The soldier who fired the first British shot in 1914: Prince Charles and Camilla pay tribute to Ghanian World War I hero who opened fire on German-led police in Togo.

Alhaji Grunshi was a lance corporal in the Gold Coast Regiment
In all the many histories of the Great War, it’s safe to say that Alhaji Grunshi rarely makes much of an appearance. But he should. For the little-known lance corporal in the Gold Coast Regiment has the distinction of being the first member of His Majesty’s forces to fire a shot in 1914. And last night the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall helped commemorate the occasion far from the poppy fields of Flanders. The royal couple dined in the High Commission in Accra in Ghana formerly the Gold Coast and paid tribute to L/Cpl Grunshi. While most of the attention as the centenary armistice nears is on the Tommies in France and Belgium, the fighting across the then vast British Empire is sometimes neglected.
Three days after Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, L/Cpl Grunshi, fired his shot at a squadron of German-led armed police in Togo, which adjoined the Gold Coast. The first British bullet in France was not fired until more than a fortnight later. The little-known tale from Togo then known as Togoland, Germany’s sole West African colony was last night recounted to Charles and Camilla by Britain’s leading female black architect, Elsie Owusu.
She dined with the couple and gained their help in promoting the set of medals she has produced to mark L/Cpl Grunshi’s shot. Ghana-born Miss Owusu has worked to link artists and goldsmiths in Britain and Ghana in the project. Sir Peter Blake who created the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album cover designed the medals using traditional West African symbols, and pure Ghana gold. The medals will be on display this month in London jeweller Cox and Power.
Miss Owusu said: ‘People sometimes forget the contribution made to Britain’s First World War by soldiers and others from across the Empire. L/Cpl Alhaji Grunshi certainly played his distinguished part alongside other soldiers from the Gold Coast.’L/Cpl Grunshi fought on until the end of the war. He was Mentioned in Despatches, was promoted to sergeant, and received the Military Medal in 1919 for his exploits in the East Africa Campaign. Togoland did not hold out for long in 1914, surrendering after just a few weeks.