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  1. Derek Johnson @derekjohnsonitv

Gravesend statue honours wartime pilot

A statue of wartime fighter pilot Mahinder Singh Pujji has been unveiled in his adopted hometown, Gravesend. Mr Pujji was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for valour while flying in World War Two.

Mr Pujji died in 2010, aged 92.

We speak to: Satinder Pujji, son; Douglas Jennings, sculptor; Air Vice-Marshal Edward Stringer, Royal Air Force; Air Cdre Gurcharan Singh Bedi, Indian Air Force; Gurjit Bains, Gravesend Gurdwara.

VIDEO: Statue of RAF pilot unveiled in Gravesend

He was among the first Indian airmen to fight for Britain during World War Two, was shot down twice and saw many of his friends die in combat. But Mahinder Singh Pujji went on to become one of the RAF's most distinguished fighter pilots, flew all over the world and was honoured for his bravery.

Four years after his death, there is a permanent reminder of his exploits in his home town of Gravesend. A bronze statue of Squadron Leader Pujji now graces the riverfront, celebrating his exploits and the contribution of millions of Indian servicemen and women.

Watch the unveiling of the statue below.

Mr Pujji's son, Satinder, speaks to ITV Meridian about his father.


Arctic Convoy veterans recognised for bravery

It was one of the most dangerous wartime missions, with British troops facing attack from their enemies as well as the elements, as they had to put up with extreme weather conditions. The arctic convoys of World War Two saw British sailors travel 2.000 miles over dangerous waters, to deliver supplies to Soviet forces. Now veterans have been recognised for their efforts by the Russian Embassy, including several from the Meridian region. Lauren Hall reports.

Memorial unveiling to commemorate Battle of the River

Survivors of the first major naval battle of the Second World War will gather at the National Memorial Arboretum to unveil a memorial commemorating the event.

The Battle of the River Plate took place 75 years ago and less than a dozen veterans are still alive from this, the only episode of the war to take place in South America.

The remaining River Plate veterans will come together today to unveil the Battle of the River Plate Memorial.

Battle of the River plate Credit: Royal Navy


  1. Richard Jones

D-Day: 70th anniversary commemorations revealed

The 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings will be marked with a Red Arrows display and gathering of veterans in Portsmouth in June.

Today it was announced that the city will play a key part in events to remember the sacrifices and bravery of the servicemen during the Second World War. Many thousands of the combatants embarked from ports along the south coast. Richard Jones has this report.

Second World War defence plans go on show

Detailed plans of how a Hampshire village would have been defended during the Second World War have been made available to the public for the first time.

They were drawn up by a Home Guard commander in Beaulieu - shedding light on how serious the threat of German invasion was taken and how different real life was - from the one depicted in the old TV hit Dad's Army. Richard Jones reports.

More details on this link

70 years since the brave and daring Great Escape

Video. It was one of the bravest and most daring breakouts during the Second World War, the Great Escape from prison camp Stalag Luft 3. Exactly 70 years ago, on the night of March 24th 1944, more than 70 Allied airmen escaped from the German camp through a tunnel they had been digging for a year.

Now, to mark that anniversary, one of the prisoners has been telling his remarkable story to our correspondent Malcolm Shaw.

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