Picture right: A mixed group of RAF-officers. Ulric Cross (front row, 3rd from right) and Johnny Smythe (from Sierra Leone, front row, 2nd from right) are the only persons identified in this photograph so far. We invite our visitors to share the names of any person they recognise. [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.
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]
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