Buried at last... the Lee-on-the-Solent soldier who laid for years in jungle grave

CEREMONY The remains of those killed on the RAF Dakota KN630 which crashed in the Malaysian Jungle in 1950 are lowered into their final resting place in Kuala Lumpur.  Picture: Mike Drewett
CEREMONY The remains of those killed on the RAF Dakota KN630 which crashed in the Malaysian Jungle in 1950 are lowered into their final resting place in Kuala Lumpur. Picture: Mike Drewett
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HIS body lay in a shallow jungle grave for more than 60 years.

But today Corporal Philip Bryant can finally rest in peace after he was buried with full military honours in front of his family.

Cpl Philip Bryant

Cpl Philip Bryant

The 25-year-old Royal Army Service Corps despatcher, from Lee-on-the-Solent, was killed when his Dakota aircraft plunged into a jungle ravine during the Malaya emergency in 1950.

Salvage teams were sent but found no survivors so buried their bodies at the crash scene.

The wrecked plane laid untouched for decades until a team of explorers and scientists was sent to find it in 2008.

The remains of all 12 crew members were then recovered and yesterday finally buried in a single coffin in Kuala Lumpur at the Cheras Road Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery.

The families of the servicemen, including Corporal Bryant’s sister, Vicky Betsworth, from Lee-on-the-Solent, were flown by the Ministry of Defence to Malaysia to witness the burial.

Group Captain Jonathan Chaffey, the reverend who conducted the service, said: ‘It is appropriate that those who flew together and died together should be buried together.

‘It is important to pay respect to those who died 62 years ago.

‘To give them a lasting memorial in the presence of the families in a commonwealth war graves site is very special.’

After the burial, the surviving relatives of the servicemen were presented with the Elizabeth Cross by the British Defence Adviser Captain Kenneth Taylor in recognition of the loss and sacrifice of their loved ones.

Commanding Officer Colonel Sean English read the exhortation as the single coffin was carried by members of the Royal Air Force’s Queen’s Colour Squadron and 47 Air Despatch Squadron Royal Logistics Corps.

He said: ‘There is something very personal to the air despatch community whenever you bury someone from that community.

‘We hold our forebears very dear and there is a clear linkage for the soldiers of today with the soldiers of the 1950s.’

Cpl Bryant’s RAF Dakota airplane took off from the Kota Bahu airfield in August 1950 to drop smoke markers for Lincoln bombers to bomb communist camps in the Malaysian jungle – but it never returned.

It was found to have suffered catastrophic engine failure while on its second target run.