Edward Hext Kendall


This biography was written by Linda Trim

Brave aviator flying a Sopwith Camel shot down in Belgium

Edward Hext Kendall photo.JPG

Edward Hext Kendall

Edward Hext Kendall had the good fortune to be born into the gentry.  His grandfather, John Francis Hext Kendall  was born in Lostwithiel, Cornwall in 1805, attended university in Oxford, and received his BA from Exeter College in April 1824, and his MA in 1844. He married Charlotte Dorothea Archer in 1846.  For some years he was Vicar of Lanlivery, Cornwall (near Bodmin) and this is where his three children were born. Edward Chambers Kendall was the youngest child, born in 1853, and there were two older sisters;  Charlotte Augusta, born 1849 and Jane Archer Kendall born 1852. By the time Edward reached his majority both of his parents had passed away. Reverend Kendall was Vicar of Talland (near Looe) in Cornwall when he died in 1874, his wife predeceased him by three years. He actually died in Loddington Rectory in Northamptonshire, where he must have been visiting a friend, but his body was returned to Cornwall and he was buried in Lostwithiel. He left an estate of an amount “under £1500” which if it was as high as that amount, today would be well over £100,000,  for his son Edward, with Edward’s  older sister Charlotte Augusta Kendall charged  to administer the estate until he reached his majority. Both John Francis Hext Kendall’s father and grandfather were also ordained into the Church of England.

Edward Chambers Kendall did not follow his father into the ministry, but became  both a soldier and a stockbroker. He joined the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (DOCLI), went into partnership with a Mr. Walter Cruden Higgles as Stock and Share Brokers, dissolved the partnership in December 1882, married Nora Martin, in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire in 1890 after resigning his commission in 1889, and in 1891 they were living at Thornycroft, St John’s Road, Chester with two live in servants, where he again plied  his trade as a stock broker. In 1915 he again became active in the military, moving between the DOCLI and the Cheshire Regiment, presumably in a training capacity as he was, by that time, in his 60s. At the end of the war he was a Captain, and he subsequently referred to himself as Captain Edward Chambers Kendall.

E Chambers Kendall Gazette 1889.JPG

In 1892, Edward’s first son, Tristram Archer Kendall was born, followed by Cecil Harward Kendall (1894-1902) and finally, Edward Hext Kendall was born in Chester on the 6th of July 1895. It seems that there was something of a tradition when naming the boys to  include the maiden names of the wives in the family. Ann Hext was Edward’s great grandmother, born in 1770, first child of Francis John Hext  (c.1736-1803) who was a member of the peerage. Ann married the Reverend Charles Kendall in 1794, and this is the origin of Edward’s unusual middle name of Hext, which is rare. The largest concentration of Hexts were from south Devon..

In 1911 the census shows that Tristram Archer Kendall was a Second Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, however, in 1909 he was with the 5th (Earl of Chester’s) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment during which time he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. In 1911 he was promoted to Lieutenant and in 1915 he won the Military Cross. He was promoted, over the course of the war, to Captain and then Major,  survived the war, became a planter, and died in Dorset in 1962.

E Hext Kendall 1911 Census.jpg

1911 Census

Edward and his parents were visiting his Aunt Charlotte in Devon at the 1911 census, but their home at that time was still in Chester. Shortly before the war, Edward Chambers Kendall  owned property at 23 Devonshire Road, West Kirby, Cheshire but still had a home in Heswall, Cheshire, called Sandfields. Edward joined the King Edward’s Horse as a Private, presumably at the outbreak of war. Since military records  are fragmentary  for him at this time, we can only speculate why he chose to join as a Private with that regiment.  We do know that he entered France on the 6th of May 1915 (his medal card states this). It is unclear when he changed from King Edward’s Horse to the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (DOCLI), but the Gazette noted that on the 28th August 1915 he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant (on probation) with DOCLI. The 2nd Battalion DOCLI left for Salonika in November 1915, arriving on 5th December.  He was injured in Salonika and invalided back to England, and in 1917 applied for a transfer to the RNAS.

Edward Hext Kendall Gazette1.JPG

London Gazette Notice

Edward had a temporary appointment with the RNAS as a flight Sub Lieutenant. He was under instruction at Crystal Palace from the 14th  January 1917 to 17th February 1917, and then was under instruction at Chingford from the 17th February 1917 to 15th June 1917, when he changed to Dover. He obtained his Royal Aero Club certificate on a Grahame-White biplane at Royal Naval Air Station Chingford, on the 21st April 1917. He was with 12 squadron RNAS from 27th June to 4th July 1917. This  was effectively a pilot’s pool, assessing and “polishing” new pilots before sending them to the front line squadrons. In his short time with 6 squadron he flew Camel number N6331 several times, wrecking it in a landing accident on the 11th of July. He was flying Camel N6350 on his last flight. The squadron had only just changed over to Sopwith Camels and the pilots only had a couple of weeks to familiarize themselves with the new machines.

On the 12th of July 2017 FSL Edward Hext Kendall and FSL RR Winter carried out an enemy aircraft patrol leaving Frontier Aerodrome at Bray Dunes at 10:20 am in an attempt to intercept a spotter aircraft that had been reported. Winter reported that at 10:50 they were at 13,000 feet over Slype, (Slijpe) Belgium.

Winter wrote: “On looking around, I observed an enemy machine directly behind FSL Kendall. FSL Kendall dived, closely followed by the enemy aircraft, and I turned and dived also but was unable to fire at once as I was afraid of hitting our own machine. When I was able to I fired 200 rounds at the enemy aircraft, which left Kendall and continued to dive. I observed a trail of smoke and discovered Kendall’s machine had been set on fire. The enemy was not seen again but I do not believe it was out of control.” His petrol tank had been fired and the plane crashed in flames. He was 22 when he died.

E Hext Kendall Lost Machine report.JPG

Lost Machine Report

Kendall was buried at Larchwood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium, Grave ref 1.B.10.

Larch Wood Rwy Cutting Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen Belgium.JPG

Larch Wood Cemetery

He was awarded the Victory, British and 15 Star medals.

Edward Hext Kendall left an estate of £199 5s 2d to his father, about £9700 in today’s currency.

Birth: 6th July 1895
Death: 12 July 1917 plane crash
Addresses: Thornycroft, Queens Park, Chester (01); Highweek, Newton Abbot, Devon (11),  23, Devonshire Road, West Kirby, Cheshire, Sandfield, Heswall, Cheshire,
Occupation: Unknown, probably none before military service
Units: King Edward’s Horse, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Royal Naval Air Service
Numbers and Ranks: Private, number unknown KE Horse, 2nd Lieutenant, DOCLI: Flight Sub Lieutenant RNAS
Medals : British, 1915 Star, Victory
Commemorated: Larchwood Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium
Sources: CWGC, Census, 01,11, LG, MC, Prob, Great War Forum, A History of No 6 Squadron RNAS in WW1, publisher Schiffer author Mike Westrop


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