Former TTCF cadet Shines at Black History Month at RAF Marham

As Armistice Day draws near, members of the UK Armed Forces recognise our history of those who served during Black History Month. In one such event, a former cadet, and former Cadet Force Adult (now Royal Navy Petty Officer Joseph) shone through the playing of the Last Post on a tenor pan, and by organising the event mentioned herein.

This article was republished from RAF Marham.


As part of Black History Month, Royal Air Force Marham hosted the Royal Air Force Black History Roadshow this week with a number of events happening across the Station.

On Wednesday 19th October there was an unveiling of a plaque at the Royal Air Force Marham Aviation Heritage Centre memorial wall in memory of the late Squadron Leader Ulric Cross DFC, DSO. Squadron Leader Cross was the most decorated Caribbean airman of the Second World War. Squadron Leader Cross trained as a navigator and was posted to 139 (Jamaica) Squadron at RAF Marham in 1944. The unit was so named as it flew bombers paid for by the people of Jamaica. Squadron Leader Cross joined the Pathfinder Force where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The Pathfinder Force had the dangerous and difficult task of marking targets accurately for bombing raids, during which they were targeted by German searchlights followed by flak and bullets. On one occasion flak destroyed one of the engines of the Mosquito that Cross was flying in, they returned back to the UK over German territory at a reduced speed and with only one engine. In 1944, Squadron Leader Cross was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his ‘fine example of keenness and devotion to duty’.

A short memorial service was held at the RAF Marham Heritage Centre to recognise the service of the late Sqn Ldr Ulric Cross ORTT CM DCO DFC. A plaque was unveiled on the memorial wall to honour his dedication and service to the United Kingdom. In continuance to CAFHQ’s drive for ensuring that individuals who have gone above and beyond are recognised and their achievements highlighted, the main conference room within the CAFHQ was renamed in an additional ceremony after the late Sqn Ldr Ulric Cross. RAF Marham is the home of the F-35B Lightning, a 5th Generation, multi-role, stealth fighter. The Station is also home to a range of engineering support functions from maintenance to frontline support.

The memorial plaque was unveiled by one of Sqn Ldr Cross’ daughters, Lady Hollick OBE. The Kohima Epitaph was read by one of the students from Cherry Tree Academy Marham followed by the Last Post and Reveille played on the steel pan.

Ahead of the unveiling World War II veterans Ralph Ottey and Alford Gardner were presented with medals from Royal Air Force Marham Station Commander, Group Captain Fred Wigglesworth and Lady Hollick OBE. Ralph Ottey received the 1939 – 1945 War Medal and Alford Gardner received the 1939 – 1945 War Medal and the Defence Medal. Both Ralph and Alford had returned to Jamaica straight after the end of the war without receiving their medals.

Royal Air Force Marham Station Commander, Group Captain Fred Wigglesworth said “ This touching event captured our hearts and imagination, bringing to life the memories of inspirational RAF Marham veterans. I was bursting with pride to award Ralph and Alford their WWII medals and unveil the plaque in memory of Sqn Ldr Ulric Cross. It was particularly poignant for this to happen during Black History Month”.

After the service at the Heritage Centre the group moved to the Lightning Operations Centre where one of the meeting rooms was named in honour of Squadron Leader Ulric Cross, where a display, including replicas of his medals, was unveiled.

Earlier in the week there was a lunch in the Junior Ranks Mess where diners were treated to different dishes from across the Commonwealth. Set up in the dining room was the ‘Cultural Explosion’ where personnel were on hand to display and talk about different cultures and history from a number of Commonwealth countries. On display were textiles and items from Fiji, some sweet treats and snacks from Trinidad and Tobago and items from Nigeria.

The dining hall was filled with the sounds of the steel pan drum, played by Petty Officer Joseph, former Chief Petty Officer TTCF, the organiser of the event.

* This article was republished from RAF Marham.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s