Mohinder Singh Pujji 1918-2010Date: Friday, 01 October, 2010
A Sikh pilot and British war-hero who flew Hawker Hurricanes during World War II has died.
Squadron Leader Mohinder Singh Pujji, 92, died at at Darent Valley Hospital in Kent (United Kingdom) on Saturday, September 25, 2010, following a stroke.
Sqn Ldr Mohinder Singh was believed to be the last surviving fighter pilot from a group of 24 Sikhs and Indian pilots who arrived in Britain in 1940 to serve in the War.
Born in Simla (pre-partition Punjab), he learned to fly as a young man, and sailed to England after reading an advert in a newspaper. He warned his family he might never return.
Upon his arrival, the 24 pilots from the subcontinent were invited to tea by the Royal family at Windsor Castle as a thank you for their willingness to risk their lives for the Allies. Within a year, 12 of the pilots had been killed.
Sqd Ldr Mohinder Singh began training in the autumn of 1940 and early the next year began flying Hurricanes, protecting coastal convoys and intercepting bombers and fighters when Hitler ordered the bombing of London in the Blitz.
He survived several crashes and flew combat missions throughout the war in Britain, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Burma and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After the war he became a champion air race pilot in India, and set endurance records in gliders. He even flew the first Indian prime minster Jawaharlal Nehru in his glider.
Earlier this year, he published a book about his wartimes experiences entitled, For King and Another Country.
Following the war, he became a champion air race pilot, setting endurance records in gliders.
He later settled in Gravesend in Kent.