28 February Cross road shooting marked (pg 55)

A SOLEMN wreath-laying ceremony was held yesterday at the Freedom Monument, near the Independence Square in Accra, to commemorate the 62nd Anniversary of the Christiansborg cross-roads shooting incident in 1948, which served as a major catalyst for the struggle for Ghana’s independence.

The ceremony drew a large audience to the monument to catch a glimpse of the ex-servicemen as well as the re-enactment of the shooting incidence which was performed by the Ghana Actors Guild.

The ceremony, was attended by the Minister of Defence , Lt Gen Joseph Henry Smith,who was the guest of honour ,officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), the Police, and members of the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG).

After the traditional,Christian and Muslim prayers, the bugle was sounded to invite all veterans to be on parade.
The VAG contingent then marched to the parade grounds after which the roll of the veterans was called.

A brief history of the incident was read after which flags were hoisted.
After the sounding of the last post, a minute silence was observed for the departed national heroes, followed by the reveille.

Four wreaths were laid; the first by Lt Gen. Smith on behalf of the government and people of Ghana, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lt Gen Peter Augustine Blay, laid the second on behalf of the Security Services, the third was laid by the Chairman of the VAG Council, Air Vice Marshall Odartey Barnor, on behalf of the veterans and the fourth by the Gbese Mantse Nii Okaidja on behalf of Traditional Authority.

According to historical accounts, the 28th February Christiansborg cross-roads shooting incident is celebrated every year to honour the defenseless ex-service men who were killed in 1948at the end of the Second World War by the colonial police while they were marching peacefully to the Osu Castle to present a petition to the then Governor and Commander –in-Chief of the Gold Coast Regiment, Sir Gerald Creasy.

The veterans who were members of the Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF), fought gallantly alongside their allies and received commendation, were demobilized at the end of the war when they were only paid pittance by way of war gratuity. The ex-servicemen were naturally unhappy with the gratuity.

They felt that the British government, which then ruled the Gold Coast, would, in appreciation of their sacrifices, pay them something appreciable. They made several appeals to the authorities which yielded no fruit.

After waiting for a period of time in anticipation that a reasonable benefit would be paid to them, the ex-servicemen decided that a direct approach should be made to the British Governor, Sir Gerald Creasy.

It was in the process of making this direct approach, in a protest march to the Christiansborg Castle to present a petition, that a British Police Officer, Superintendent Imray, commanded his officers to open fire on the protests but when they did not heed to the command, Mr Imray opened fire, killing three of the Ex-Servicemen: Sgt. Adjetey, Cpl. Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey and injuring six others.

The brutal murder of the ex-servicemen infuriated the people of the Gold Coast and sparked riots in Accra with chaotic effects.

The incident also served as a major ingredient in pushing the forward the agenda of anti-colonial movements to force the British government to institute a committee chaired by Mr K.A Watson to investigate the killings and general disorder.

The Watson Committee recommended self-government for the Gold Coast.


Popular posts from this blog

Spiritual healers, men of God take over billboards, Monday, September 17, 2012, pg 32

NPP must work to realise aspirations of Ghanaians (February 22)

Need an Auto Loan? Monday, April 2, 2012, pg 20