President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Tuesday joined servicemen and scores of Ghanaians to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the shooting that led to the death of three ex-servicemen at the Osu Christianborg Crossroads on February 28, 1948. Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey, all members of the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force, were killed while the Regiment was going to present a petition to the then British Colonial Governor, Sir Gerald Creasy.
The ex-servicemen were presenting a petition to the Governor on their unpaid war benefits when they were stopped at the crossroads by a contingent of armed policemen.
The contingent, led by British Police Superintendent, Mr Colin Imray, ordered that they disperse and when they refused to obey the command, he gave an order to the police to open fire and the three ex-servicemen were killed.
The ex-soldiers had fought alongside the allied forces in the Gold Coast Regiment of the Royal West African Frontier Force during the Second World War and had returned home poor and were not paid their gratuities.
After a number of appeals to the colonial government to consider their plight had failed, the ex-servicemen decided that a direct appeal should be made to the British Colonial Governor of the Gold Coast.
News about the death of the servicemen spread rapidly, leading to lawlessness in Accra and other parts of the country.
The situation encouraged anti-colonial movements to press the British government to institute a committee to investigate the killings and the general disorder.
The Committee recommended self-government for the Gold Coast, which subsequently led to the attainment of political independence for the country on March 6, 1957.
As the bugle was sounded to invite Veterans to march on parade, about 155 men drawn from the Army, Airforce, Navy, the Police joined them to mount a parade, witnessed by a large crowd at the Nationalism Park.
Special Christian and Muslim prayers were said for the love, dedication and the service the three soldiers rendered to the country, after which the history of the day was read and a roll call of those who fought in the World War II Gold Coast Regiment was made.
Flags were raised, as the Bugle sounded the ‘Last Post’ and a minutes’ silence was observed for the departed in that historic event.
President Akufo-Addo laid a wreath on behalf of Government and people of Ghana and Major General Obed Akwa, the Acting Chief of Defence Staff, laid one on behalf of the security services.
The Chairman of the Veterans Association of Ghana, Commodore Steve Obimpeh laid one on behalf of the veterans while Nii Okwei Kinka Dowuona V, the Osu Mantse, laid one on behalf of traditional rulers.
After the ceremony, President Akufo-Addo joined other dignitaries, service chiefs and relatives of the fallen heroes to observe a thrilling enactment of the 28th February Crossroads shooting incident performed by the Actors Guild to a wild and ecstatic crowd that had gathered at the fringes of the Cenotaph to observe the goings-on.
The event, which formed part of activities to mark Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary, was witnessed by an unusually large crowd compared to previous events that were very low-keyed.