The Airmen's Stories - F/O J J F H Bandinel
James Julius Frederic Henry Bandinel was born on 25th September 1918. He attended Charterhouse School and went on to Oriel College, Oxford, where he read Law. He joined the University Air Squadron and transferred to the RAFVR in June 1939. Called up in October, he completed his training at FTS Cranwell, converted to Hurricanes at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge and joined 3 Squadron at Wick on 20th July 1940.
In late 1941 Bandinel was serving with 260 Squadron in the Middle East.
He was one of six Hurricanes from 260 and 450 Squadrons that left Haifa at 1830 on 5th July 1941 and arrived at Damascus to stay the night. A dawn takeoff was made with the intention of surprising the Vichy French airfield at Baalbek in Lebanon.
Finding no worthy targets there, the flight headed down the valley in line abreast to attack the airfield at Merjayoum. Here four Aeronavale Martin Marylands were just about to take off on a convoy protection sortie, three were damaged leaving Flotilla 4F with virtually no serviceable aircraft.
The Hurricanes were intercepted by six Dewotine 520s of the Maryland's escort but escaped with slight damage.
On 14th December his Hurricane failed to return from operations over the Gazala area. He is remembered on the Alamein Memorial.
Photographs courtesy of Colonel C R Romberg RA, British Embassy Cairo