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First World War: Ghana and UK To Mark 100th Anniversary

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The Government of Ghana in collaboration with the British High Commission will on Sunday, November 11, host a special luncheon to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

A statement issued by the British High Commission in Accra and copied to the Ghana News Agency, recounted that: “On 11 November 1918, church bells and other bells, which had fallen silent during the course of the First World War, rang out spontaneously as news of the Armistice spread across Europe and the world”.

“This Sunday, exactly 100 years on, the British High Commission, will host a special centenary luncheon, alongside the Government of Ghana and representatives of the nations involved in the conflict, in an act of remembrance for those who lost their lives serving their country,” it added.

It said the centenary commemorations, would also be a thanksgiving–for the end of the war, for a peace and for those who returned to their families.

It noted that over nine million servicemen died in the First World War helping to secure the allied victory, including nearly a million from the Commonwealth.

In West Africa, the first soldier in British Service to fire a shot in First World War was Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) Alhaji Grunshi of the Gold Coast Regiment.

The statement said throughout the last 100 years, the UK and Ghana had stood shoulder-to-shoulder in support of global peace and security.

“Today, Ghana is a significant contributor of personnel on UN and African Union Peacekeeping operations, and has deployed forces as part of the African response in support of peace in South Sudan, democracy in the Gambia, and stability in Somalia, as well as further afield,” it added.

“Ghanaian and British soldiers serve alongside one another in the UK Armed Forces to protect global security and defend our shared vision of a more peaceful world. Today, we have some 4,500 Commonwealth servicemen and servicewomen in the British Armed Forces.”

It cited examples such as Ghanaian-born, Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah, the first black equerry to serve The Queen, embodied the invaluable contribution that the Commonwealth continued to make.

It said these were just a few examples of the many thousands of Ghanaian soldiers who fought, and continue to fight, for the freedoms that we enjoy today.

“We shall not forget their sacrifice and duty”, it added.

The statement said to mark this very special moment in our shared history, the UK Government had announced that over 7,000 Commonwealth veterans who served the British Armed Forces would receive two meals a day, through UK Aid.

It said this support to them and their widows and widowers in more than 30 Commonwealth countries, recognises the tremendous debt owed to those veterans, who have served The British Crown through the last 100 years.

It recounted that The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and The Earl of Wessex, paid their own special tribute, alongside President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in a wreath-laying ceremony on 2 November at the Christiansborg War Cemetery at Osu, Accra.

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Westlake, UK Defence Adviser, said: “This year, marks a historic anniversary, and November 11, provides an opportunity to remember the sacrifices that have been made.

I am particularly pleased that the UK Government will introduce a new support programme that demonstrates the gratitude we hold for our Commonwealth veterans.”

Private Joseph Hammond (Retired), 91 year-old – Ghanaian Commonwealth Veteran speaking on the new UK Aid support to Commonwealth veterans said: “I feel proud, that I also defended the British Empire… If we get a couple of meals a day, it will go a long way to improve our lives.”

Armistice Day also known as Remembrance Day is held in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations as a day; “to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts”.

It marks the day World War One ended at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. A two-minute silence is held at 11am to remember the people who have died in wars.

This year, Armistice Day falls on 11th November and marks the centenary of Armistice Day, when an agreement between the Allies and Germany brought an end to the war.

GNA.

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