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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

RSM Alhaji Grunshi


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There appears to be relatively little discussion of Alhaji Grunshi in the archives. From what I can tell, this then L/Cpl. in the West African Frontier Force was the first soldier under British command to fire a shot during the Great War; a week after declaration of war, at Nuatja in German Togoland whilst advancing on the wireless transmitter of Kamina. At war's end, there were attempts to bring charges against German commanders for arming African troops and using them against European forces, before it was observed that Grunshi et al. did exactly the same.

He survived the war after serving in three African campaigns, and eventually rose to the rank of RSM.

Does anyone know what became of him?

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If you plough through all the lines that come up when you Google him then maybe you can learn more.


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  • 7 years later...



Welcome to the forum


So what did happen to him.


Most of the online references are to him firing the first shot, all I found was


Alhaji Grunshi was from Dagbon in northern Ghana and part of his family is believed to have settled in Burkina Faso. Grunshi, who was popularly called Alhaji because of his religion joined the Army in 1908 and remained in service till 1924.

Largely, his story has gone missing and details about his life and how or why he joined the army have been left undiscovered. His name is hardly mentioned in the history of Ghana or the British army as one of the Africans who should be celebrated .

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He is mentioned very briefly in a footnote on page 99  of  the book available online


The History of the Royal West African Frontier Force by Colonel A. Haywood and Brigadier F.A.S.Clarke. 1964. lib.militaryarchive.co.uk, now archived at Archive.org. Originally required Flash turned on, this requirement may still apply - if you see a Flash icon, click it. Transcribed version.


http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/Miscellaneous-Volumes/library/The-History-of-the-Royal-West-African-Frontier-Force/files/assets/basic-html/page121.html  page 99 from the transcribed version.


I had problems with the other version as some of the pages did not display. I don't know if that is due to my internet connection, or problems with the digital file itself.




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  • 5 weeks later...

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