Accra, Feb.28, GNA – Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, on Saturday attended the Commemoration of the 28th February Christiansborg Crossroads shooting incident to honour ex-servicemen who were killed trying to present a petition to the Colonial Governor at the Nationalism Park at Osu in Accra.
This year’s parade, which was attended by contingents from the Army, the Air force, the Police as well as the Veterans Association of Ghana marks the 67th Anniversary of the Christiansborg Crossroads shooting incident.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur, who was the reviewing officer for the parade, inspected the contingent mounted the ex-servicemen at the parade grounds.
Recounting the history of the 28th February Christiansborg Crossroads shooting incident, Ex-WO1 Robert Kuma stated that, the event is celebrated every year to honour the defenceless Ex-servicemen, who in 1947, were killed by the colonial police while marching peacefully to the Osu Castle to present a petition to the then Governor.
He said during Second World War, soldiers of the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Forces fought alongside their allied forces.
He said 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.
Ex-WO1 Kuma said the war veterans, who had fought so gallantly and had received high commendation, were demobilized at the end of the war and paid a pittance by way of gratuity of about one shilling a day, adding that, the ex-servicemen were naturally not happy with the gratuity.
He said the veterans thought the British Government, which ruled the Gold Coast, now Ghana, would in appreciation of their sacrifices made, pay them the right amount of gratuity, adding that, several appeals made by the soldiers to the authorities fell on deaf ears.
He said after a period of waiting for a reasonable war benefits to be paid, which were not forthcoming, the ex-servicemen decided a direct approach should be made to the British Governor and Commander-In-Chief of the Gold Coast Regiment, Sir Gerald Creasy.
Ex-WO1 Kuma said on Saturday, 28th February, 1948, before noon, a number of unarmed ex-servicemen were on a march from Accra to the Christiansborg Castle to present a petition to the Governor and the Commander-In-Chief when they were intercepted at the Christiansborg Crossroads by a contingent of armed Policemen led by a British Superintendent, Mr Imray.
He said Imray 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 Atitpoe and Private Odartey Lamptey.
He said the news of the death of the 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 the general disorder.
He said the committee recommended self-government for the Gold Coast which subsequently led to the attainment of political independence for the country.
Later, Ex-W01 Lawrence Owusu of the Veterans Association of Ghana announced the roll call of the veterans, which was followed by the sounding of the last post, after which a minute silence was observed for the fallen soldiers as well as the observance of the reveille.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur, who led the government delegation, laid the first wreath on behalf of the government and the people of Ghana.
Real Admiral Matthew Quarshie, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) laid the second wreath on behalf of the Ghana Armed Forces and other security agencies.
Commodore Steve Obimpeh, Chairman of the Veterans Association of Ghana laid the third wreath on behalf of all the veterans in Ghana.
Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona V, Osu Mantse also laid a wreath on behalf of all Traditional Authorities whiles Mr Mike Attipoe, brother of Corporal Attipoe laid the last wreath on behalf of the fallen soldiers.
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