The Airmen's Stories - F/O K V Wendel
Kenneth Victor Wendel was born in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th May 1916 and educated at
Kings 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 1st December in RMS Ruahine.
Wendel began his initial training course at 13 E&RFTS White Waltham on 17th January 1938. After a short induction course at Uxbridge he went to 8 FTS Montrose on 9th April.
After completing his flying training on 29th October 1938 he was posted to No. 1 Electrical and Wireless School, Cranwell as a pilot. He left on 10th December 1939, going then to 12 Group Pool for advanced flying training.
Wendel joined 504 Squadron at Debden on 23rd January 1940. He went with it to France on 12th May and returned to England when it was withdrawn to Filton on the 22nd after suffering severe losses.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 5th September the squadron went south to Hendon.
On 7th September 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 (seated) with his 504 Squadron colleague Wilkinson Barnes
Below: the crash site is marked by a plaque.
Above image courtesy of Colin Relf.