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Hawker Hurricane P5188 - 13/03/1942

On the 13th March 1942 Flying Officer John Bedford Kendal (83268) of the Merchant Ship Fighter Unit was carrying out formation flying in Hawker Hurricane No P5188 when his engine failed, Flying Officer Kendal had to make a wheels up forced landing on West Bank, Hilbre Island 3 miles West of West Kirby at 16:10 hours, the aircraft was subsequently immersed by the sea., Flying Officer Kendal was uninjured.

The engine failed due to the aircraft running on the gravity tank and failing to switch to the main tank until to late, Flying Officer Kendal also failed to check the petrol before take off and at the time it was considered difficult to understand  such an elementary mistake as he was noted to be a keen and reliable pilot.

Flying Officer Kendal

 Flying Officer Kendal

After flying with No 66 squadron in the Battle of Britain Flying Officer Kendal volunteered for the MSFU in 1941 and on the 25th May 1942 whilst sailing with a convoy from Murmansk he was launched to intercept  an enemy aircraft approaching the convoy, he destroyed the Ju88 and after bailing out from his aircraft he hit the sea badly due to his parachute not operating correctly, he was rescued from the icy water but died shortly afterwards from his injuries, his last act was to radio the position of the Ju88 crew's dingy. Flying Officer Kendal was buried at sea and is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, panel No 67.

Flying Officer Kendal was the first MSFU pilot to shot down an enemy aircraft and was the only pilot to be killed on operations, he was also mentioned in dispatches.

Flying Officer Kendal who was born on the 29th September 1920 was the son of Ernest and Doris Lily Kendal, of Chepstow, Monmouthshire. He was educated at Ardingly and joined the RAFVR in April 1939 as an airman under training.

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