Saturday, December 3, 2016

The 28  February Christiansborg Crossroads Shooting Incident is celebrated every year to honour the defenceless Ex-servicemen who in 1948 were killed by the colonial police while they were marching peacefully to the Osu Castle to present a petition to the then Governor.

During the Second World War, soldiers of the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force 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 demobilised at the end of 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 with those sacrifices.

In addition to this, several appeals made by the soldiers to the authorities fell on deaf ears.

After a period of waiting for 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, 28 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.

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, Cpl Attipoe and Pte 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.