IN MEMORY OF F/O ARTHUR L. BRYANT MID, RAFVR
Born on the 17th November 1921 in Rowledge near Farnham, Surrey, Arthur Bryant volunteered for RAF service during 1940 and was accepted for pilot training in 1941. Posted to Number 5 BFTS at Clewiston, Florida, USA, in November that year he received his pilots wings there in July 1942 after qualifying on Boeing Stearman, Harvard, and Vultee aircraft. Returning to the UK he spent a month with Flying Squadron No 9 (P) AFU before being posted to No 53 OTU at Llandow where he flew Master and Spitfire aircraft mainly on fighter affiliation courses. In October of 1942 he was posted to No 3 AGS Castle Kennedy flying Fairey Battles which were being used for target towing before he moved on to Master II and Martinet aircraft. At the begining of March 1943 he was at RAF Watchfield on a Beam Approach Course flying Oxfords then a month later was flying Hurricanes and Hawker Typhoons at 59 OTU. July 1943 saw him at RAF Abingdon on a fighter attack course flying the Curtis P40 Sharks Teeth, known to the RAF as the Tomahawk, and stayed there until September when he was posted to 1681 BDT Flight at Kinloss.
Following a short transfer to No 31 BDT Flight Arthur was posted to 609 (West Riding) Squadron RAF during March of 1944 with whom he carried out some 20 operational sorties before being transferred to 198 Squadron RAF on the 24th June that year and spending the next fifteen months with them. By the war's end Arthur had clocked up some 150 operational sorties altogether against a wide variety of enemy targets and a total of 807 hours flying time. However, after 198 Squadron's disbandment in September 1945, converting to Meteor and Vampire jets he continued his RAFVR career as a flying instructor with various RAF flying schools with whom he clocked up some further 500 hours of flying time until leaving the service in 1952 as a Flt/Lt. Throughout most of the war Arthur's wife, Stella, was involved in enemy code breaking duties at Station X, Bletchley Park. Sadly she died in January 2000.
Arthur, who openly admitted at times that his navigation could be a "little dodgy", died on the 26th May 2009. At Arthur's funeral on the 9th of the following month his nephew, John, gave an address which finished as follows:
"It's been said you don't know what you had till its gone - the trouble is I think most of us here today have known all along exactly what we had in Arthur Bryant which makes his parting all the more sad and worse, but here's hoping "Nunks" that some of your "dodgy navigation" will bring us back to you."
Arthur Bryant 1921 - 2009
Founder of the "Association of 198 Squadron RAF Pilots & Ground Crews"
"I could never understand it, my uncle was the kind of man who wouldn't hurt a fly and yet he carried out some 150 operational sorties flying the Hawker Typhoon in which, no doubt, he created a great deal of havoc."