Frederick George Bryant 1915 – 1978

[ Frederick George Bryant 1915 – 1978 ]

My name is Jessica Bryant Macdonald. I am 14 years of age and was privileged to be allowed to march with the British Airborne on Anzac Day Thursday 24th April 2008. This was the very first time and did so in honour of my grandfather. I was also very proud to wear his medals. 
Although I never met my grandfather I now know that he was a very special person. When I was young my dad told me some stories about my grandfather’s wartime experiences, which were told to him by his mother. I’m afraid to say that these stories never caught my interest. One story that I do remember is my dad being told by his mother that my grandfather was wounded in the Battle of Arnhem suffering a gunshot wound to the head by an enemy sniper and then later being evacuated across the Rhine River. 

I have now learnt so much about the wars of the world and having found out that my grandfather was a participant in one of them, I would like to share with you some of my findings on his life and war time service. My Grandfather was born in London on the 2nd of October 1915. He was the youngest of five children but tragically his mother died when he was only 11 years old. After he left school my grandfather served a seven-year apprenticeship as a stationary binder. In 1953 he emigrated and settled in New Zealand with his wife Doris and their three children. My grandfather, as I am told, was a wonderful piano player and would have enjoyed many social occasions with other airborne friends. Unfortunately my grandfather died of heart failure in 1978.

Before the war my grandfather was in the army reserve. After the outbreak of the Second World War he served in an artillery regiment. He later volunteered for the Glider Pilot Regiment and commenced flying tiger moths on the 22nd March 1944. He then trained to fly the Hotspur, W.A.C.O, Horsa, Hamilcar and Hadrian gliders.

British Airborne forces were sent to France on ‘D’ - Day 6th June 1944. Sergeant Bryant was the co-pilot on a Horsa troopship glider.
Duration of flight was 2 hours 30 minutes.
Below (left) is his flying logbook entry ... The Airborne was later sent to Arnhem Holland 17th September 1944. Sergeant Bryant’s flying logbook entry describes this landing as Operation ‘Market’ (Arnhem). Duration of Flight 3 hours and 20 minutes. (right)

Wounded in action. Arnhem

Staff Sergeant Bryant resumed flying duties on a Horsa Glider on the 3rd Nov 1944 ...

During the Anzac Day march 2008 an airborne veteran (whose father flew Halifax bombers and towed gliders during the 2nd World War) mentioned that the flying wings on a Glider Pilots’ tunic changed when a co-pilot graduated to pilot. It is also illustrated in Airborne Warfare 1918-1945 (Gregory @ Batchelor 1979) that wings with a Crown and Lion are The British 1st Glider Pilot Regt. The wings with a G are The British 2nd Glider Pilot Regt.
My grandfather’s last and final flying logbook entry was recorded on the 15th Oct. 1945 on a Horsa Glider. His flying logbook record shows a total of 117 hours and 35 minutes of troopship gliding (including 26 hours and 5 minutes of power flying on Tiger Moths). 

During the war my grandfather married Doris who was served in the Land Army before working in radar operations. They are pictured below with their precious little daughter Gillian Anne. 

Post War 1974. The picture below is my grandfather visiting the Airborne War Cemetery at Oosterbeck near Arnhem whilst on a working holiday in Europe. He and wife Doris were residing at The British Military Hospital in Hannover. Doris was employed at the hospital as a nurse and my grandfather was working at another military base Langenhagen.

It is interesting to note that whilst my grandfather was working at Langenhagen he was befriended by a German civilian who was a young soldier with the Panzer Division that engaged the Allied Airborne Forces at Arnhem. He told my grandfather that his tank regiment was resting in Holland at the time and that they had no idea that an Allied Airborne invasion was about to happen.

Finally I would also like to share with you one very last document kept by my late grandmother. Staff Sergeant Bryant loved the Airborne. His dedication and devotion is confirmed by a commanding officer’s remarks prior to his discharge.


I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me,

Thank you Airborne,
Love Jessica

To contact Mike Welton of "The British Airborne Forces Association in Australia"