The new statue is sited in St Andrew’s Gardens in Gravesend to commemorate and celebrate all those who volunteered to serve Britain during various military campaigns between 1914 and 2014.
It was decided that Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji DFC would be a great example to represent those who chose to fight for our country. The Statue was unveiled by Air Vice-Marshal Edward Stringer CBE MA BEng RAF.
Squadron Leader Pujji is one of the 2.5 million servicemen who came from the Indian subcontinent, the largest volunteer army in history. In 1940 Pujji was one of 18 qualified Indian pilots who volunteered for the Royal Air Force. He had a distinguished career during WWII flying with 43 Squadron and being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery.
Douglas Jennings ARBS was chosen as the artist for the commission from a shortlist of four prominent sculptors. He said “Pujji is a fabulous representation and example of those who gave up everything to fight for Britain and the Commonwealth. He is a shining example, completely right to represent all those who fought. This man wasn’t asked to fight, he chose to. Pujji refused to wear the protective head gear because of his religion. He was shot down twice, lost many of his friends and colleagues, but he continued to fight, as did many Sikhs.”