Haden Mostyn Kendrick was born on 10th June 1891 in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, the only son of Henry Haden Kendrick and his wife Annie Mostyn Kendrick [née Roberts]. A younger sister, Irene was born in 1895.
Haden was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School followed by Wellington College which he left in 1908. He was then articled to his father’s firm of solicitors, passing his final exams in 1913, later qualifying on 18th December at the age of 22. Whilst a law student in 1911 he spent part of his time in London and lived in lodgings in St. Marylebone.
Following the outbreak of the War Haden enlisted as a private soldier in 1/5th Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment at Walsall, Staffordshire where he was assigned to ‘A’ Company [Old Boys] along with a number of his friends from his time at Wolverhampton Grammar, applying for a temporary commission the following month.
By January 1915 Haden was serving with his Regiment in Saffron Walden prior to their leaving for France on 2nd March 1915 on the ‘Empress Queen’, disembarking in Le Havre the following day. He received his commission ‘in the field’ on 13th March whilst stationed in the Ypres salient. For a brief period of time his knowledge of foreign languages allowed him to act as an interpreter to the Battalion, following which he spent several months in the trenches.
However, towards the end of June 1915 he was taken ill and hospitalised in France before being evacuated back to England on the hospital ship ‘St. Andrew’, where he arrived in Southampton on 11th July 1915.
A medical board convened on 23rd July 1915 stated:
...under treatment in France for influenza, acute dyspepsia & bacilluria infection of the bladder. The indigestion at times was violent with severe pain after food in the pit of the stomach often relieved by vomiting.
In the opinion of the examining army doctor this illness was caused by the conditions he had experienced on active service. He was then given a minimum of 6 weeks leave and transferred to the depot based 3/5th Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment.
A medical board convened at Grantham, Lincolnshire on 25th September showed signs of improvement but still with “symptoms of Dyspepsia & disordered action of the heart.” The following month the board noted that Haden was still enfeebled and weak, with an irregular heart beat, and could only be considered fit for light duties at home. A month later in November 1915 Haden was readmitted to hospital in England and declared unfit for any kind of duties and placed on a further period of leave.
By the New Year the situation had improved and as he was no longer complaining of any symptoms was placed on a month’s home service. At a medical board on 15th February 1916 in Derby, where the 3/5th Battalion was by then located, he was fully recovered from Dyspepsia & Bacilluria and passed fit for return to active duty, although he never returned to France.
As a means of ensuring his health would not suffer once again, Haden felt he could continue to serve his country via other means and escape life in the trenches and so applied to join the Royal Flying Corps. Whilst life might have been just that little bit more pleasant it was certainly no less dangerous in the flying machines of the day. The Wright Brothers had only completed their first powered flight in 1903 in North Carolina with Blériot crossing the English Channel in 1909.
With his transfer effective in July 1916 Haden soon gained his wings and mastered the art of flying, both solo and dual, at Thetford and Huntingdon. On Monday 18th September 1916 Second-Lieutenant Haden Mostyn Kendrick, 12 Reserve Squadron, RFC, took off from Thetford on a solo training flight in his aircraft, a Maurice Farman Shorthorn A2440 [A2440 MFSH] and collided with a tree whilst flying too low when he met his death. He was 25 years of age. The subsequent enquiry delivered a verdict of accidental death with his Flight Commander, Captain Gordon Elliott, RFC, stating;
that at the time Lieutenant Kendrick went up there was a fairly strong wind but he considered the officer had had sufficient experience to go up. He was quite one of the keenest officers I have had, and I am sure would have made a first-class pilot, and his death will be a loss to the Flying Corps.
He flew very low and it was the opinion that the accident was caused through the machine hitting the top of a tree. It was further stated during the enquiry that the engine and controls were in perfect order. Death was caused by dislocation of the neck.
A military escort of his brother officers and airmen from the squadron brought his remains back to Wolverhampton where he was buried with full honours at Penn Fields (St. Philip) Churchyard, in Staffordshire. Haden is also remembered in the official Wolverhampton Roll of Remembrance of those who died in the First World War, held in the city archives.
The Royal Flying Corps, along with the Royal Naval Air Service, merged together to form the Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918.