Duncan Ross, was born in Calcutta, India in 1948 of Anglo-Indian Catholic parents. This was post partition India and there were frequent riots between Muslims and Hindus. Duncan came to the UK at the age of 8 with his family after an incident when his mother was nearly killed.
Duncan and his older sister were brought up as Anglicans as his father had divorced his first wife and feared his children would not be accepted into the Catholic Church. Duncan’s father worked for the railways and his mother for an electrical company. The family lived in an apartment block in a busy part of Calcutta. Duncan had a good view of the street from their first floor balcony – the rickshaw drivers, chai sellers, religious processions and riots. Once he saw a young boy being murdered just feet away from him, something for which he has had flash backs all his life.
One day his mother got caught up in the riots between Muslims and Hindus and was nearly killed, an incident that prompted the family to move to the UK. After sailing on the last convoy through the Suez Canal before the Suez Crisis erupted, they arrived in Tilbury in 1956. They lived in Clapton where Duncan attended Northwold Primary School. He then progressed to Hackney Downs Secondary School where half the children were Jewish. It was only when he was in the UK that Duncan realised he was ‘brown’ unlike the rest of his ‘white’ family. Duncan, who now lives in Mile End, has recently retired from being an Anglican priest in the East End.