Fallen Soldiers Remembered

Dr. Bawumia (right) with an ex-serviceman


The Ghanaian ex-servicemen who lost their lives in what has come to be known and accepted as the 28th February Christiansborg Castle Crossroads Incident have been remembered.

This was when a brief but colourful wreath-laying ceremony was held to mark the 76th anniversary of the incident at a site close to the Independence/Black Star Square, where a monument has been built in honour of their memory.

On that fateful day, the ex-servicemen who were on a peaceful march to the Osu Castle in 1948 to present a petition to the Colonial Administration over their unpaid allowances, were shot and killed by the colonial police.

This year’s event saw the Ghana Armed Forces, a contingent of the Ghana Police Service and selected pupils and students from some schools in the Greater Accra Region, mount a parade.

It was graced by Vice President Bawumia. Other dignitaries in attendance included Deputy Minister of Defence, Kofi Amankwa-Manu; Chief of the Defence Staff, Major-General Thomas Oppong-Peprah; Inspector-General of Police, Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, and Osu Alata Mantse, Nii Kwabena Bonnie V.

Also on parade was a contingent of veterans and the Army band which gave a beautiful rendition of some Methodist hymns and patriotic songs during the ceremony.

There was a roll call of the veterans, while a minute’s silence was also observed in memory of the fallen heroes.

Dr. Bawumia laid the first wreath on behalf of the government and the people of Ghana, Major-General Oppong-Peprah laid the second wreath on behalf of the security services, while the Chairman of the Veterans Administration Ghana, Major-General Clayton Baonubah Yaache (rtd), laid the third wreath on behalf of the veterans.

The Osu Alata Mantse, Nii Kwabena Bonnie V laid the fourth wreath on behalf of the traditional authorities, while Nii Cornelius Adjetey from the family of Sergeant Francis Adjetey, laid the final wreath on behalf of the fallen soldiers.

On February 28, 1948, before noon, a number of unarmed ex-servicemen marched from Accra to the Christiansborg Castle to petition the then Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Sir Gerald Creasy, over their unpaid allowances, when they were accosted at the Christiansborg crossroads by a contingent of armed policemen led by a British, Major Colin Imray, who ordered the ex-servicemen to disperse.

However, when his orders were disobeyed, Superintendent Imray gave another order to the police to open fire.

When the second order was not complied with, Imray himself fired at the ex-servicemen, killing Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey.

The news about the death of the three ex-servicemen spread rapidly, leading to the breakdown of law and order in Accra and other parts of the country.

That resulted in anti-colonial movements to put pressure on the British government to set up a committee to investigate the killings and general disorder.

The committee recommended self-government for the Gold Coast, which subsequently led to the attainment of political independence for the country.

May their souls and that of all faithfully departed in the service of God and country continue to rest in peace!

By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent