|Philip Louis Ulric Cross
1 May 1917|
Port of Spain, Trinidad
|Died||4 October 2013
Port of Spain, Trinidad
|Service/branch||Royal Air Force|
|Years of service||1941–1947|
|Commands held||No 139 (Jamaica) Squadron|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Flying Cross
Cross was born on 1 May 1917, in Port of Spain, Trinidad, to Reginald Rufus and Maud Iris Cross. He was the second child in a family of nine. At the age of eleven, he passed the Exhibition Examination and was awarded one of eight annual government scholarships that qualified him for free secondary education. Cross came first in the island, achieving the highest marks scored nationally, and went on to attend St Mary's College. He was devastated by his mother's death when he was just 13 years old. His academic focus was completely derailed by this latter event and so, after completing five years of college education, he left school. His first job was with the Trinidad Guardian as a copy editor. Then he worked for about four years as a clerk to Leo Pujadas, Solicitor. When Cross turned twenty-one, he joined the Civil Service and worked for a while with the Trinidad Government Railways. In this job, his close colleague was J. O'Neil Lewis ("Scottie").
World War II service
In 1941, at the age of 24, Cross joined the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and served with RAF Bomber Command during the Second World War, attaining the rank of Squadron Leader. He was the only West Indian in his squadron. In June 1944 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and in January 1945 was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of his "fine example of keenness and devotion to duty" and "exceptional navigational ability". He was a member of the elite Pathfinder Force that perfected techniques for precision main force bombing. In his own words: "We did a lot of low-level daylight bombing. We flew at just 50 feet instead of the normal 25,000 feet. We dropped four 500-pound bombs. You flew in to your target at 50 feet and as you approached it you went up to 1,200 feet. You then did a shallow dive onto the target and released your bombs. The bomb had an 11-second delay, so you shot up to avoid the bomb blast. We went over in formation and we bombed in formation, but we came back independently". Cross flew 80 missions over Germany and occupied Europe as navigator of a Mosquito fighter-bomber, and was the model for the Black character Squadron Leader Charles Ford in Ken Follet's novel Hornet Flight.
From 1949 to 1953 he was legal adviser to the Controller of Imports and Exports, Trinidad and Tobago. He also lectured in Trade Union History and Trade Union Law at the Extra-Mural Department of the University of the West Indies, located in Trinidad. he returned to London where he became a Talks Producer with the BBC 1953-57). Subsequently, he practised law in Africa for many years: between 1958 and 1960 he worked in Ghana, where he was Crown Counsel and Senior Crown Counsel, and lectured in Criminal Law at the Ghana School of Law. Continuing his career in West Cameroon (1960–66), Cross was elevated to Senior Crown Counsel and Attorney General, was a Member of the Cabinet, the House of Chiefs and the House of Assembly Avocat-General at the Federal Court of Justice of the Republic of Cameroon. In 1967 he became a High Court judge in Tanzania, where from 1968 to 1970 he was chairman of the Permanent Labour Tribunal. He also served as a Professor of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, before returning to Trinidad in 1971 as a High Court judge. In 1979 Ulric Cross was elevated to the Court of Appeal. As chairman of the Law Reform Commission of Trindad and Tobago from 1982 to 1983, he made a significant contribution towards furthering the revision and development of the country’s laws. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, has acknowledged: "Some of his judgments changed the landscape of Trinidad and Tobago."
From 1990 to 1993 Ulric Cross served as High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago at the Court of St James's, UK, combining the position with that of Ambassador to both Germany and France. Previously, he had been appointed Chairman of the Commonwealth Foundation in 1983.
In April 1993, Cross co-founded a charitable non-profit organization called the Cotton Tree Foundation (CTF), to work with some of the most deprived communities in Port-of-Spain, aiming to combat high levels of poverty and unemployment through counselling, self-help, education and training projects. On his 90th birthday in 2007, the Ulric Cross Cotton Tree Endowment Fund was launched, to expand the work of the CTF to include a legal aid clinic, community sports programme and an art and music programme.
Cross has been the recipient of many awards and accolades. In 2011, at Trinidad and Tobago’s 49th Independence Day celebrations, he received the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the nation's highest award, for distinguished and outstanding service in the sphere of law. In June 2011, the Piarco Air Station was renamed the Ulric Cross Air Station. In 2012 a comic book entitled And Justice For All, The True Story Of A Local Hero was published in his honour in Trinidad by the Heroes Foundation, in their "Heroes of a Nation" series.
A documentary feature film by Frances-Anne Solomon inspired by the life of Ulric Cross is currently (2013) in production. His daughter Nicola Cross is the film's associate producer. Ulric Cross also has another daughter, arts administrator Sue Woodford-Hollick, Lady Hollick and a son, Richard Finch, an educator who currently works in South Africa.
- Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), 1944
- Distinguished Service Order (DSO), 1945
- Order of Merit - First Class, Federal Republic of Cameroon
- Order of Valour, Federal Republic of Cameroon
- Chaconia Gold Medal, Trinidad & Tobago, 1983
- Honorary Doctorate of Law, University of the West Indies
- Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 2011
- "First Instance Civil Procedure in Anglophonic Africa" (conference at University of Nairobi sponsored by the Max Planck Institute, Hamburg)
- "The Administration of Legal Systems in Developing Countires" (Law and Development Seminar at the University of Papua New Guinea)
- "Profile - Justice Ulric Cross".
- "Justice P L Ulric Cross", The Cotton Tree Foundation.
- "Justice P. L. Ulric Cross", Commonwealth Secretariat. Archived 5 July 2013 from www.thecommonwealth.org.
- "Endowment Fund for Cotton Tree founder", Newsday, 29 April 2007.
- "CIC Hall of Fame - 1 November", Catholic News, 30 October 2009.
- "Telling Our Stories By Any Means Necessary - Who Is Ulric Cross?" Caribbean Tales, 30 April 2012.
- "Heroes Foundation Features Ulric Cross", Caribbean New Media Group, 23 December 2012.
- "Philip Louis Ulric Cross", Caribbean aircrew in the RAF during WW2", quoting interview in Irving Andre and Gabriel Christian, For King and Country.
- Julien Neaves, "A Caribbean veteran remembered", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 5 July 2011.
- Martin Francis, The Flyer: British Culture and the Royal Air Force 1939-1945, Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 59.
- "Hornet Flight - The black hornet: UK war novel character inspired by Ulric Cross". Article by David Brewster from Trinidad Express, 25 January 2004, reprinted on Ken Follett website.
- "Black Hornet", Trinidadians in the RAF, Militarian.
- Cy Grant, "WWII Caribbean Air Crew Archive, A Permanent On-Line Archive of Caribbean Air Crew in the Royal Air Force, WW II". ItzCaribbean.com.
- Carol Matroo, "PM: TT has lost a true hero", Newsday, 6 October 2013.
- "PM pays tribute to Ulric Cross", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 5 October 2013.
- The Cotton Tree Foundation.
- "Cross celebrates", Newsday, 2 May 2007.
- "In their honour", Newsday, 1 September 2011.
- "48 National Awards -- Four receive T&T's highest award". Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 30 August 2011.
- National Awards 2011.
- Keino Swamber, "Of the Highest Order", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 30 August 2011.
- Zahra Gordon, "A hero's honour: Justice Ulric Cross", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 27 July 2011.
- "Cross is a hero of the Heroes Foundation", Guardian Media, 23 December 2012.
- Essiba Small, "Frances-Anne Solomon Illuminating the history of Caribbean people", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 29 March 2013.
- Maya Cross-Lovelace, "A HEROic Inspiration", 26 April 2013.
- "Ulric Cross", Frances-Anne Solomon website.
- "HERO - A Feature Documentary inspired by the Life of Ulric Cross".
- Raphael John-Lall, "Corporate T&T not investing in filmmaking", Guardian Media, 2 May 2013.
- Andre Alexander, "Cast, crew of Cross movie unveiled", Talk of Trinidad, Guardian Media, 16 April 2013.
- Carla Bridglal, "Ulric Cross dies at 96", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 4 October 2013.
- "Ulric Cross dies", Newsday, 5 October 2013.
- "Ulric Cross dies at 96", Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 5 October 2013.
- Irving W. Andre and Gabriel J. Christian, For King & Country: The Service and Sacrifice of the British West Indian Military, Pont Casse Press, 2009.
- "Phillip Louis Ulric Cross", Frances-Anne Solomon.
- Nicola Cross at "Ulric Cross - A Hero For All Time".
- "Philip Louis Ulric Cross", Caribbean aircrew in the RAF during WW2 - A record of West Indian volunteers who served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War (includes photographs).
- Sean Douglas, "World War II Airman Ulric Cross Recalls 'The Day I Almost Died'", Trinidad Express, 15 November 1999.
- Ulric Cross by Horace Ové. National Portrait Gallery.
- "Black Heroes of World War 2 (PT 2/2)". Presentation for 100 Black Men at Stratford Circus in 2006 - African/Caribbean unsung heroes: Sqdn Ldr Ulric Cross DFC. YouTube
- Val Simpson, "The Caribbean Connection".
- "West Indies Calling (1944)", BFI Films, at YouTube. "In this film, made during the Second World War by the Ministry of Information, a group of West Indians, led by Una Marson and Learie Constantine, assemble at Broadcasting House in London. They describe to listeners of a popular BBC radio series, Calling the West Indies, how people from the Caribbean are supporting the war effort. Constantine speaks about factory workers, and introduces some war-workers, including Ulric Cross, a bomber navigator from Trinidad. Cross tells of his work in the RAF...." (Stephen Bourne)
- "PM pays tribute to Ulric Cross", Trinidad Express Newspapers, 5 October 2013.
- "Ulric Cross, ace airman", Newsday, 5 October 2013.
- "Ulric Cross" (obituary), The Telegraph, 8 October 2013.
- Stephen Bourne, "Squadron Leader Ulric Cross: Pilot who went on to become a judge and diplomat", The Independent, 10 October 2013.
- "Pathfinder navigator who flew 80 sorties over occupied Europe and later became a judge and a High Commissioner", The Times, 11 October 2013.