Feature Article

Fighter plane gift to British in WWI: diaspora mindset of Jaffna Tamils revisited

[TamilNet, Monday, 22 October 2012, 03:27 GMT]
On special requests sent to colonial communities by the British to support them in the war against Germany, on 22 Dec 1915, Jaffna Tamils living in Malaya, donated the cost of a fighter plane and named it “Jaffna,” says an informed source, adding that it shows the ‘characteristic of Eezham Tamils supporting the war efforts of guardians of safety, justice and economic prosperity.’ But almost during the time, poet Bharathi in Tamil Nadu welcomed the Russian Revolution of 1917. During WWII, a number of Eezham Tamils joined the Tamil Nadu Tamils in Malaya in supporting the Indian National Army of Subhas Chandra Bose, aligned with the Japanese. Some among them saw the imperialist games and joined the Malayan Communist Party led by Chinese in Malaya. What is the ideological course of the diaspora today, in response to the establishments-led genocide, ask Eezham Tamil activists in the island.

A historical note on ‘Jaffna’ fighter plane sent to TamilNet by the informed source:

F.E. 2b, Malaya Tamils' gift to the British
F.E. 2b, Malaya Tamils' gift to the British
"The Malayan Jaffna Tamil community was intensely loyal to the British Crown and when World War I started Ganapathypillai was amongst those who contributed liberally to the British War Fund. A Committee was also elected to start collecting funds to pay for the cost of a British Fighter Plane. Dr E T McIntyre was elected Chairman and Ganapathypillai was prominent amongst the fund-raisers in Taiping.

When the Committee informed the British Government of their intentions, the Government replied that they were aware of the Malayan Jaffna Tamil community’s limited resources and tactfully suggested that they may wish to consider the cheaper alternative of funding the cost of an observation plane. The Committee indignantly replied that they would somehow or the other raise the cost of a fighter plane so as to maximize the damage that could be inflicted on the Germans!

Within a few months the cost of a fighter plane (2250 Pounds) was collected and remitted to the British Government in London with the request that the plane be named “Jaffna”. Bonar Law, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, wrote back to the Jaffna Tamils thanking them for their patriotic spirit in raising the cost of a fighter plane out of their comparatively small resources.

A few months after "The Jaffna" entered war service, a Squadron of FE2Bs of the same type of plane as The Jaffna, flying for No. 25 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps (the forerunner of the RAF) encountered the Fokker Eindekker piloted by the German Ace, Max Immelmann who had already downed at least 17 British planes. Max's plane was shot down in the encounter and he lost his life. The Jaffna may well have been in this squadron.”

The F.E.2 (Farman Experimental 2) designation of the aircraft refers to three distinct designs, all pushers based on the general layout employed by the French aircraft designers, the Farman Brothers.

War historians have also noted that the F.E. 2 biplane was operated as a day and night bomber, and that the F.E.2 was instrumental in ending the Fokker Scourge that had seen the German Air Service establish a measure of air superiority on the Western Front from the late summer of 1915 to the following spring.

* * *

Meanwhile, a student of history has recently brought the attention of TamilNet to a World War II surrender clipping of 1945, in which the US General and Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces Douglas Mac Arthur was asserting at the final surrender of Japan at the Tokyo Bay that “The issues involving divergent ideals and ideologies have been determined on the battlefields of the world and, hence, are not for our discussion or debate.”

This is exactly the arrogant stand of genocidal Sri Lanka and its abetters today, for their ideology of achieving an imperialist and agent-imperialist agenda, without shunning genocide or annihilation of a nation.

But annals of history have shown how it was only a matter of just five years for Douglas Mac Arthur to get discredited in the Korean War by a new ideological alignment in the East that forced his crestfallen recall, the student of history told TamilNet, adding that the diaspora Tamils should now seriously think of forging a right course of international struggle that would align their righteous aspirations with a noble cause of entire humanity.

The clipping on WWII surrender of Japan:

External Links:
Wiki: Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2
shmoop.com: Douglas MacArthur in The Korean War
Wiki: Max Immelmann


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