James Cross

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James Cross
James Richard Cross

(1921-09-29) 29 September 1921 (age 99)
Known forKidnapped during October Crisis

James Richard Cross CMG (born 29 September 1921) is an Irish-born British former diplomat who, while posted in Canada, was kidnapped by Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) terrorists during the October Crisis of October 1970.[1]

Born in Ireland[2] and known by his friends as "Jasper" during World War II, Cross served with the British Army and fought for the liberation of France. In 1944, he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers[1] Movement Control Section. After the war he joined the diplomatic service and eventually served as a Trade Commissioner in Halifax, Winnipeg, and Kuala Lumpur, before becoming senior Trade Commissioner in Montreal.

Cross went on to serve as Under-Secretary in various divisions of Britain's Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Energy.[2] In 1971, he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG).


On 5 October 1970, Cross was abducted at gunpoint from his British diplomatic residence at 1297 Redpath Crescent, in the Golden Square Mile district of Montreal, and held as a hostage for two months as the FLQ made a series of demands to the Quebec government.[3] He was released on 3 December, after 1 month, 28 days in captivity. In exchange for his release, his abductors would get safe passage to Cuba. The talks were held at the Canada Pavilion, located on Notre Dame Island, the site of Expo 67. This site was declared Cuban territory for the period of the talks.[3]

Six members of the FLQ's "Liberation Cell" were later convicted of Cross's kidnapping when they returned to Canada over time.[4]

Cross said of his kidnapping: "They told me about 10:00 o'clock on Wednesday evening that they had[clarification needed], the police knew where I was. Nothing much happened for about the next four hours. Then the power was cut at I think around 2:00 in the morning. I was in bed at the time; they got me up. They handcuffed me, they took me into a corridor in the middle of the house. They handcuffed me to a doorknob and I spent the night. It's a very uncomfortable position."[3] In 2010, on the 40th anniversary of the day that sparked the October Crisis, Cross agreed to speak to CBC Radio's The Current about the events surrounding his kidnapping.[5] There is also a transcript of a taped memoir online, uploaded by Churchill College.[6]

In fiction[edit]

Cross is depicted as a character in the novels The Revolution Script by Brian Moore and My October by Claire Holden Rothman. His kidnapping is also the basis for Edo van Belkom's short story "The October Crisis".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The October Crisis". HISTOR!CA. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b Gervais, Lisa-Marie (2 October 2010). "James Cross en entrevue au Devoir - "J'ai toujours cru que j'allais mourir" (James Cross interview with Le Devoir - "I was sure the whole time that I was going to die")". Le Devoir.
  3. ^ a b c "Canadian Kidnappings: 1970 Year in Review, UPI.com". Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  4. ^ The October Crisis Archived 13 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine. truTV. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  5. ^ AUDIO: CBC interviews FLQ kidnapping victim. CBC News, 5 October 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  6. ^ "James Cross Taped Memoir" (PDF).

External links[edit]