Italian Army sword, Italian Army bayonet, and Ethiopian swords on display at the Ghana Armed Forces Museum, Kumasi
The Gold Coast Regiment had its roots in the Gold Coast Constabulary, organized in 1879 as an internal security force and composed initially of personnel from the Hausa Constabulary of Southern Nigeria. The unit first saw action during the Ashanti wars. Reorganized in 1901 as the Gold Coast Regiment, the unit raised five battalions for service in the East African Campaign in the First World War.
Reorganized again in 1940, it was made up of nine battalions totaling just over 10,000 men, and, along with two brigades of soldiers from East Africa, composed the 12th Division of the British Army. (The 11th Division comprised two brigades of East African soldiers along with a brigade of Nigerian soldiers.) The 11th and 12th Divisions, along with the 1st Division of the South African Army, constituted the East Africa Command. Under the leadership of General Alan Cunningham, they entered Addis Ababa on 6 April 1941.
Captured Italian ordinance on display at the Ghana Armed Forces Museum
The main body of Italian forces in Ethiopia capitulated on 19 May 1941, but the last holdouts in Gondar did not surrender until 27 November of that year.
The Second World War Memorial Cemetery in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, contains row after row of gravestones bearing names like Kwesi, Kwame, and Kojo…All young men, far away from home, who had their whole lives ahead of them, and who never made it back.
All photos by author