Service No: 8678 F(P)
Date of Birth : March 10, 1945
Service: Air Force
Last Rank: Flight Lieutenant
UNIT: 8 TAC Center
Award : VrC
Date of Martyrdom : Dec 14, 1971
Lawrence Frederic Pereira was born in Bandra, Bombay on 10th June 1945, his parents were Shri DH Pereira and mother Smt Sophie Pereira. Frederic Pereira was the second son among six siblings, Frederic was called “Lawrie” by his friends and family. On 12th September 1970 Frederic got married to Isabelle.
His early years were spent in Goa, where he lived with his uncle and aunt and studied in St Pauls High School , Belgaum . Lawrie completed his education in St Stanislaus School , Bombay. His school, St Stanislaus, is very proud as four of its students joined the IAF and were selected as the fighter pilots.
On 10th March 1963 Frederic started his basic training in the IAF at air force administrative collage in Coimbatore. He was commissioned on the 10th August 1964, in the 80/90th Pilots course. Lawrie attended several training programs, courses and posting.The first posting to a fighter squadron after his commissioning was to No.220 Sqadorn at pune. He actively participated in 1965 war with pakistan. After this he was posted to a Gnat fighter unit.
In 1967 he met his future wife Isabelle who was in the Military Nursing Service and visiting her uncle and aunt on holiday in Ambala, he was a flying officer at the time. In 1968 he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and married on the 12th September 1970 while still stationed in Ambala. In December of the same year he was sent to Bareilly to do a conversion course on the Sukhoi- 7 and on completion of the course he was posted to Adampur. Laurie was now on the posted strength of No.26 Squadron, IAF. On the 13th September 1971 he became the proud father to his daughter Nicole Annabelle.
Indo-Pak War: Dec 1971
Laurie was deputed as Forward Air Controller with the 2nd Independent Armoured Brigade a powerful tank unit equipped with T55 tanks. Laurie was the dashing young officer who captured the hearts of the brigade right from the first day of his deputation, he was loved for his warm and generous character and got on fabulously with the crew and fellow officers.
On 4th December, necessary operation orders were issued for the brigade and the leading elements, Skinner’s Horse along with the 1st Dogras debouched in the evening, crossing the international border near the village of Chak Amru. The brigade’s other two tank regiments, 7th Cavalry and The Scinde Horse, also advanced into Pakistan to deploy for battle. The 1st Corps’ objective was Shakargarh and as battle was joined, the Western Front became truly alive.
For the next few days Laurie was like a man possessed – he was here, there, everywhere. With no consideration for his safety, he would go right up ahead with the front tanks or rush off to a flank in his vehicle, communicating with the IAF’s Sukhois and directing them to strafe Pakistani tanks day in and day out. He was indefatigable in his zeal ! Courtesy his deep involvement the air support that the unit got from the IAF was incomparable. The brigade suffered quite a few casualties but it pressed on regardless till it reached the outskirts of Shakargarh.
On the 14th December 1971 while performing his duties, Laurie Pereira was hit by enemy bullets, when an enemy aircraft strafed the brigade location which was at Shakargarh in Pakistan. The brigade Commander’s tank with him inside it had been strafed by the MIGs. He was unhurt but Laurie, who had been standing next to him beside the turret trying to manage some Sukhois, took a burst of cannon fire on his chest. He was evacuated, but succumbed to his injuries. He was 26. Laurie’s dying words were , “ tell my little girl (his wife Isabelle ) to be brave”.
Flt Lt Pereira was buried in the RA (Royal Artillery) Cemetery, Garha Road, Jalandhar Cantt with full military honours on 15th Dec 1971.
He was awarded Vir Chakra posthumously for his courage, devotion to duty and the supreme sacrifice made by him.
The Citation of Vir Chakra reads him to : During the operations against Pakistan in December 1971- Flight Lieutenant Lawrence Fredric Pereira was employed on forward air controller duties with an army brigade in a forward area- He was required to direct close air support aircraft to enemy targets from forward locations- His directions were responsible for many successful attacks by our aircraft on enemy concentrations- On 14 December- while on duty in a forward locality- he was hit by enemy fire and died- Throughout- Flight Lieutenant Pereira displayed gallantry- determination and devotion to duty of a high order.
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