Philip Louis Ulric Cross

Picture right: A mixed group of RAF-officers.

A group of colored RAF-officers. Front row, from left: [1] unknown, from Jamaica or Belize; [2] Dusty Miller, from Guyana; [3] S/L Corbett (liason); [4] Ulric Cross, from Trinidad; [5] Johnny Smythe, from Sierra Leone; [6] Mark Walker, from Trinidad; Second row from left: [1] E.A. Gordon from Jamaica; [4] Percy Messiah, from Trinidad; [5] possibly his brother C.A. Messiah from Trinidad; [6] Vivian Thomas from Manchester, Jamaica; [7] Jellicoe Scoon from Grenada. Third row from left: [1] E.R Braithwaite from Guyana? The rest are as yet unknown to us. We invite our visitors to share the names of any person they recognise. [Names courtesy P.L.U. Cross a.o.; Photograph courtesy Audrey Elcombe, copyright unknown - click to enlarge] [Photographs: MOD (left) and AE]

1399189 – F/O – P.L.U. Cross – Trinidad – Ach/P. – attested 19.11.41 commissioned 20.10.423 – DFC 29.6.44 [Source: NA AIR 2/6876 - Nominal Roll of Coloured Candidates, October 1944] Squadron Leader – DFC, DSO – Observer – 139 (Jamaica) Sqn – Mosquito Received the DSO in recognition of his ‘fine example of keennes and devotion to duty’ and ‘exceptional navigational ability’ Born 1917, educated CIC, enlisted 1941; Bomber Command; 8 Group; Pathfinder Sqn; 80 missions; awarded DFC June 1944; DSO Nov 1944 Appears in Hornet Flight by Ken Follet [Source: CG, CMHA, MOD] Black Hornet Squadron Leader Philip Louis Ulric Cross, DSO, DFC (Trinidad & Tobago) 139 (Jamaica) Squadron RAF Bomber Command Squadron Leader Ulric Cross was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944 for his gallantry during the Second World War. While serving as a Pilot Officer with 139 (Jamaica) Squadron, he participated in bombing attacks across occupied Europe. In 1945 he was also awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in recognition of his ‘fine example of keenness and devotion to duty’ and ‘exceptional navigational ability’. [MOD] Squadron Leader Ulric Cross was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944 for his gallantry during the Second World War. While serving as a Pilot Officer with 139 (Jamaica) Squadron, he participated in bombing attacks across occupied Europe. In 1945 he was also awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in recognition of his ‘fine example of keenness and devotion to duty’ and ‘exceptional navigational ability’. [Source: www.WW2chat.com] World War II airman Ulric Cross recalls ‘The day I almost died’ 139 (Jamaica) Squadron Pathfinders

 

Here is a photo of the legendary Squadron Leader (139 “Jamaica” Squadron)  Phillip Louis Ulric Cross, DFC, DSO, of Trinidad. He later held the position of Chief Liaison Officer for Demobilization of all Colonial Forces, ably assisted by Jamaican born Flight Lieutenant Dudley Thompson. Squadron Leader Cross is alive at 91 after having served as a Judge in Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania and Trinidad. Later he served as ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to Germany, France, Norway and High Commissioner to the UK.  Amazingly, he still writes opinion and is as lucid and aware as can be imagined. I am in regular contact with him and we are trying to bring him to the US for interviews preliminary to a documentary.

[Picture below copyright Ean Flanders]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phillip Louis Ulric Cross, DFC, DSO World War II Royal Air Force Squadron Leader (139 “Jamaica Squadron”) Excerpt of April 2008 interview of by Gabriel J. Christian – For King & Country (Irving Andre & Gabriel Christian) After high school [at St. Mary’s Port of Spain], I worked for a while with the  [Trinidad] government on the railroad. But by 1941, Britain stood alone. Dunkirk had been a defeat for Britain and Hitler had conquered all of Europe. The world was drowning in fascism and America was not yet in the war, so I decided to do something about it and volunteered to fight in the RAF.  We took the ship Strathall for twelve days days, straight to Greenock. A lorry awaited us and took us straight into the uniform of the RAF and training. So from November 1941 to November 1942, I trained at Cranwell on the wireless, did meteorology, bomb aiming, navigation and Morse code. I graduated as a Pilot Officer and was assigned to Bomber Command I served as a navigator in the Pathfinder section of 139 squadron; the famous “Jamaica Squadron” of the RAF.  The pathfinders led the way on bombing raids and marked the target; a most dangerous task.  Our unit flew the famous Mosquito bomber, which was made mainly of wood. Jamaica had paid for many of the planes of 139 squadron, hence the name.  There was also a Trinidad Squadron, where Trinidad had paid for those planes. I was the only West Indian on my squadron. I was lucky to have served at fixed pre war bases such as Marham, Wyton and Upwood. The fixed bases were more comfortable. There were many other temporary bases which had been scattered across the United Kingdom.  I flew 30 missions over Germany and occupied Europe. After 30 missions one earns a rest and can divert to teaching other pilots etc. However, I was interested in continuing the mission. At 50 missions, they again asked me to take a rest. I declined and flew 80 missions over Germany and occupied Europe before the war ended.  I did 22 missions over Berlin and made it through much flak; but one had to focus on the mission. My most harrowing mission was when one of the engines of our Mosquito fighter-bomber was shot up over Germany and we came down to 7,000 feet from 35,000 feet. We struggled back to England and crash landed in a quarry. It was a narrow escape but we made it out alive. The navigator is key, as we are the ones who tell the pilot how to get to and from the destination or target.   I ended the war as a squadron leader and was then sent to the Colonial Office to act as liaison for all colonial forces. It was there that I was phoned and advised that I was awarded the DSO. A plane was sent for me and I was given the award and we had a party. In all 250 Trinidadians flew in combat in the RAF during the war and 50 died in action. Many hundreds more, maybe more than a thousand, served with other West Indians, as ground crew. I knew the Jamaican Vincent Bunting; he was a fighter pilot and I believe he flew in the Battle of Britain. I met him in England. Julian Marryshow of Grenada was also a fighter pilot and he is still alive, I believe.  Osborne (should read Osmond, see remark below) Kelsick of Montserrat was a fighter pilot. I met Michael Manley of Jamaica in London, still in the uniform of the Royal Canadian Air Force and we became friends.  Billy Strachan of Jamaica was a bomber pilot.  Winston Racile and Gilbert Hubah came to England with me on the Strathall; they were both of East Indian origin and became RAF fighter pilots. Our Trinidadian contingent also had people of Indian, Chinese and European origin.  I knew Dyrample of Dominica (Edward Scobie) and would meet him when we went down to London.  Dudley Thompson of Jamaica was a flight officer and he was my assistant at the Colonial Office after the war. [Courtesy Gabriel Christian]

33 additions to “Philip Louis Ulric Cross”

  1. Natasha Kelsick adds:

    I have read the above with interest. I am the niece of Osmond Kelsick, my uncle (Father’s broter) who was a squadron leader and awarded the DFC Kindly correct the spelling of his name – Osmond and not Osborne – as indicated above.

    Thank you and sincere regards,

    Natasha Kelsick

  2. james waterlow adds:

    wow iwas really interested i am currently doing a project for famous black people and i picked mary seacole and you
    when were you born?
    what was it like in world war 2?
    what was it like when you crashed?

  3. Catherine V. Brooks adds:

    I believe that I am a relative of the Hon. Ulric Cross as I am the grand-daughter of an uncle, Henry Cross, of Port of Spain. My mother, Rose Jordan Cross told me the story of her famous first cousin, the Hon.Ulric Cross, whom she was very proud of as a child in Port of Spain. Hopefully, I will meet this famous man on one of my trips to Trinidad and Tobago.

  4. kiran dominic adds:

    i am proud to be a trinidadian, to know hon. ulric cross who fought for the freedom of world also the others whom have died in doing so.

  5. Anne Cross adds:

    I am Anne Cross, Ulric’s niece. I read the note from Catherine Brooks. Henry is related. I would like her to contact me. If you could please forward my e-mail address to her.
    Thank you.

  6. Winston Ross Eversley adds:

    My Father Winston Leon Eversley served in the RAF during World War Two
    and met my Mother Williamina Jane Ross also served in the RAF during World War Two. My Mother died in Glasgow in 1949 when I was only 3 years old. I never seen my Mother or Father I have not seen any of my Children either.
    I still live without seeing my Children
    Winston Eversley.

  7. vivienne blake adds:

    Ulric was my first boss in the early fifties, when I was 17 and he was a BBC producer in the BBC Overseas Service. If you are reading this, Ulric, I should love to hear from you.

  8. Sonia Anderson-Cross adds:

    I am Hon.Ulric’s Cross niece (Urban Cross daughter)living in Germany
    since 51 years. I see my Uncle Ulric on a regular basis, he has stayed with us here in Germany quite often.I have been also doing some research on his Father’s family who emigrated to the USA. I have found some and know that a Henry Cross (his father’s brother) married a Scottish lady, had 3 children (who I think passed away) and their `children live maybe still in England. I would like to contact Catherine V.Brooks who according to her details, may be the missing link to the Ulric Cross family ties. Please contact me,Sonia Anderson-Cross, at the above given email address. This would be a “WOW” if you are the missing family.

  9. Shaun Downey adds:

    Firstly may I congratulate you on such an excellent website. Many people forget what a truly international force the RAF was during WWII.

    My father met Ulric at the annual Pathfinder day at RAF Wyton (Pathfinder Force HQ during WWII) in 2008. Sadly I was unable to attend myself that year but I have a en electronic copy of the group photo which includes Mr Cross. the link is

    http://thepoormouth.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/ww-pathfinder-sunday-2008.html

    Sadly the march of time means that fewer pathfinders attend each year but it is always touching to see the high regard that the veterans are held but current RAF personnel. Feel free to use the photo f you wish.

  10. Shaun Downey adds:

    My apologies for the typos!

  11. Emil Mondoa adds:

    I remember Mr Cross as a child in West Cameroon, when he served as that country’s Attorney General. I ran a couple of errands to their residence for my mother. I did not know what a distinguished man he is, though he looked very intense and intelligent back then, even in the eyes of a child.

  12. Maureen Dickson adds:

    I am working on a Documentary that includes Ulric Cross DFC.DSO, The Documentary is about people of colour who fought in the wars, on Briton’s behalf. I met him in the UK 2 years ago and then again in Trinidad last year. He is a great role model for people of all ages and colour, and I feel privilege to have met him. I found him to be factual,with a great sense of hummer and wish him nothing but the best.

  13. Jerome Lee adds:

    It is with great sadness that I learnt this morning that Ulric Cross died yesterday afternoon Friday 4th October, peacefully at home.

    Funeral announcements have not yet been made.

  14. Jerome Lee adds:

    Link to the Newsday paper http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,184554.html

  15. Jerome Lee adds:

    Trinidad Guardian http://m.guardian.co.tt/news/2013-10-05/ulric-cross-dies-96

    Newsday  http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,184554.html

    Trinidad Express http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Ulric-Cross-dies-at-96-226540861.html

    Sorry, I am posting using iphone and copy/pasting very fiddly!

  16. viv blake adds:

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of that great man, Ulric Cross. I have fond memories of him and his infectious laughter. My sympathy to his family.

  17. Gabriel Christian adds:

    Dear Mr. Lee we join with you and all those who engage in the preservation of our noble Caribbean heritage by extending our condolences to the Cross family.

    I just got word from Nicola Cross that her father RAF WW II hero Phillip Louis Cross had died in Port of Spain, Trinidad at 96 on October 4, 2013. Cross who later became Attorney General of Cameroon, and an esteemed judge in Ghana and Tanzania had – in 1941 – rushed to the defense of Britain in what Prime Minister Winston Churchill called its darkest hour. After the war he became a leader in the legendary West Indian Student Union (five of whose board members became Prime Ministers) and did West Indian and other programming on BBC – or so I was reliably informed by him and others in the know.

    There is actually an old film from WWII filmed at the BBC studios in which a young Cross, in RAF uniform, addresses the West Indies, alongside the great West Indian cricketer Lord Learie Constantine.

    Cross was the highest ranking West Indian World War II veteran still alive (until yesterday) and certainly one of the few officers left of the legendary 139 Pathfinder Squadron of RAF Bomber Command.

    I have been advised by Nicola Cross that there will be a memorial service at the WWII RAF Memorial square in Port of Spain on Friday, October 11, 2013.

    We here salute Hans Klootwik for his selfless duty in maintaining this site, as with Mr Kelshall and Lee in Trinidad at the Military Museum.

    May the soul of Squadron Leader Cross rest in peace.

    Best regards

  18. kenneth wright adds:

    REST IN PEACE SIR AND THANK YOU FOR HELPING KEEP THE WORLD FREE FROM NAZI TYRANNY

  19. Carol Mayers adds:

    I am Carol Mayers, the daughter of Uncle Ulric’s only sister (Dorothy Anne Mayers). I am so grateful for this site and it’s articles. I am learning history about my Uncle and members of my family tree that I knew nothing about. I sure would like to know more. My Uncle lived a full life to tell the stories of WWII.

  20. Jerome Lee adds:

    Local TT media reports on the Memorial service held for Ulric on Friday 11th October at Memorial Park Port of Spain
    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Do-like-Ulric-Cross-227466901.html

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,184915.html

    http://m.guardian.co.tt/news/2013-10-12/carmona-hard-act-follow

  21. MelissaGordon adds:

    The 2nd row 1st on the left is my Dad, F/O Egbert A Gordon from Jamaica. He left Jamaica to join the RAF with his lifetime friend, Vincent A Bunting and they flew and served with distinction together. Both married British ladies and had British born children, Dad had 3 in England 1 in New York, Vin had 1 in England, 1 in Antigua and 1 in Jamaica. At the end of the war, Dad took his family to New York where his Mother had migrated, and Vincent Bunting moved to Antigua, and then later back to Jamaica. This photo has always been in our family along with many more from Dad’s RAF days and we are proud of his service and to identify our loving Father on this site.

  22. Gabriel Christian adds:

    Dear Ms Gordon:

    Thanks for your comments.

    Kindly contact me at 301-218-9400; as we flesh out the history of the RAF veterans of WWII we would welcome your cooperation, to include photos and memoirs. Thanks and God bless your Dad and the other veterans who sacrificed much so we would enjoy freedom.

  23. Dennis T. Olivier adds:

    Dear Ms Gordon, The Trinidad and Tobago Branch RAFA No 1075 is trying to make contact with members of the RAFA Brooklyn Branch No 1255. Your dad Flt Lt E. Gordon was once President of this Branch.
    They visited Trinidad sometime ago and I would like to get more information on the Branch, whether or not any members are still alive and contact information etc.

    Dennis T. Olivier
    Chairman RAFA TT Branch No1075
    20 Queen’s Park East, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
    Tel 1868 – 223 – 7291
    email: rafa.1075.tt@gmail.com

  24. Michael Arnold adds:

    I knew Ulric in the Cameroons in 1962 and I remember him well as man of immense charm and intelligence.

    I thought I did well when I occasionally beat him at squash, little knowing then the he was 18 years my senior!

    Rest in peace Ulric, there are very few like you.

  25. Paul Chambers adds:

    On Sunday 29th of September,2013 the WEST INDIAN ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE PERSONNEL held a march and parade in windrush square Brixton, London. There after there was a reception at our premises honouring the life of Sir Ulric. At the reception we presented a recent portrait of him made from wood which was unveiled by David Hickson Of the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission. We also renamed our hall THE ULRIC CROSS HALL.
    At the time we did not realized how significant that day would become for us in five days time. We are honoured to have done this before the 3rd of October.
    At our Remembrance service on Sunday 10 November, we will make special mention as re remember our fallen comrades

  26. Jerome Lee adds:

    Contact information for the West Indian Association of Service Personnel:
    Capt. Paul Chambers Ret’d
    Secretary 
    WASP 
    161- 167 Clapham Manor St
    Clapham, London.SW4 6DB
    sec.wasp@hotmail.co.uk
    0-7956100-089

  27. Jenifer Granger born Sacks adds:

    Ulric Cross was my godfather, a friend of my parents in Trinidad. We left for the Gold Coast (Ghana) and he came later in 1957-58. I remember him as a guest in our house in Accra. To charm us children, he put on the ‘Two Little Dicky Birds’ show, with pieces of paper stuck on his fingertips. I still have the sound of his voice, droll and serious, in my ears as he said: ‘Fly away Peter, fly away Paul, Come back Peter, Come back Paul.’ When I tried, Peter never came back and Paul never flew away! The grown ups had wonderful parties at the time. In 1992, my parents went for a holiday in Trinidad. When they got to London, they couldn’t board without a visa. Travel agent’s fault. British West Indian Airways hired a taxi to take them to get a visa from the Trinidad High Commissioner – who turned out to be their old chum Ulric. They arranged to meet him in London on the way back, and caught up. I am not sure that other events recounted by my mother now age 94, are the reality – she claims some of the information published by him is not true. If anyone is doing research or a biography on him, I don’t mind passing on one or two things to be checked. My parents kept in touch for a long time. He was a great guy.

  28. Maureen Dickson adds:

    Ulric Cross was a great man in my eyes.
    I met him while in the process of to make a Documentary about Caribbean Air Crew and Soldiers.
    ( not completed as yet- looking for contributors)

    I met him on one of his last trips to London, in order to collect a medal at one of the Embassy’s.
    After visiting the Embassy, I interviewed him for the Documentary.
    He was intelligent, articulate, had a great sense of hummer, immense charm, with a quick mind even at his great age, I felt privileged to have known him.
    I spoke to him in September, my last words were that “I will speak to you in two weeks” that did not happen unfortunately.
    I feel a void now that he has gone, not only because I met and spoke to him, but because the world has lost a great guy. Rest in Peace Ulric you will be greatly missed by all.
    Maureen Dickson
    Maureen1208@sky.com

  29. Vagner B. Rabelo adds:

    Olá a despeito da pessoa Phillip Louis Cross, saberiam informar se o mesmo esteve no Brasil por volta do fim da década de 60 inicio dos anos da década de 70, pois procuro uma pessoa a qual se chama ….Louis cross, o qual seria estrangeiro e segundo minha mãe o mesmo vem a ser meu pai biológico. meu contato é vagner2069@hotmail.com tks

  30. Vagner B. Rabelo adds:

    Olá a despeito da pessoa Phillip Louis Cross, saberiam informar se o mesmo esteve no Brasil por volta do fim da década de 60 inicio dos anos da década de 70, pois procuro uma pessoa a qual se chama ….Louis cross, o qual seria estrangeiro e segundo minha mãe o mesmo vem a ser meu pai biológico. meu contato é vagner2069@hotmail.com

    cellfon 55-11-77791145

    tks.

  31. Ian Gawn adds:

    In 1992 I was OC Admin at RAF Wyton and was involved in the 50th Anniversary Pathfinder Reunion. My meeting and conversation with Ulrich Cross has remained with me to this day. A most impressive man, with no airs or graces yet an admirable person to represent his country as High commissioner. I am honoured to have met him, a man of whom his family and country may be justly proud. RIP

  32. Sonia Anderson-Cross adds:

    I am still trying to contact Catherine V. Brooks, who appears to be a member of the Ulric Cross family. I am Sonia Anderson-Cross, my Uncle Ulric’s eldest brother “Urban’s” daughter. Please send her my email address. Thanks so much.

  33. william kerr adds:

    Reference to photo of airmen with Ulric Cross. Can anybody confirm that one member – Jellicoe Scoon – was stationed at Heathfield aerodrome near Ayr Scotland, also noted in website that he had a granddaughter. My father told me of his friendship with an airman who was stationed next to a village called Whitletts. During the war he became friendly with this airman. One interesting memory is that he left his old grammophone records when he was transferred to another station. Many thanks

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