Mr Hugh Catchpole Arrives
Mr Hugh Catchpole was born on 26 May, 1907, at Ipswich, a small town of a pretty rural county, Suffolk in England. He did his Masters in History from Oxford University. Before starting his career as a teacher he did some flying in the civil and played cricket for the Suffolk County Eleven. His enviable career in education spanned seven decades in the Subcontinent. He joined Prince of Wales' Royal Indian Military College, Dehra Dun (now Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) in 1928 as an Assistant Master and went on to become the Principal on 01 October, 1948. He stayed back at RIMC even after independence till his contract expired in 1954.
The first Pakistani Air Chief, Air Marshal Asghar Khan and his successor Air Marshal Nur Khan had been his students at RIMC. They requested him to come to Pakistan and become the founder Principal of Cadet College Hasan Abdal. He was still at Hasan Abdal when Air Marshal Asghar Khan handpicked him to join PAF Public School Sarghoda as Principal, in 1958. He stayed there till 1967 and then joined Abbottabad Public School as Head of English Department, a post he held till his very last. He died at the age of 90, on 01 February, 1997, at Combined Military Hospital, Rawalpindi. His funeral service held at Christ Church of Pakistan, Rawalpindi was attended by Rimcollians, Abdalians, Sargodhians, and Abbotonians, whose lives he had touched and profoundly transformed. His body was taken for burial to Cadet College Hasan Abdal in accordance to his will. When his body was being lowered into the grave, three buglers of the Pakistan Army sounded the Last Post. Mr Catchpole was buried with such honours as would be the envy of many.
Besides being an extraordinary educationist, Mr Catchpole was a humanist and philanthropist, who remained a bachelor throughout his life and financed many students' education with his scholarship funds in England, India and Pakistan. In his will he wished to donate all balances of his account to the institutions he had been associated with. Accordingly, all his life savings amounting to more than Rs.8 millions were distributed among Ipswich School, Suffolk, UK, Rashtriya Indian Military College Dehra Dun, Cadet College Hasan Abdal, PAF Public School Sargodha, and Abbottabad Public Schoo. Just 02 months before he died, he had to inaugurate a guest house named after him at Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehra Dun. He had given a generous endowment of Rs.1.5 million for the guest house and planned to shift there after retiring from Abbotabad Public School. However, life did not allow him to do so.
Honours of Mr Hugh Catchpole
Mr Hugh Catchpole was honoured twice by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth the Second (full name Elizabeth Alexandra Mary) of the United Kingdom. On 01 January, 1971, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). The British High Commissioner in Pakistan Sir Mac Rae did the honours. On 31 December, 1980, the Queen awarded him Commander's Badge of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) also called the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. On 22 July, 1981, Mr Hugh Catchpole went to Buckingham Palace to receive it personally from Her Majesty the Queen. His niece Helen Catchpole and her son Richard Dodwell accompanied him.
On 23 March, 1979, the President of Pakistan General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq conferred upon Mr Catchpole the award of "Sitara-i-Imtiaz" for his meritorious services in the field of education. Lieutenant General Fazle Haq (Late), his student from RIMC who was then Martial Law Administrator (Governor) NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtonkhwa) did the honours in an investiture ceremony held at Abbotabad Public School.
On 15 June, 2007, the President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf conferred upon Mr Catchpole the highest civil award of Pakistan "Hilal-i-Imtiaz" posthumous for his incomparable, selfless and single minded dedication to the cause of quality education in Pakistan. The award was received by his great nephew Mr William Catchpole.
Birth Centenary of a Legend (1907-2007)
The year 2007 marked the birth centenary of the legendary British teacher Mr Hugh Catchpole. On 26 May, 2007, Pakistan Post Office issued a commemorative stamp showing Mr Catchpole wearing "Sitara-i-Imtiaz" and "Commander's Badge of the Order of the British Empire". Same day a documentary "The Life and Times of Hugh Catchpole" directed and produced by Mr Mohammad Shafiq Sultan was also aired by the Pakistan Television. The documentary traced the life of Mr Catchpole through the words and memories of his students. Mr Wayne Christopher Hignett the then Principal PAF Public School Sargodha played Mr Catchpole in the documentary.
Four-day centenary celebrations were also held at Cadet College, Hasan Abdal from 11 to 14 June 2007. His student from PAF Public School Sargodha, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Ehsan-ul-Haq inaugurated the celebrations. On the occasion, a marble bust of Catchpole was unveiled; and a coffee table book "Hugh Catchpole of the Subcontinent"; written by his student from RIMC Commander (Retd) Arun Prakash Bhattacharya was released.
An Inspiration Unlimited
Hugh Cathpole's greatest contribution to the subcontinent is his students who went on to become high achievers in their respective professions. His students are spread across three nations: Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. Together they take pride in calling themselves "Catchpolians". The list of his old students reads like who's who of the defence forces of their countries.
In Pakistan his students from PAF Public School Sargodha include: General Ehsan ul Haq, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (2004 - 2007), General Ahsan Saleem Hyat, Vice Chief of Army Staff (2004 - 2007), and two Air Chiefs, Air Chief Marshals Kaleem Saadat (18 March 2003 - 18 March 2006) and Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed (18 March 2006 - 18 March 2009. In Bangladesh too General Moeen Uddin Ahmed, Chief of Army Staff (15 June 2005 - 15 June 2009) and three Air Chiefs: Air Vice Marshals Sultan Mehmood (23 July 1982 - 22 July 1987), Rafiqul Islam (04 June 2001 - 07 April 2002) and Fakhrul Azam (08 April 2002 - 07 April 2007) had been his students at PAF Public School Sargodha.
It is difficult to make out who was more proud; the students of Catchpole for being taught by him or Catchpole, for having taught boys who later on became so successful. Whatever may be the case, it is obvious that Hugh Catchpole was and would remain an inspiration unlimited.
Glider Training Starts
In 1960, the School formed No 6 Wing of Shaheen Air Training Corps (SATC) at PAF Base, Sargodha to train the students in gliding. Principal PAF Public School Sargodha Mr Hugh Catchpole was appointed the first Officer Commanding (OC) of the Wing. The glider instructors appointed were Flt Lt M I Beg and Flt Sgt Zahoor. 04 gliders were received from PAF Academy, Risalpur.
Former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committeee (CJSC) General Ehsan-ul-Haq always wore the "Glider Badge " on his uniform which he earned at PAF Public School, Sargodha. On 19 September, 2007 he paid his last official visit to the institution as CJSC. In his lively, informal chat with the young Sargodhians he said: "It took lots of gut to fly those gliders."
In fact the gliders used in sixtees were essentially human-powered aircraft (HAC). The crew comprised of three: One pilot; who would sit with joystick held with both hands and feet set on pedals; and two assistants; who would push the glider to add thrust while the pilot propelled with his legs.
Those gliders never took off under the pilot's pedal-power alone. An additional thrust by the assisting crew was always required. After the glider had lost touch with the ground the assistants would drop behind. However, the pilot would continue propelling with his legs while pulling on the wings to attain a reasonable height and experience lift from thermals, the rising air currents. The pilot had to do it fast enough to fly. It was as tough as riding a bicycle up a steep hill. Many would land physically exhausted.
Those fully human-powered flights were indeed a test of pilot's strength and stamina. Besides it required a good knowledge of aerodynamics to control the aircraft. The first batch of students successfully completing Glider Training was awarded Glider Badges by the C-in-C PAF Air Mrshal Asghar Khan on the Founder's day held on 18 December, 1960.
It is worth mentioning that none of Sargodhians lost his life during the September, 1965, war.
Revival of the Public School System
In 1990, a review of the PAF intake requirements was made, which highlighted the excellent contributions made by this College as a public school. It was, therefore, decided to revive the institution to its previous role of a public school, imparting education from class VIII to FSc to young boys who would join the PAF as fighter pilots and Aeronautical Engineers, and whose expenses would be borne by the PAF. Hence in 1990, the 94th GD (P) and 39 CAE courses became the last entries of aviation cadets to pass through PAF College Sargodha, to join PAF Academy Risalpur for further training.
On reopening of the College as a public school, all the eight student houses were renamed as Attacker, Falcon, Fury, Halifax , Mirage, Sabre, Starfighter, and Tempest. Two entries of 100 students each were inducted in the 8th and 9th classes in January, 1991.The entries were numbered as 23rd and 24th to mark continuation with 22nd, the last entry before transition. Later, the strength of the College was raised to 440.
Air Cdre Fareed Ali Shah (442-T), a former Sargodhian, was appointed as the Commandant to supervise the transition of PAF College Sargodha from a Degree Science College to a typical Public School from December 1987 to April 1991.He was followed by Air Cdre Bilal Ahmad Khan (461-F) from April 1991 to January 1993, and later by Air Cdre Imtiaz Hyder (457-T) from January 1993 to November 1993.
To achieve the objective of running PAF College Sargodha on the lines of a Public School system meeting the requirements of the military training doctrine, the Air Headquarters decided to appoint a very senior Sargodhian AVM (Retd) Raja Aftab Iqbal (119-F ) as Commandant of PAF College Sargodha. He took charge in November 1993 and continued to serve for a record period of eight years till November, 2001. During this time a number of projects were completed, providing the most modern training aids and implements for the College. These new additions included the latest WICOM language laboratory, a modern computer laboratory, an audio-visual room equipped with a multimedia projector, a well-built gymnasium and construction of new buildings for two student houses.
AVM (Retd) Raja Aftab Iqbal left the College in November 2001. His successor, another Sargodhian, Air Cdre (Retd) M Abdul Qadir Sargaana (T374-F), took over as Commandant in November, 2001. But soon the designation of Head of the Institution was renamed as the Principal. The present designation is more in keeping with the ethos of a Public School. The institution also resumed its old name of PAF Public School Sargodha. This name is more compatible with its envisaged role: the role of taking good care of the mental and physical growth of young shaheens, whose requirement at this stage is more of a humanistic education than of military regimentation .
Glider Training Resumes
Glider Training was resumed in 1993 by the then Commandant PAF College, Sargodha Air vice Marshal (Retd) Raja Aftab Iqbal. The functional control of Glider Training remained with the Commandant however; the operational control was shifted to OC No.38 Wing PAF Base, Sargodha.
The major boost was the induction of engine powered gliders. 04 SF-25 C Falke (SF: Manufacturer, Scheibe Flugzeugbau Falke: English, Falcon) German motor gliders were shifted from PAF Academy Risalpur to PAF Base, Sargodha. Of these Tail No 44143 needed major repair and was never used for training purposes. The 03 serviceable gliders Tail No 44140, Tail No 44141, Tail No 44142 were parked in Mirage periodic hangers.
SF-25 C Falke was a state of the art sail plane of its time. It had a forward fuselage with a large canopy and a two bladed propeller. It was a two-seat glider with dual control for the crew. Its 100 hp Rotax 912 S engine was fitted in its nose, and had an electric starter. Its nose wheel was almost double the size of tail wheel. It measured 7.6 m in length, weighed 335 Kg when empty, and had a wingspan of 15.33 m.
As regards its performance SF-25 C Falke could reach upto a speed of 190 km/h and fly upto 3 hours 30 minutes in a stretch. Its climb rate was 2 m/s and sink rate 1 m/s. Its maximum glide ratio was 22.
Gliding was introduced to the students of FSc Classes only. First year students were given theory classes only while second year students were given theory plus flying classes. All sorties were supervised by the Glider Instructor. No solo flying was given. Students were trained to do pre and post flight inspections and taxi out procedures. They were also given controls in air to develop a feel of being air born. However, take offs and landings were performed by the Glider Instructor himself.
Gliding was fun in the hectic routine of the School. Students would always talk lavishly about it on their return from the Base. By the end of 2001, 688 students had done glider training. But then being an old vintage glider, SF 25 C started giving recurrent maintenance problems. Eventually, it was decided that the glider training should be discontinued till the new gliders are purchased.
School History Room
The School History Room was the brainchild of AVM (Retd) Raja Aftab Iqbal who thought of preserving the glorious past of the School and highlighting the achievements of old and young Sargodhians. On 12 November, 1998, Sqn Ldr M Shahid Hafeez was appointed the Officer Incharge School History Project. He was assigned to compile the history of the School in association with Stenographer (Retd) Abdul Rashid, the first Pakistani employed at the School in 1953. Additionally, he was assigned to oversee the necessary renovation to build a History Room in the Hobbies Club. Two rooms were merged to create space, and show cases were built in the walls to display the assets. Old magazines and Newsletters of Royal Pakistan Air Force Public School times were brought in. Some shields and trophies including Chigwell Shield were also added to the Room. Besides, briefs of Commandants and Principals of the School, and some "Historical Firsts" were collected and engraved on steel plates to decorate the walls of History Room.
To further enrich the Room, letters were written to the concerned agencies, and retired and serving personnel of armed forces and civil service. Many of them responded positively and resultantly a lot of information was gathered. In this connection Sqn Ldr Shahid was also sent to attend Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of Military College, Jhelum (MCJ) from 19 to 20 November, 2000. The visit of MCJ Museum was made part of the celebrations. On his return from MCJ Sqn Ldr Shahid brought home some new ideas for displaying the historical assets. He suggested that the History Room may be expanded and divided into galleries for displaying various eras of the School on the pattern of MCJ Museum.
The first major contribution to the History Room came from the then Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Air Chief Marshal Farooq Feroze Khan (69-Fury). He sent his working uniform and loads of mementos and souvenirs which were presented to him by services and organizations inland and outside the country. He also sent his signed photograph in uniform for the History Room. Things kept pouring in and soon the History Room was packed to the capacity. Hence, it was decided that the History Room should be shifted to the Academic Block and expanded to accomodate ever increasing assets. Meanwhile Change of Command took place and Air Cdre (Retd) Abdul Qadir Sargaana took over as Principal in November, 2001. The decision of shifting and expanding the History Room was held in abeyance.
On 16 June, 2004, Sqn Ldr Shahid handed over the School History Room to Flight Lieutenant (now Squadron Leader) Sabahat Batool. It goes to her credit that she got the venue of History Room changed from Hobbies Club to the Academic Block. The Old Mathematics Lab was transformed with beautiful layout of glass showcases to serve the purpose. All important documents and memorable items of prominent Sargodhians were shifted. Now visit of the School History Room by dignitaries was a made a regular feature.
During the tenure of Air Cdre (Retd) Tayyab Naeem Akhtar, the School History Room was further expanded by merging the old Biology Lab and adjacent room. On Parents' Day held on 19 February, 2011, the expanded History Room was inaugurated by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman.
In the recent years some unique souvenirs have been added to the Room like uniforms of former Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat (697-Fury), Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Ehsan-ul-Haq (589-Fury) and IG Police, Bangladesh; Commemorative sword presented by General Ehsan and a dagger presented by the former Vice Chief of Army Staff General Ahsan Salim Hyat (447-Sabre) are also showcased there. Arun Prakash, the celebrated writer from India during his second visit to the School presented his coffee table book "Hugh Catchpole of the Subcontinent". The accompanying Commandant, Rashtria Indian Military College, Dehradun, Colonel Prem Parkash presented his College Crest to the School. All these souvenirs are on display in the History Room.
Rimcollians Visit the School
On 17 June, 2007, on their way back to India, the students of Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun (known as Rimcollians) along with their Principal and some of the staff paid a brief visit to PAF Public School Sargodha. The Old Rimcollian and writer of the book "Hugh Catchpole of the Sub Continent" Mr Arun Prakash accompanied. The contingent was in Pakistan in connection with Mr Hugh Catchpole's Centenary Celebrations held at Cadet College Hassan Abdal.
The Rimcollians were housed in Mirage House where they interacted with young Sargodhians. Surprisingly, both the sides found many aspects of their training and set up common. As Arun Parkash tells us: "I have come to the conclusion that the school in Uttarkhand has a veritable twin across the border in the plains of West Punjab. The only perceptible difference apparently is that buildings in PAF Public School Sargodha are red and that the campus reverberated with sounds of screaming jets in the air, whereas those in Rashtria Indian Military College, Dehradun are white and all one gets to hear are birdsongs every where one goes. Of course when jets fall silent birds come alive in Sargodha too."
Next day in the morning, the contingent was given a circular round of the campus and briefed about different departments of the School. The celebrated writer, Arun Prakash, presented his Coffee Table Book, "Hugh Catchpole of the Subcontinent" to the School. The Principals of the two institutions, also, exchanged souvenirs. With a hope to see more of each other in future, the visitors were seen off warmly.
Mr Hignett had to leave in December, 2010. However, a sudden change took place and Air Cdre (Retd) Tayyab Naeem Akhtar, SI (M) was appointed the Principal, PAF Public School Sargodha on 01 November, 2009. Like Mr Catchpole, he was handpicked for the School by the Air Headquarters while still serving as the Principal Cadet College Hasan Abdal. Air Cdre (Retd) Tayyab matriculated from our sister institution PAF Public School Lower Topa, Muree in 1964. He did his FSc Pre-Engineering from the reputed Government College Lahore and then joined GD(P) branch of PAF on 30 June, 1968. He had been an accomplished fighter pilot, who had flown almost all the aircraft held on the inventory of PAF including F-16.
The oratory serves as a light, a guide to those who cannot themselves make sense of the chaos and look to a leader to point the way. Greeks considered the mastery of oratory an essential part of being a well-rounded man. They considered it the highest art which encompassed all other disciplines. They used it to portray their noblest sentiments, stir passions and emotions, and inspire virtuous actions. In order to ignite a desire for learning the art of oratory in young Sargodhians an All Pakistan Declamation Contest (APDC) was held on 10 November 2010 after a break of more than 20 years.
The APDC was a mega event that involved a lot of planning and ground work. Different committees were set up with specific tasks assigned to them. A grand looking panaflex replica of one of the paintings of great aviation artist of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Group Captain (Retd) Hussaini, was prepared to adorn the entire backstage and the insignias of participating institutions were placed symmetrically to decorate the front walls of the stage.
The School played host to the representatives of 16 distinguished institutions from all over Pakistan. Attacker House being the School Declamation Champions for the year 2010-2011 was given the honour to conduct the English and Urdu round of speeches. Muhammad Umer (2834-A) conducted the English round whereas Muhammad Waleed Shams (2782-A)conducted the Urdu round.
There were moments of great oratory that had an appreciative audience clapping like thunder. Military College Jhelum lifted the trophy while PAF Academy Risalpur emerged the runners up. Air Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, HI (M), TBt, Vice Chief of the Air Staff graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. He encouraged the venture and hoped that the tradition would continue.
On 19 March 2003, another Sargodhian, Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat (697-F), joined the galaxy of four-stars and became Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force. On 20 March, 2006, Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed (767-F) became the third Furian to have reached the status of Chief of the Air Staff. Air Marshals Masood Hatif, Shafique Haider, Aliuddin, Shahid Zulfiqar, Saeed Anwar, Pervez Akhtar Nawaz, Sarfaraz Arshad Toor, Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, Arif Pervaiz, Masood Akhtar, Raashid Kaleem, Hifazat Ullah Khan and Tahir Rafique Butt are a few of the old boys who attained the three star status and formed a luminous chapter in the history of PAF Public School Sargodha. Amongst them Air Marshals Masood Hatif, Shafique Haider, Aliuddin, Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, Raashid Kaleem, Hifazat Ullah Khan and Tahir Rafique Butt have the distinction of becoming Vice Chiefs of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force.
On 18 March, 2009, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, HI (M), S Bt (851-Sabre/Rafiqui) was designated as the new Chief of the Air Staff, Pkaistan Air Force. He joined PAF Public School Sargodha through 17th Entry in 1967 and passed out in 1973. On 04 October, 2010, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman was succeeded by yet another Sargodhian, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt (895-Sabre/Rafiqui). The later joined PAF Public School Sargodha through 18th Entry in 1968 and passed out in 1977. His was the first entry that did its B Sc from the institution. He is the second consecutive Sabrite to have risen to the status of Chief of the Air Staff. During his stay at the School he led his house dynamically as a House Captain and Squadron Under Officer. His career progressed from strength to strength after joining Pakistan Air Force in 1977. He has been decorated with the awards of Nishan-i- Imtiaz(Military), Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military), Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Military)and Tamgha-i-Basalat for his meritorious and dedicated services.
Also, in Pakistan Army Sargodhians have kept up their exalted record of excellence and proved that their quest for the extra ordinary is their ordinary business. General Ahsan Salim Hyat (447-S) and General Ehsanul Haq (589-F) rose to the coveted rank of four star General on 7 October, 2004 and were appointed as Vice Chief of the Army Staff and the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee respectively. Additionally, Lt Gen G M Malik (57-A), Lt Gen Humayun Bangash (102-S), Lt Gen Khalid Ahmed Kidwai (615-S) Lt Gen Arif Hayat Malik and Lt Gen Safdar Hussain are some of the inspiring Sargodhians whose glorious achievements the young lot would love to emulate if destiny desired so.
Sargodhians in Bangladesh too have added proud feathers to their alma mater. Four of them, AVM (Retd) Sultan Mahmood (267-F), AVM (Retd) Mumtazuddin Ahmed (295-T), AVM (Retd) Rafiq-ul-Islam (693-T) have the distinction of being the former Air Chiefs of Bangladesh Air Force while AVM Fakhr-ul-Azam (694-T) is the present Air Chief. Maj Gen Amjad Khan Chaudhry (61-A), Maj Gen Muzzamil (65-F), and Maj Gen Moeenuddin Ahmed (815-F) are few other Sargodhians who have risen to prominent positions in Bangladesh Army. Maj Gen Moeen was elevated to the rank of Lt Gen and appointed as the Chief of Army Staff, Bangladesh Army on 15 June, 2005. He later on added one more star to his uniform. He is the first Army Chief to have risen to the status of four-star General in Bangladesh.