Alhaji Grunshi

Alhaji Grunshi of the Gold Coast Regiment fired the first shot on 12 August 1914 in the German colony of Togoland. Grunshi survived the war to become a regimental sergeant major decorated with the Military Medal, Distinguished Conduct Medal and a Mention in Despatches.

A reasonable amount is known about Alhaji Grunshi because of his decorations.

The first confirmed Commonwealth casualty under fire was his comrade Private Bai, who was killed on 15 August 1914, probably at Agbeluvoe, 50 miles north of the city of Lomé, capital of Togo. Virtually nothing is known of Bai – only one of his names is given – although his name is recorded on paper and online by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Bai’s name does not appear on any memorial, however, for no African names were engraved on the memorial to the Gold Coast Regiment’s fallen at Kumasi in Ghana.