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Sir Kenneth Cross
Nickname "Bing"
Born (1911-10-04)October 4, 1911
Died June 18, 2003(2003-06-18) (aged 91)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1930–1967
Rank Air Chief Marshal
Commands held No. 46 Squadron
No. 252 Wing
No. 258 Wing
No. 3 Group
Bomber Command
Transport Command
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Flying Cross

Air Chief Marshal Sir Kenneth Brian Boyd Cross KCB CBE DSO DFC RAF (4 October 1911 – 18 June 2003), was a senior Royal Air Force commander. He was commonly known as Bing.

RAF career[edit | edit source]

The eldest son of Pembroke Henry Cokayne Cross (1884–1964) a chartered surveyor, and Jeanie Boyd (1888–1944), he was educated at Hilsea College in Portsmouth, Havant High School, and Kingswood School. Cross joined the Royal Air Force in April 1930.[1] He first served with No. 25 Squadron in 1931, before a spell as instructor with 5 FTS at Sealand. In 1934 he was part of the Cambridge University Air Squadron. In December 1938 Squadron Leader Cross was appointed Auxiliary Liaison Officer at HQ, No 12 Group, Fighter Command.

He served in World War II and in October 1939 was appointed Officer Commanding No. 46 Squadron conducting flying missions over Norway.[2] For his service in Norway he was awarded the Norwegian War Cross with sword.[3] Ordered to return to the UK in June 1940, his officers achieved the seemingly impossible task of landing all their Hurricanes on the aircraft carrier HMS Glorious without arresting gear.[1] Their success was short-lived because on 8 June 1940 HMS Glorious and her two escort ships were attacked and sunk by the German battleship Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.[1] Cross was one of only three officers and 41 other ranks rescued out of the three ships' companies.[1] He had spent nearly three days and nights on a float in freezing temperatures before being rescued by a Norwegian fishing boat. He was awarded the DFC.After recovering from frostbitten feet he was appointed Officer Commanding No. 252 Wing in the Middle East and then over No. 258 Wing before reverting to command of No. 252 Wing.[2] In January 1943 he was made Air Officer Commanding No. 212 Group and in February 1943 he took over No. 242 Group receiving promotion to (temporary) Group Captain in July 1943.[4] He became Air Commodore, Training at Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Air Force in March 1944 and Director of Overseas Operations (Tactical) in June 1944.[2]

After the War he went to the Air Ministry as Director of Weapons and then as Director of Operations (Air Defence).[2] He went on to be Air Officer Commanding No. 3 Group in 1956, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Bomber Command in 1959 and, following his promotion to Air Marshal in 1961,[5] Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Transport Command in 1963.[2] He retired in 1967.[2]

Family[edit | edit source]

In 1945 he married Brenda Megan Powell; they had two sons and a daughter.[1]

Honours and awards[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Harry Broadhurst
Commander-in-Chief Bomber Command
Succeeded by
Sir John Grandy
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Hudleston
Commander-in-Chief Transport Command
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Prickett

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