Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Ulric Cross is recognised as one of the most decorated Caribbean airman of WWII. He was born in Trinidad in 1917, Cross joined the RAF aged 24. He trained as a navigator and joined 139 Squadron, gaining the nickname ‘The Black Hornet’.
Cross became an expert in precision bombing and joined the ranks of the elite Pathfinder Force, often flying missions at just 50 feet instead of the normal 25,000 feet. After 50 missions, Cross was given the option to rest. He refused and volunteered for a further 30 missions. By the war’s end, Cross had flown 80 missions over enemy territory and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Service Order.
After the war, Cross qualified as a lawyer, and he briefly worked as a talks producer at the BBC’s Caribbean Service. Before being recruited by fellow Trinidadian George Padmore, one of the architects of Pan-Africanism, to travel to Ghana to help Kwame Nkrumah in his work seeking to unite Africa’s emerging nations.
During Cross’s 15 years in Africa, he served on Ghana’s Crown Council. He was also Attorney General in Cameroon, a High Court Judge in Tanzania and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Dar Es Salaam.
Cross then returned to Trinidad where he served as a High Court judge and on the Court of Appeal, later becoming Chair of the country’s Law Reform Commission. He was posted to London as Trinidad and Tobago’s High Commissioner to the UK from 1990 to 1993.