Veer Chakra (1965), Kirti Chakra (1978), Ati Vishist Seva Medal (1986), Param Vishist Seva Medal (1989)


War hero Air Marshal Denzil Keelor is our pride for the valor, which he showed in Indo-Pak war in 1965 as a fighter pilot. He is also known for his control and great expertise in flying aircrafts.

Early Life of the hero

On 7th December 1933 Lucknow, which was then ruled by the British, saw the birth of one of the bravest fighters of India Denzil Keelor. He completed his early study in St. Francis College and La Martiniere in Lucknow. He had a young brother named Trevor Keelor. Both the brothers shoot down Pakistani Sabre Jet. So, both of them got the prestigious award of Veer Chakra for the same reason. This was the first time ever when two brothers received the same award for their same deed.

Joining the Air force at will

Image Source

Denzil joined Air Force in 7th December 1933 and with his talent and dedication, he rose up to the rank of Air Marshal. On the 19th of September in 1965, Denzil was providing escort to Mystere aircraft. It was one of the strike missions which were among the operations against Pakistan. The section of four Gnat aircraft including Denzil Keelor were attacked by four Sabre Jet aircraft of enemies. The battle was not fought that high as the height was below 2000 feet.

Denzil and his team were surrounded and also they were in the range of anti-aircraft guns, so they were a big-time target. But they started to fight back under the guidance of this fierce fighter pilot. A Sabre jet was shot down with his expert instruction. Then he himself got engaged with another Sabre jet and shot it down too.

During the whole operation they knew that they are outnumbered but Denzil was inspiring the team whole time. The inspiration paid off and they were victorious. This feat was so amazing that Denzil received a Veer Chakra for it. Not only him but his brother won the same award making it two in a family and it is a record itself.

Heroism of the Fighter Pilot

Image Source

Now again on 27th March Capt. Keelor, who has a great experience of combat and destruction of Pakistani Sabre Jet, was flying a Mig-21 U trainer. But there was a structural failure so the canopy got detached and the aircraft flew off. Cpt. Lost the control of the aircraft but with the vast experience he got, he soon understood the situation and controlled the aircraft. He flew it back and not only that executed an emergency landing even without a canopy. His aircraft was later got damaged on 17th may 1978 with shell explosion and he again landed it safely to show his expertise in flying aircrafts.

Air Marshal Denzil Joseph Keelor retired in the year 1991. He worked for 10 years as the president of YMCA after his retirement. He was chosen as the chairman of the event Special Olympics Bharat.

Awards got for his talent

Due to his amazing showcase of bravery in his career, Denzil Keelor got a few awards to his name.

  • He got Veer Chakra in 1965.


  • In 1978 he was awarded with the Kirti Chakra for his exploits in war.


  • He got Ati Vishist Seva Medal in the year 1986.


  • Param Vishist Seva Medal in the year 1989.

The vision of Denzil Keelor

Air Marshal Denzil Joseph Keelor, who is still thought of being one of the best fighter pilots of India, is a proud son of India. His motto was not only to serve his motherland but create fear among its enemies who now think twice before attacking India.


Written By: Hetal Kabra


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