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Joseph Arthur Ankrah

Joseph Arthur Ankrah

Introduction

Joseph Arthur Ankrah

Joseph Arthur Ankrah, born August 18, 1915 was a prominent Ghanaian army general and political figure. He held several significant roles in Ghana's history, including being the head of state from 1966 to 1969 as Chairman of the National Liberation Council, making him Ghana's first military head of state. Additionally, Ankrah served as the Chairperson of the Organisation of African Unity from 24 February 1966 to 5 November 1966. Prior to his political roles, Ankrah was appointed as the first commander of the Ghana Army in 1961. Joseph Arthur Ankrah was born into the Ga family of Samuel Paul Cofie Ankrah, who worked as an overseer for the Christian Missionary Society, and Beatrice Abashie Quaynor, a trader. His early education began in 1921 at the Wesleyan Methodist School in Accra, where he earned the nickname 'Ankrah Patapaa' for his assertiveness and leadership qualities. Later, he attended Accra Academy, where he excelled in football and obtained the Senior Cambridge School Certificate in 1937. After completing his education, Ankrah joined the Ghana Civil Service.Ankrah's military career began in 1939 when he joined the Gold Coast Regiment, and during World War II, he served in the Royal West African Frontier Force. In 1940, while stationed in East Africa, he was appointed second-in-command at the Record Office in Accra. In 1946, he attended the Marshfield Officer Cadets Training Unit in the UK and became the first African officer in the Gold Coast Army upon graduating in 1947. He rose through the ranks, becoming a lieutenant, and then a major in 1956. Ankrah became the first African to command an all-African company and later a battalion. By 1960, he attained the rank of colonel, a notable achievement in a time with few Ghanaian officers at that level. He distinguished himself during the United Nations Operation in the Congo, where he served as Brigade Commander and was awarded the Military Cross for acts of exceptional bravery in 1961. Following his service in the Congo, Ankrah was promoted to Brigadier and then Major General, making him the first Ghanaian to lead the Ghana army in 1961. He also assumed the role of Deputy Chief of Defence Staff. However, in July 1965, he was dismissed from the Ghana army amidst suspicions of his involvement in a coup plot.


REFERENCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Arthur_Ankrah

About

JOSEPH ARTHUR ANKRAH

Joseph Arthur Ankrah, renowned as Ghana's first military head of state, was born on August 18, 1915, in Accra, Ghana, to Samuel Paul Cofie Ankrah and Beatrice Abashie Quaynor. Raised in a family with a strong commitment to service, Ankrah's early life was marked by determination and leadership.

Educated at the Wesleyan Methodist School in Accra, Ankrah's assertive nature earned him the nickname 'Ankrah Patapaa,' reflecting his penchant for argumentation and natural leadership. His academic journey continued at Accra Academy, where he not only excelled academically but also showcased his athletic prowess on the football field. In 1937, he achieved the Senior Cambridge School Certificate, a testament to his intellectual acumen.

Ankrah's journey into the military began in 1939 when he joined the Gold Coast Regiment. With the outbreak of World War II, he was mobilized into the Royal West African Frontier Force, showcasing his bravery and dedication to service. Graduating from the Marshfield Officer Cadets Training Unit in the United Kingdom in 1947 as the first African officer in the Gold Coast Army, Ankrah's ascent through the ranks was swift. His leadership abilities were evident as he became the first African camp commandant at the Army Headquarters and later the Chief Instructor of the Education Unit.

Throughout his military career, Ankrah shattered barriers, becoming the first African to command an all-African company and eventually rising to the rank of Major General. Notably, his valor during the United Nations Operation in the Congo earned him the prestigious Military Cross for his heroic actions in safeguarding Prime Minister Lumumba's life.

Transitioning into politics, Ankrah's leadership continued to make an impact. Following his dismissal from the Ghana army in 1965 amidst coup plot allegations, he assumed roles in the National Investment Bank before emerging as the head of state and Chairman of the National Liberation Council after the 1966 coup. His diplomatic prowess was highlighted during his mediation efforts in the Nigerian Civil War in Biafra.

Ankrah's legacy extended beyond politics and military service. He played a pivotal role in sports as the inaugural President of the Council of Patrons of Accra Hearts of Oak S.C., showcasing his commitment to community engagement.

In his personal life, Ankrah found joy and fulfillment in his family. His marriage to Mildred Christina Akosiwor Fugar in 1965 marked a new chapter, and together they raised a large family, including his daughter Jackie Ankrah, a prominent broadcaster, songwriter, and musician.


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Place of Birth: Accra, Ghana.

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Date of Birth: August 18, 1915

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