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James Cross

James Richard Cross, CMG (born September 29, 1921) is a British former diplomat in Canada who was kidnapped by Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) militants during the October Crisis of October 1970.[1]

Born in Ireland and known by his friends as "Jasper", during World War II, Cross served with the British Army and fought for the liberation of France. In 1946 he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers Movement Control Section. After the war he joined the diplomatic service and eventually served as a Trade Commissioner in Canada; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Kuala Lumpur, before becoming senior Trade Commissioner in Montreal, Quebec.

Cross went on to serve as Under-Secretary in various divisions of the British Department of trade and Industry and Department of Energy. In 1971, he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG).


On October 5, 1970, Cross was abducted at gunpoint from his British diplomatic residence at 1297 Redpath Crescent, in the Golden Square Mile district of Montreal, and held as a hostage for two months as the FLQ made a series of demands to the Quebec government.[2] He was released on December 3 in exchange for safe passage for his abductors to Cuba. The talks were held at the Canada Pavilion, located on Île Notre-Dame, the site of Expo '67. This site was declared Cuban territory for the period of the talks.[2]

Six members of the FLQ's liberation cell were later convicted of Cross's kidnapping when they returned to Canada over time.[3]

Cross said of his kidnapping: "They told me about 10:00 o'clock on Wednesday evening that they had, the police knew where I was. Nothing much happened for about the next four hours. Then the power was cut at I think around 2:00 in the morning. I was in bed at the time; they got me up. They handcuffed me, they took me into a corridor in the middle of the house. They handcuffed me to a doorknob and I spent the night. It's a very uncomfortable position."[2] In 2010, on the 40th anniversary of the day that sparked the October Crisis, Cross agreed to speak to CBC Radio's The Current about the events surrounding his kidnapping.[4]

In fiction

Cross is depicted as a character in the novels The Revolution Script by Brian Moore and My October by Claire Holden Rothman.


  1. ^ The October Crisis. HISTOR!CA. Retrieved 5 Oct 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Canadian Kidnappings: 1970 Year in Review,". Retrieved 5 Oct 2010.
  3. ^ The October Crisis. truTV. Retrieved 5 Oct 2010.
  4. ^ : CBC interviews FLQ kidnapping victimAUDIO. CBC News, Oct. 5, 2010. Retrieved 5 Oct 2010.
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