Brigadier Furdoon Mehta Meets with Prince Charles


December 1, 2013

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Bombay | Individuals

The Prince of Wales met some of India’s last surviving Second World War veterans as he paid his respects to the country’s war dead on Remembrance Sunday.

mehta The Prince and The Duchess of Cornwall honoured the fallen when they joined the congregation of a Mumbai church for an annual remembrance service.

The religious event came ahead of the annual Cenotaph wreath laying ceremony in Whitehall, London, which will be led by the Queen and attended by other senior members of the Royal Family.

The Prince and The Duchess took their seats at the head of the pews in St John the Evangelist Church – better known as the Afghan Church as it commemorates those who fought in the Afghan campaign of the mid 19th Century.

Among those in the congregation was Brigadier Furdoon Mehta, 91, the first Indian Army aviator, and Madhukar Dongre, 92, the last surviving recipient of the Burma Star living in India who was a craftsman with the Indian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Around 2.5 million men were fighting in the British Indian Army by the end of the Second World War and during the conflict men served in Europe, Asia and Africa.

More than 35,000 Indians were killed and the valour of the troops saw 38 Victoria and George Crosses awarded.

Brigadier Mehta, who proudly wore his medals, served as a spotter during part of his war service, flying above enemy lines to pinpoint targets.

He gave the address on the theme of moral courage and told the congregation “moral courage implies quiet resolution” and the ability “to take risks, the will to take full responsibility for decisions…share rewards with subordinates and equally take the blame when things go wrong”.

The veteran went on to praise the bravery of Indian officers who had shown their true worth in conflicts after the Second World War.