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Paul Bryan

Sir Paul Elmore Oliver Bryan DSO MC (3 August 1913 – 11 October 2004) was a British Conservative politician.

Sir Paul Bryan
Personal details
Born Paul Elmore Oliver Bryan
(1913-08-03)3 August 1913
Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan
Died 11 October 2004(2004-10-11) (aged 91)
Sawdon, North Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservatives
Betty Hoyle
(m. 1939; d. 1968)

Cynthia Duncan (née Ashley Cooper (m. 1971)
Children Elizabeth Bryan born 1942. Felicity Bryan born 1945. Bernadette Bryan born 1948
Occupation Politician Farmer and Company Director


Early lifeEdit

Bryan was born in Karuizawa, Japan, the seventh of nine children of The Rev Ingram Bryan. He lived in Japan until he was eight and then returned to England and was educated at St John's School, Leatherhead. He studied Modern Languages at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where he took great interest in sport, playing cricket and rugby - he was scrum half in the college rugby team where he played alongside his friend Iain Macleod, the future Tory Chancellor. After graduating he worked in Halifax, Yorkshire, where he met his first wife Betty Hoyle. They were married in 1939.[citation needed]

Military careerEdit

Paul Bryan had a distinguished wartime career. He served with the Royal West Kent Regiment during World War II. He entered as a private soldier and attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel gaining the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order. In 1942 he fought first in North Africa as part of the Torch Landings. He was given command of 6th Battalion for the invasion of Sicily and then Italy in September 1943. For his "outstanding" leadership shown in the capture of Centuripe, Bronte and Monte Rivoglia in Sicily, he was awarded a DSO. After leading his battalion at Monte Cassino, he finished the war as commandant of a training unit established at Barmouth, Wales. Here he brought his wartime colleagues Denis Forman and Fred Majdelaney as instructors.[citation needed]

Political careerEdit

After the war he worked in Sowerby Bridge where he started to take an interest in politics. He contested Sowerby in 1949, 1950 and 1951. In 1955 he became Member of Parliament for Howden in the East Riding of Yorkshire, and later for Boothferry from 1983 until he retired in 1987. In 1956, Edward Heath, then Chief Whip, invited him to become a whip. He was vice-chairman of the Conservative Party 1961-65, a whip 1956 and 1958–61, and Minister for Employment from 1970 to 1972. Bryan was one of the first Tory MPs after the Labour victories of 1974 to suggest openly that it was time for Edward Heath to resign. In the leadership contest of 1975, he served on William Whitelaw's campaign committee. He was captain of the Parliamentary Golf Society and vice-chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee from 1977 to 1987.[citation needed]

Through his wartime friend Denis Forman he became involved in Granada Television where Sidney Bernstein invited him to be join the board. He assembled the consortium which gained the licence for Piccadilly Radio in Manchester. He was chairman of Croydon Cable Television from 1985.[citation needed]

Having been brought up in The Far East he took a great interest in Japan and China. He was chairman of the All-Party Hong Kong Parliamentary Group from 1974 to 1987. He made many friends among political leaders and businessmen both in the colony and in mainland China. He took Chris Patten on his first visit to Hong Kong and later took great interest in the negotiations for the transfer of the colony to China. He took a practical approach to the negotiations. He had immense sympathy for the people of Hong Kong but believed that a handover to China was unavoidable; at the same time, he remained optimistic about the prospects for the colony under Chinese rule.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

He had three daughters: Dr Elizabeth Bryan, a paediatrian, Felicity Bryan, a literary agent and writer, and Bernadette Hingley who was one of the first women priests in the Church of England.[citation needed]

In 1971 he married Cynthia Duncan, daughter of Sir Patrick Ashley Cooper and the widow of Patrick Duncan and gained four stepchildren: Patrick Duncan, Alex Duncan, Ann Duncan and Emma Duncan.[citation needed]

He had a passion for golf which he learned from his first father-in-law James Hoyle. He played regularly at Ganton Golf Course until his last years. He was President of Ganton Golf Club. While he never considered himself a good golfer, he gained fame in 1962 by hitting two holes-in-one in one round. After his death, members of the club placed a bench, inscribed with his name, on the course from which you can see both the holes. He became a Knight Bachelor in 1972.[1]


  1. ^ "No. 45678". The London Gazette. 23 May 1972. p. 6255. 
Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Howden
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Boothferry
Succeeded by
David Davis