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The Airmen's Stories - F/O K V Wendel


Kenneth Victor Wendel was born in Auckland, New Zealand on May 8th 1916 and educated at
College there. After school he worked for an accountant but in 1934 he joined the RNZAF as a stores accounting clerk. Whilst stationed at Hobsonville Wendel joined the Auckland Aero Club and obtained his 'A' Licence. He applied for a short service commission in the RAF in May 1937, was accepted and sailed for the UK on December 1st in RMS 'Ruahine'.

Wendel began his ab-initio course at 13 E&RFTS, White Waltham on January 17th 1938. After a short induction course at Uxbridge he went to 8 FTS, Montrose on April 9th.

After completing his flying training on October 29th 1938 he was posted to No 1 Electrical and Wireless School, Cranwell as a pilot. He left on December 10th 1939, going then to 12 Group Pool for advanced flying training.

Wendel joined 504 Squadron at Debden on January 23rd 1940. He went with it to France on May 12th and returned to England when it was withdrawn to Filton on the 22nd after suffering severe losses. The squadron went north to Wick to reform and was assigned the defence of Scapa Flow. On September 5th 504 went south to Hendon.

On the 7th it began operations. Wendel was leading the rear section on a patrol south of the Thames Estuary when it was jumped by five Me109’s out of the sun. After firing short bursts they made off before the remainder of the squadron turned to meet them. No-one saw Wendel go down but witnesses on the ground reported that his Hurricane, L1615, went down completely out of control and crashed at Sandbanks Farm, Graveney, near Faversham. Wendel was badly burned and died of his injuries the same day.

He is buried in Faversham Cemetery.


Wendel is shown above (left) with his 504 Squadron colleague Wilkinson Barnes

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