Black History Month: A Time For Change

Ministry of Defence
2 min readOct 21, 2022


Black History Month — Powerful Stories of Amazing People

This Black History Month we celebrate black service personnel throughout history and to this day.

Follow along as we share the stories of some incredible people and their contributions to the UK’s Armed Forces.

‘The Black Hornet’ Squadron Leader Ulric Cross

A black and white photograph of Philip Louis Ulric Cross in RAF uniform

Philip Louis Ulric Cross, born in Trinidad in 1917 — served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and lived an inspirational life.

After the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF welcomed black volunteers from West Africa and the Caribbean. Cross joined the Royal Air Force’s elite Pathfinder Force as a navigator and played his part in preventing Nazi airmen from shooting down RAF bombers.

During Ulric’s service he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Distinguished Service Order, two of the RAF’s highest honours. An honour he long dreamed of as a teenager growing up in Trinidad.

A black and white photograph of Caribbean RAF male volunteers sitting for a group photo.
RAF Museum: Carribbean RAF volunteers taken in 1945. Ulric Cross seated third from right.

‘The world was drowning in fascism and America wad not yet in the war, so I decided to do something about it and volunteered to fight in the RAF.’

‘The whole idea of being in the RAF was romantic’

Known by his colleagues as ‘The Black Hornet’, Cross held the rank Squadron Leader and is one the most decorated West Indian airmen who flew during the Second World War.

When Squadron Leader Cross left the RAF in 1947, he went on to practice law in Ghana and Tanzania, before being appointed High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago in 1990.

A photograph of Squadron Leader Ulric Cross with his military medals on his suit.

Squadron Leader Philip Louis Ulric Cross passed away at the age of 96 on 4 October 2013.



Ministry of Defence

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