David Cross: Architect with Norfolk roots won top Malaysian medal

A distinguished architect with roots in Norfolk, David Cross, has died peacefully aged 82, after a brief illness in South Africa.

He was awarded the Ahli Darjah Kinabalu in the Malaysian Negara's birthday honours in November 1969. It is the equivalent to the OBE.

He was born to Bernard and Clara Cross on August 1, 1928, who farmed at New Buckenham, where he went to the village school.

When his parents moved to Hall Farm, Tasburgh, in 1937, he went to Long Stratton school and then the City of Norwich School between 1939 and 1946.

He won a Norfolk County Major Scholarship to Liverpool School of Architecture to be taken up after his National Service. He served in France, Singapore, Malaya and Burma with the War Graves Commission.


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At Liverpool University between 1949 and 1954, he gained second-class honours in architecture and then spent a year in Guernsey and three years in Derby as an architect.

He joined the Colonial Office as architect in 1960. Later based in Sabah, North Borneo, he became director of public works until 1970 when his post with the Malaysian Federation was ended. Their children were sent to school in Norfolk with his sons winning places at Norwich School and daughter going to Cromer.

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He had obtained his private pilot's licence, then added night flying and instructor rating, which made the task of supervising projects in a remote country slightly easier.

He joined the World Bank in 1971 as an architectural auditor in West Africa, based in Freetown, Sierra Leone for three years before returning to Britain and practice in north Wales.

After the death of his first wife, Cathlyn, he went out to Africa, initially in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and then worked extensively in southern Africa, including Lesotho and Botswana.

He leaves three children by his first wife, Michael, John and Sarah, and two daughters, Sara and Katherine, by his second wife, Frances, who also predeceased. He had seven grand-children.

His younger sister, Elizabeth, lives in Ithaca, New York.

A funeral has taken place.

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