GHANA’S FALLEN HEROES REMEMBERED


A wreath laying ceremony took place on Tuesday at the Nationalism Park, Osu in remembrance of the 69th anniversary of the 28th February shooting incident of 3 Ex-service men at the Christianborg Crossroads on February 28, 1948.

The three, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey were killed in the company of the Gold Coast Regiment on their way to present a petition to the British Colonial governor to express their displeasure about one shilling a day paid them by way of war gratuity.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo laid a wreath on behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, while the Acting Chief of Defense Staff, Major General Obed Akwa laid one on behalf of the security services.

The chairman of the Veteran Association of Ghana, Commodore Steve Obimpeh (Rtd), also laid one on behalf of the veterans while the Osu Mantse, Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona V, laid one on behalf of traditional authorities.

Representatives from Corporal Attipoe’s family also laid a wreath on behalf of the fallen heroes.

BACKGROUND

During the Second World War, Soldiers of the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Forces fought alongside the allied forces. At the end of the war, there was increased agitation by anti-colonial movements for independence for the colonies in South East Asia and Africa. The war veterans who had fought so gallantly and had received high commendation were demobilized at the war and paid a pittance by way of war gratuity of about one shilling a day. The Ex-Servicemen were naturally not happy with the gratuity. They thought the British Government, which then ruled the Gold Coast, would in appreciation of the sacrifices that had been made, pay gratuities in the right proportion to those sacrifices.

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In addition to this, several appeals made by soldiers to the authorities fell on deaf ears. After a period of waiting for a reasonable war benefits to be paid, which were not forthcoming, the Ex-Servicemen decided that a direct approach should be made to the British Governor and Commander-In-Chief of the Gold Coast Regiment, Sir Gerald Creasy.

On Saturday, 28th February, 1948, before noon, a number of unarmed Ex- servicemen were on a march from Accra to the Christianborg Castle to present a petition to the Governor and the Commander-In-Chief when they were intercepted at the Christianborg Crossroads by a contingent of armed policemen led by a British superintendent, Mr. Imray. The superintendent ordered the Ex-servicemen to disperse; when his orders were disobeyed, he gave another order to the police to open fire. When this second order was not complied with, Mr. Imray fired at the Ex-servicemen killing Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, and Private Odartey Lamptey.

The news about the death of the gallant Ex-Servicemen spread rapidly, leading to a situation where law and order broke down in Accra and other parts of the country. This encouraged anti-colonial movements to press the British government to institute a committee to investigate the killings and general disorder. The committee recommended self-government for the Gold Coast. This subsequently led to the attainment of political independence for the country.

 

Report by: Desmond Kofi Tawiah

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