Today In History: The Royal African Gold Coast Artillery Force Was Disbanded

Today In History: The Royal African Gold Coast Artillery Force Was Disbanded

The Gold Coast Regiment originated in security units formed in the 1850s in what is now Ghana. The ‘Gold Coast Corps’ had been recruited in the early 1830s for the defence of settlements in the colony. By the 1850s it consisted of a number of small units, which were mainly used in a policing role. These were amalgamated in 1879 and renamed the ‘Gold Coast Constabulary’, which had a military role and in 1893-1894, took part in a campaign against the Ashanti kingdom,

The Gold Coast Artillery Corps was formed in 1850 and from the late 1850s wore a uniform similar to that of the West India Regiment. It was disbanded in 1863 however, after its soldiers had mutinied. It has been difficult to find documentary evidence of the causes of the mutiny. Many of its former members joined local forces which later became part of the Gold Coast Constabulary.

In 1901 the Gold Coast Constabulary was renamed the ‘Gold Coast Regiment’ as it became part of the newly organized West African Frontier Force under the direction of the Colonial Office. It was organized into one battalion of infantry and one battery of artillery. The artillery possessed only small field guns which could be moved by hand through the thick jungle found in much of the country

On the outbreak of the First World War, the Gold Coast Regiment was the main British force used to capture the neighbouring German colony of Togoland (modern Togo) and destroy its powerful radio masts. This action occurred before the war really got started in Europe and the first bullets fired by a British solder against the Germans in the war were fired by a Gold Coast Regiment soldier named Alhaji Grunshi (seen in the picture) more than a week before the first engagement in Europe.

The regiment then took part in the invasion of the German colony of Cameroon and spent the end of 1914 and most of 1915 fighting in the campaign to gain control of the colony and destroy its ability to relay radio messages to German warships. In 1916, the Gold Coast Regiment entered the campaign against the Germans in East Africa (modern Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania), which had been ongoing since August 1914. It fought through most of the East African campaign, engaging German forces in many places in what are now Tanzania and Mozambique. In mid-1918, the regiment returned to barracks in the Gold Coast and took no further part in the remainder of the campaign.

The Gold Coast Regiment remained part of the West Africa Frontier Force (later renamed the Royal West Africa Frontier Force) until shortly after the Gold Coast gained independence in 1957, when it was withdrawn from the RWAFF and renamed the Ghana Army. It is the forerunner of the First Infantry Brigade of the Ghana Army.


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