West Africa Command

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West Africa Command
Active1940 to 1956
Country United Kingdom
BranchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
TypeCommand
Garrison/HQAchimota College, Accra, Gold Coast

West Africa Command was a Command of the British Army.

History[edit]

After the First World War, military forces in the four British West African colonies (Nigeria, the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia) were under the control of the individual colonial governments. "The regiments of the four colonies were all under the umbrella of the Royal West African Frontier Force. An Inspector General of African Colonial Forces was appointed to oversee their training and act as military adviser to the colonial governments. H.Q. Military Forces West Africa was formed on the 7 July 1940 with the arrival of Lieutenant General George Giffard and one staff officer. The headquarters were established on the 15 July near Accra. His task was the defence of all West African territories and coordination of all Military resources in these colonies."[1] Additionally the command was an important recruiting ground for allied servicemen: it recruited 200,000 soldiers for the allies while defending itself from Vichy aggression.[2] The basis for the command was the units and establishments of the Royal West African Frontier Force.

Area under British West Africa Command.

Conflicting information indicates that the command was either based at Achimota College in Accra or in Nigeria.[3] It was disbanded in 1956.[4] Postwar plans to raise an infantry division in West Africa as part of a British strategic reserve were not realised due to lack of funding.[5]

After disbandment, its infrastructure was used by the new Ghana Army.

Its insignia (a leaning palm tree) is still worn today by members of the British Peace Support Team, Ghana, including personnel based at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.

Commanders-in-Chief[edit]

Commanders-in-Chief have included:[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ British Military History - West Africa Command 1930 - 47
  2. ^ The British Empire and the Second World War By Ashley Jackson, Page 175 Hambledon Continuum, 2006, ISBN 978-1-85285-417-1
  3. ^ The development of African History as a discipline in the English-speaking World, Page 30
  4. ^ National Records Office
  5. ^ Lee, J. M., African Armies and Civil Order, New York: Praeger, 1969. (Page number needed)
  6. ^ Whitaker's Almanacks 1940–1955
  7. ^ Army Commands