The Royal West African Frontier Force (RWAFF) no longer exists. But it once assisted in defending British and American freedom.I see an old sign for its servicemen when I visit the Ghanaian city of Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region and the second biggest city in Ghana. Some of the elderly servicemen who once served in the regiment still occupy a small group of subsidized homes in the Ashanti capital.
Their regiment lives on at the tourist friendly Kumasi Military Museum, a former British fort.
The RWAFF was never actually a Ghanaian regiment, though it was based in what is now called Ghana. Before independence in 1957 the country was known as the Gold Coast and was a British colony.
Along with almost all the other British colonies, the Gold Coast had its own parliament with both British and African members. It had a lively free press, an excellent educational system with three universities and a thriving economy built mostly on cocoa and timber. Under British rule, it had enjoyed a long period of political stability and growth.
As a part of the British Empire, when the two world wars came along, members of the indigenous population volunteered to fight alongside the British. The RWAFF saw service in different parts of the world as Britain used the troops where they could serve best.
In World War I soldiers from the Gold Coast quickly defeated the Germans in neighboring Togo, capturing the capital Lome on August 7th, 1914 (the war had begun three days earlier).
In World War II, the RWAFF was used to fight the Italians in Abyssinia, the Germans in North Africa and the Japanese in Burma, where they had greater immunity to malaria which was claiming the lives of thousands of allied troops.
They fought well. Memories of those battles have been passed down to Ghana's present day armed forces, whose bases are named after the battles fought in World War II.
From the port city of Takoradi the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force were able to keep an eye on neighboring French colonies that had fallen to the pro-Nazi Vichy French government.
Africa's Gold Coast at the time was a part of the prophesied "multitude of nations" (Genesis 48:19 Genesis 48:19And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
American King James Version×) that was promised to Joseph's son, Ephraim. (The booklet offered below explains how and why Britain and her colonies, along with the United States, became modern heirs of those blessings promised Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.)
The 'multitude of nations' promised to Ephraim provided the global strength without which the English would not have been victorious in the two world wars and in many other lesser conflicts. Troops from over 60 different nations, all a part of the Empire, fought alongside the British before the United States got involved.
India alone provided one third of all Imperial forces. In World War II, two million Indians volunteered to fight in the British military, the biggest volunteer army in the history of the world.
Britain has fought more wars in the last two centuries than any other nation. Joseph's sons were warned that this would be the case in Genesis 49. Prophesying specifically of Joseph's descendants in "the last days" (verse 1), the patriarch Jacob described his son's heirs as "a fruitful bough"—a productive nation that would develop other nations in their care—and then added: "The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him" (verse 23). The next verse adds, "But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob."
God gave Britain and America their great strength. In the case of the British, their greatest strength was "the multitude of nations" they led—various nations from around the world, so different from each other, but all a part of the British Empire.
In 1952, when Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, the Empire—the British Commonwealth—was still a major military force. Today Britain's military is less than 25% of what it was at the beginning of her reign. The colonies have gone, as has the military power to which they all contributed.
The modern Commonwealth is no longer a military alliance. So from where will Britain and the United States acquire additional troops the next time the world enters global conflict? They can no longer rely on volunteers from those nations that once made up the British Empire.