PUJJI, Mohinder Singh


rank: S/L
status: survived
airforce: RAF    (no: Ind1604 )
born: 1918-08-14 Simla India

added by: kurtis

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DFC. He was the son of a senior government worker and had access to good schooling and a local flying club.

We don't have additional information on which Spitfires he flew on rhubarbs over France, he generally preferred the Hurricane but he did fly the Spitfire and we'd like it if someone posted his aircraft serials. He survived, and, post war became a commercial pilot and also went on to manage an aerodrome after the war (medical discharge / lung) and subsequently moved to England (he was treated very well there during the war) and died at the age of 92, passing in 2010 . He is noted for standing up to the BNP who chose the Spitfire as it's symbol, pointing out that nations from all over the world flew the Spitfire in the defence of England and the free world. He served in the Battle of Britain, Europe, North Africa, Burma, and the Middle East. He was very brave stating "I didn't mind if I was shot at, it didn't frighten me at all". He carried a spare turban in his cockpit, and, because he wore one during flight, it may have interfered with his oxygen supply (if he used one at all), he damaged a lung while in fighters.

(source below: Wikipedia)

In 1940, he attended the Indian Air Force 4th Pilots Course, and became one of the first batch of 24 Indian 'A' licence holder pilots accepted to receive a Volunteer Reserve commission with the Royal Air Force during the early part of the Second World War, despite his parents' fears.[1]

Embarking for the United Kingdom, his first posting was on 8 October 1940 to No. 1 RAF Depot in Uxbridge. Within a few days he was posted to No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School RAF at Prestwick in Scotland. From there the first 24 volunteer Indian pilots went on to No. 9 (Pilot) Advanced Flying Unit RAF at RAF Hullavington. They completed the course, and received their RAF wings on 16 April 1941. A few weeks later he and a handful of other pilots from the first 24 went on to the renowned No. 56 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at RAF Sutton Bridge, where they joined British and other foreign-allied pilots for advanced fighter pilot training on the Hawker Hurricane.[1]

He flew active service with No. 43 Squadron RAF, the formidable 'Fighting Cocks' fighter squadron. He flew Hurricanes, which he preferred to Spitfires, for their relative ease of flying.[6] He was forced down twice; in one instance, his aircraft was disabled over the English Channel by a Messerschmitt, but he managed to coax it to dry land, where he crashed.(note: being a champion glider pilot in his early days back in India may have helped). He was rescued from the burning wreckage and after a week in hospital, Mohinder Singh returned to duty.



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