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Monday, June 22, 2015

Remembering heroes: Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji

Indian History is replete with tales of chivalry and bravery. One such tale is of Mahinder Singh Pujji, a Sikh who joined the Royal Air Force and fought in the Second World war. Mohinder singh was a Sikh and   was  a fighter pilot in the RAF. He flew Spitfires and Hurricanes. His is indeed a romantic tale and needs to be remembered.

 Pujji was born in Simla in 1918 and his father was a high rank government officer. Pujji loved flying and learnt to fly at the Delhi Flying Club in 1936. Later he did his law from Bombay University. However Pujji love was flying. With the outbreak of World war II , Puji along with 24 other pilots volunteered to go to England and fly for the RAF.
Pujji was part of the IAF fighter squadrons and took part in missions over France and Belgium. Only on one occasion he was forced  down by a Messerschmitt 109 and had to crash land on the coast of England. 
With the Japanese advancing in Burma , Mahinder Singh was transferred to the east. Here he fought the Japanese and was awarded the DFC for covering the escape of 3000 allied troops.  Pujji  earlier had also flown in North Africa and had to force land in the desert. He was rescued by a platoon of British soldiers.
Mahinder Singh  after the war was a squadron leader and he left the RAF and became a civil pilot and gliding ace in India. In 1968 he migrated to England and settled there  He died in 2010 at the age of 92. He was the last surviving  Indian and Sikh ace  who fought in World war II for the RAF.  In 2009 the RAF honored him by  inviting him as a chairperson on the opening of  a  section of their museum  which dealt with Indians and other nationalities who fought for the RAF.
Just before he died , Pujji wrote a biography which is available on Amazon tiled "Fighting for the King and Another country". But all in all men like Mahinder Singh Pujji make us proud to be Indians.
Tribute to the warrior. Statue of MS Pujji in the UK
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