Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2013 Contents BG6 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 2013 • WEEK ONE
Bio of Ulric Cross
Retired Trinidad judge Phillip Louis Ulric Cross was
squadron leader of 139 "Jamaica" Squadron.
He later held the position of chief liaison officer for
demobilisation of all colonial forces, ably assisted by
Jamaican-born flight lieutenant Dudley Thompson.
Cross served as a judge in Ghana, Cameroon, Tanza-
nia and T&T. He later served as ambassador of T&T to
Germany, France, Norway and High Commissioner to
the United Kingdom.
He spoke of his life, his military exploits and other
achievements in an April 2008 interview with Gabriel
J Christian, who wrote For King & Country - The Serv-
ice and Sacrifice of the Dominican Soldier, with Irving
"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
"We took the ship Strathall for 12 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 aim-
ing, 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
There were many
bases which had been
scattered across the
"I flew 30 missions
over Germany and oc-
cupied Europe. After
30 missions, one
earns a rest and can
divert to teaching
other pilots, etc. How-
ever, I was interested in continuing the mission. At 50
missions, they again asked me to take a rest. I de-
clined and flew 80 missions over Germany and occu-
pied 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 ad-
vised that I was awarded the Distinguished Service
Order. 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 1,000 served with other
West Indians as ground crew.
"Our Trinidadian contingent also had people of In-
dian, Chinese and European origin. I knew Dyrample of
Dominica (Edward Scobie) and would meet him when
we went down to London. Dudley Thompson of Ja-
maica was a flight officer and he was my assistant at
the Colonial Office after the war."
The local business com-
munity needs to be
convinced it is prof-
itable to invest in T&T s
film industry, said
executive producer of
the locally produced
Hero is a 75-minute feature documentary
inspired by the life of T&T national and
retired judge Ulric Cross, now 94, whose
life achievements spans being a pilot in World
War 11 to an adviser in post-independence
In 1941, Cross entered the United King-
dom s Royal Air Force and became the most
decorated West Indian squadron leader of
World War II.
He also played a key role in the post-
independence political development of
African countries like Ghana, Cameroon and
Tanzania, and was even an adviser to Ghana s
Cross s life spanned many decades and
historical eras. Work on the film began about
five years ago and it has passed through dif-
ferent stages. The filmmakers hope to com-
plete the documentary in 2014.
They expect to promote the film locally
and internationally once production is fin-
ished. CaribbeanTales WorldWide Distri-
bution is the company that will be distrib-
uting the film around the world.
Stewart spoke to the Business Guardian
last month at Medulla Art Gallery, Fitt Street,
"The technology has taken us into a com-
pletely new era. The digital technology has
made films relatively accessible and cheap.
T&T Film Company, on behalf of the Gov-
ernment, is giving a rebate of 150 per cent
of the contribution to film, up to $2 million,"
"When I spoke to people about making
financial contributions to the film, nobody
picked up on that. I do not know if the con-
cept of film is so new to the corporate sector
The film would cost roughly $3 million
by the time it is completed, which, Stewart
said, is "not much."
She said people are no longer reading and
film is a good way to spread messages.
"First of all, our stories need to be told
and there are a million of them in this coun-
try, but they are not being told. People are
not reading any more. People are looking at
videos and it is a medium to make it acces-
sible. It would seem to me that business
people should understand the potential for
"First of all, if they make contributions,
they get the tax rebates and they get men-
tioned in the credits of the film. And this
film will be shown in the region and inter-
nationally. The advertising reach for those
who invest in this is worldwide and their
name will be all over the place."
Stewart, a management consultant by
profession, said this is the first time she is
producing a film, getting funding for which
has been a challenge.
"I have already applied to Ontario Arts
Council and they have provided money for
it and I have also applied to the Canadian
Federal Council, but I have not heard from
them as yet. Apart from the $100,000 the
T&T Film Company invested, I do not have
any government funding and it is not that
I did not try to get it."
The hunt for funding does not take away
from T&T s filmmaking potential.
"The technology is easy now. People have
a camera, equipment and they record. With
technology, it is very easy to shoot complex
scenes. At the end of it, it looks like a Hol-
lywood film," she said.
The filmmaking industry also generates
"In making a film, there is the director,
producer, sound system and each of those
has about two or three spin offs," she said.
She said T&T s corporate world would be
making a mistake to ignore the potential of
a film industry.
"I would say that the business community
is very foolish not to see the potential in this
because of the advertising reach, and because
of the jobs it creates, then there is the 150
per cent rebate they get. I do not understand
how the business community cannot see
the benefits of this," she said.
Among the corporate entities the film has
partnered with are: American Chamber of
Commerce T&T, BG T&T, Kalloo s Auto
Rentals, Taxi Service and Tours, Medulla Art
Gallery, the National Gas Company, the
National Lotteries Control Board, Kapok
Hotel, T&T Film Company and Veni Mange
The film has already been certified by the
Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism.
Stewart said all sponsors will be advertised
with name, logo and branding in the film
Stewart referred to the movie, Home Again,
that was shot in T&T in 2012 and premiered
in the first week of April at MovieTowne.
The cast of Home Again includes Fresh
Prince of Bel Air s Tatyana Ali, Canadian
rock star, FeFe Dobson and CCH Pounder,
from the Shield, Avatar, Baghdad Cafe and
Law and Order.
The Canadian film tells the story of three
young people who were deported from met-
ropolitan cities back to their homeland---
Jamaica---and the challenges they face in
coming to terms with the reality of being in
a strange place with no family, no money
and no support systems.
The movie used 1,200 local actors and
extras at such locations as the Piarco Inter-
national Airport, Sea Lots and Long Circular
"The film, Home Again, about Jamaica
was shot here. That is because the T&T Film
Industry is giving all kinds of concessions
for filming here. So a Canadian company
makes a film about Jamaica and shoots in
T&T to get access to resources.
"We are not taking advantage of that,"
Stewart said. "If others are doing it, so should
Corporate T&T not
investing in filmmaking
Film about World War II fighter pilot
Ulric Cross in need of funding
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