CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

British diplomat James Cross kidnapped

The Story

On Oct. 5, 1970, armed kidnappers force British Trade Commissioner James Cross into a taxi as he leaves his Montreal home for work. His wife Barbara says four men, three with machine guns and one with a revolver, showed up at the couple's home about four hours earlier. Security tightens around government offices as the Association for the Release of Political Prisoners sets up a news conference for this afternoon.

Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News
Broadcast Date: Oct. 5, 1970
Reporter: Ken McCreath
Duration: 1:34

Did You know?

• A French Canadian nationalist group Front de libération du Québec was responsible for Cross's kidnapping.
• The day of the kidnapping was Cross's birthday.
• For Cross's ransom, the FLQ made seven demands: broadcast and publication of the group's manifesto, $500,000 in gold, a plane to Cuba or Algeria, the reinstatement of Lapalme postal workers, the release 23 "political prisoners" from police custody, an end to searches for the group and the identites of informers.

• Cross's captors never revealed their faces to him.
• In a letter to his wife while in captivity, Cross purposely made a spelling error, hoping to convey that the FLQ had dictated the note.
• Cross's captives gave him a wide selection of revolutionary material to read.


The October Crisis: Civil Liberties Suspended more