F/L Henry Edward Bryant – repair of Mountbatten’s Dakota

Chris Bryant contacted us from Ontario, Canada with this request:-

His father joined 24 Squadron in August 1945, and after some working in went to the Far East with F/L O’Neill in Dakota KN386 flying the new Secretary of State for War, Mr. Jack Lawson, returning early October.

He was given his beloved, brand new Dakota IV KP230 which had been VIP’d at Kemble and was assigned as the personal pilot for Lt-Gen Sir Charles Gairdner and flew the British Legation out to Chofu, Tokyo. He was still there with the General when Lord Louis Mountbatten’s Dakota Sister Anne FL510 forced-landed on Sado Island off the eastern coast of Japan on January 18, 1946.

Because he had AME qualifications which he had earned before the war he was assigned along with his co-pilot F/O Cox to go and repair the aircraft. He apparently did a great job because Lord Louis was very pleased and sent Dad a very gracious letter of thanks. I have the letter now.

Chris is writing an article for Aeroplane about this incident which is remarkable for more than just his father’s connection to it. The Countess Mountbatten of Burma is interested to see the story as well!

He is am looking for any details that may be in people’s memory or in any archives the Squadron might have in order to flesh out this story. He has articles from Flight archives and AM Sir Victor Godard’s article but no repair details.

He should be contacted via the 24 Sqn Sec, see main web site.


6 Responses to “F/L Henry Edward Bryant – repair of Mountbatten’s Dakota”

  1. Tom Spinks Says:

    My late much-loved grandfather was Flight Lieutenant T.W. Cox RAF, who sadly passed away at the start of this year aged 90, and whose service history records I have recently obtained.

    Grandad joined No. 24 Squadron based at Hendon in mid-October 1945, before being attached to 300 Group stationed out in Tokyo ( Chofu Aerodrome). On the outward flight his co-pilots were F/O Mellor (Nav.), and F/Lt Gamble (WOP?). VIP passengers included Lt/Gen Gairdner as well as Brig. Profumo, Churchill’s very own representative in Tokyo! On arrival there (mid Nov, he remained part of Gairdner’s personal aircrew until they flew him back to RAF Blackbushe in England, apparently between 27th May and 6th June 1946 (not sure).

    I would be thrilled to see a copy of the letter from Lord Mountbatten addressed to Chris Bryant’s father F/L Bryant, which appears to mention my Grandad. We weren’t aware of his encounter with Mountbatten, as it seems to have escaped my Grandad’s notes/memories. He kept a notebook of his flights (which is still in our possession) and specifically mentions the Dakota IV KP230 (used for the Gairdner duties).

    That is about all I’ve managed to understand of these complex records! It would be great to hear from you Chris – or indeed anyone who is interested in this – and maybe we could exchange our old RAF photos etc?

  2. Chris Bryant Says:

    By chance I happened to return to this blog after about 3 years. My article about Dad’s repair and eventual refurbishment of Sister Ann is near publishing in The Aviation Historian and I am desperate for GOOD LARGE photos of FL510. Your Granddad is mentioned in the article and is in a photo I can send along! El Supremo was very gracious although he never met the crew. I think he was behind Dad receiving the Air Efficiency medal from the Foreign Office.

    I would be very happy to send along a good scan of the letter in which is mentioned F/L Cox and a picture of the crew. I will also send along a picture or two of KP230 Eastern Monarch.

    If anybody has pictures of FL510 I am in great need of them. Please contact me at. I am in the Ottawa, Ontario Canada area.

  3. Chris Bryant Says:

    Tom Spinks are you out there? I’d like to get in touch about your Granddad, F/O Cox and send a scan of Mountbatten’s letter to my Dad and your Granddad!

  4. Chris Bryant Says:

    Hello folks, I am desperate to find good clear magazine quality photos of Lord Louis Mountbatten’s VIP Dakota Sister Ann FL510 which was piloted by a number of 24 Squadron pilots in SEAC from 1943 through 1947. I have written an article about my father’s recovery of it from Sado Island in Feb 1946 and it is being held for lack of good photos. Please help! BTW: Where are you Tom Spinks?

    Thanks for any help,

    Chris Bryant

    • Tom Spinks Says:

      Hi Chris, sorry I completely forgot about this a while ago… Had been intending to email you with some old RAF photos of my late Grandad, unfortunately I don’t think you gave me your email address?

      If you’re still able to send the scans across then they’d be gratefully received. Also, I’d be interested to see a copy of the article you’ve written re the restoration of Lord Mountbatten’s Dakota. Please send to oldseadog1791@hotmail.com


      • cbryant@ripnet.com Says:

        Dear Tom,

        Thank you for the reply! Please send any photos of Sister Ann FL510 that you might have. I’ll send photos of Dad and the crew. Your Granddad is pictured and I’ll send along pictures of KP230 Easter Monarch. I have to go and cut the grass right now and I’ll send along the pictures later.

        It is great to be in contact! BTW Dad died in March 2005 and we thought nobody had survived past that. Good to hear your Granddad lasted longer. BTW we know that Dad had a touch of radiation sickness when he was checked for his airline pilot’s license in 1950. Did your Granddad have it too?


        Chris Bryant

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