New Delhi, December 20, 2023.
INS Shivaji, the premier Training establishment of the Indian Navy received the original ‘Vir Chakra’ awarded to Late Vice Admiral Benoy Roy Chowdhury, AVSM, VrC (Retd.) at a solemn ceremony at Lonavala on 18 Dec 23. Vice Admiral Dinesh Prabhakar, AVSM, NM, VSM (Retd), Distinguished Chair Marine Engineering, INS Shivaji, received the ’Vir Chakra’ from Mr Padipta Bose & Mrs Gargi Bose, the family members of VAdm Chowdhury on behalf of the Indian Navy. The ‘Vir Chakra’ is an Indian wartime military bravery award presented for acts of gallantry on the battlefield, on land or in air or at sea. VAdm Chowdhury is the only technical officer of the Indian Navy, who has been decorated with this prestigious award.
Vice Admiral Benoy Roy Chowdhury’s gallantry is firmly rooted during the1971 Indo-Pak War wherein, he was the Engineer Officer onboard erstwhile INS Vikrant. During the course of deployment amidst the war, one of the boilers of Vikrant was rendered non-operational while the performance of the other three boilers were observed to be sub-optimal. He along with his team undertook several innovative repairs at sea away from the base port without seeking any possible assistance from the British OEMs. The in-house actions involved fixing of steel bands around the boiler, adjustment of safety valves involving greater risks, leaving the boiler room unmanned yet remotely being monitored and numerous other technical measures. The tasks not only required technical expertise but also supreme leadership qualities to convince his men to do the job full of risk. His contributions during the war were pivotal in every way. Admiral SM Nanda, the then Chief of Naval Staff bestowed upon him the title of ‘An Engineer Par Excellence’. His bravery, patriotism and dedicated service is a testimony to various significant achievements earning him the ‘Vir Chakra’ for his gallant actions in the 1971 War.