HISTORY OF 2 INFANTRY BATTALION
The 2 Battalion of Infantry (2Bn) was formed as part of the Gold Coast Regiment (GCR) in August 1901. It is the only Unit besides 1Bn with direct origins from the GCR at the time it was amalgamated into the West African Frontier Forces (WAFF) on 1 January 1901. After its formation, the Unit saw active service in the then Togoland in 1914 as part of the GCR, which had the singular distinction of making the first capture of a German territory and won its first battle honour, titled Kamina. Between 1914 and 1916, the Unit took active part in the battle campaigns of Cameroon in Duala and Jabssi. Here also, the Unit gained the battle honour Duala on 6 July 1916.
As a result of the East Africa Campaign, the Unit set off from Takoradi Harbour for Mombassa in East Africa. The Unit distinguished itself in the East Africa Campaigns and gained battle honour Narungumbe. The Unit was disbanded by the end of December 1918 following the end of World War 1 in November that year. It was reformed in 1932 and was designated as 2 Territorial Battalion in 1938, (also Cadre Bn) and stationed at Tamale. 2Bn was active in the East Africa Campaign in 1940 where it fought and won the following battle honours:
- The Battle of El Wak – 16 December 1940.
- The Battle of Juba River – 2 February 1941.
- The Battle of Uddara – 4 May 1941.
- The Battle of Black Shirt – 11 May 1945.
- The Battle of Vondo-20 May – 1941.
During this period, the Unit was part of 2 West African Brigade (24 Gold Coast Bde) which was commanded by Brig CEM Richard. 2 WA Bde returned in October – November 1941.
The Unit was deployed in the Gambia in November 1942 and later moved to Nigeria in 1943 in preparation for the Burma Campaigns. Between 1944 and 1945, the Unit fought fiercely against the Japanese. The Japanese were driven out of Myohaung, a strong Japanese communication centre on 23 January 1945 and earned the battle honour, Myohaung. It was from the success gained in that battle that the home of 2Bn at Apremdo in Takoradi was christened Myohaung Barracks. Thus 23 January of every year is celebrated by the Unit and veterans as Myohaung Day to commemorate the victory of Myohaung. The Unit since its establishment has been disbanded/reformed severally and also witnessed a lot of movement both within and outside the country. It however, moved to its current permanent home in 1964. Below are some of the locations where the Unit was stationed in the country and other places where it conducted operations:
- Gambaga – 1901.
- Tamale – 1938.
- East Africa – 1939-1941.
- Gambia – 1942.
- Nigeria – 1943.
- Ranchi, Western India – 1944-1946.
- Accra- June 1946, with A Coy deployed in Takoradi.
- Tamale – 1947.
- Takoradi – After 28 Feb 1948 Cross Roads Disturbances.
The Unit also took part in the campaign to drive out the Japanese from Burma in May 1945. It was during this time that the Unit earned the battle honours of North Arakan, Kaladan, Tangaup and Burma. The Unit, as part of 2 West African Bde returned to the Gold Coast in April – May 1945. One can say that most of our military establishments and installations derived their present names and identification due to participation of the Unit in these battles and the laurels won.
FUNDAMENTAL HISTORY OF THE UNIT
The following constitute some of the fundamental history of the Unit;
MyohaungDay. The Unit got its name Myohaung Barracks by virtue of taking part in the Battle of Myohaung during the World War II. The Unit, therefore, marks Myohaung Day celebration on 23 January every year. This makes the Unit unique among the Army units, in that it honours and recognizes veterans all over the country on this day. On 23 January each year, a Drum Head Service Parade is held by the 3 Services of the Ghana Armed Forces on Apambire Square in Myohaung Barracks. This celebration used to take place in Accra until 1998 when it was moved to Myohaung Barracks, its appropriateplace and it has remained so since then.
National and Regimental Colours. Colours represent the spirit and soul of aunit and extra care is taken in securing unit colours to protect the image and pride of a unit. The Unit was first presented with the Queen’s colours in 1937 by the then Governor of the Gold Coast, HE Sir Arnold Hodson, KCMG.In 1955, the Unit was again presented with new colours in Takoradi by the then Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Gold Coast, Sir Charles Arden Clarke. Later, Right Honourable Earl Listowel, who was the Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Gold Coast, also presented colours to the Unit in December 1959.The current colour in use was presented to the Unit in the late 1990’s following a deterioration of the previous one, in a special ceremony.
Unit Motto. “Man for Man, Nothing Better’’ was an initiative of Lt Col CA Okae, the 21st CO.“One Unit One mission, One mission One Unit” was also added by Lt Col GE Amamoo, the 24th CO when the Unit served in Cambodia as UNTAC Ghanbatt 2. . “Unique We Stand Out” was later included by Lt Col F Vib-Sanziri, the 28th CO.The Unit Motto which now reads as indicated below signifies esprit de corps as we fight as one body with one aim.
“One Unit, One Mission
One Mission, One Unit
Man for Man, Nothing Better
Unique, we Stand Out’’
Unit Emblem. “The Fighting spirit’’ was adopted under the tenure of Lt Col IK Amoah, the 13th CO to depict the extraordinary fighting qualities of the Unit. It was carved on wood at Essikadu near Sekondi. Lt Col JK Kumah, the 25th CO, added the South Comd tarantula and the Unit Mascot as part of the emblem.In his quest to modernize the Unit Fighting Spirit, the 28th CO, Lt Col F Vib-Sanziri tenure saw the moulding of the Fighting Spirit Monumentwhich was commissioned on 30 Mar 07 by Lt Col F Vib-Sanziri at the Unit roundabout to project the fighting ability of the Unit. The Fighting Spirit is significant to the Unit because it defines the fighting qualities of personnel and invokes the spirit of determination to succeed at all cost, against any odds.
Unit Anthem. The Unit anthem, (Will your anchor hold in the storms of life, when the clouds unfold their wings of strife? When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain, will your anchor drift or firm remain? we have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the saviour’s love) was adopted by the 24th CO, Lt Col GE Amamoo during UNAMIR Operations in Sep 95. The lyrics and tune for the anthem were, however, changed during the tenure of Lt Col F Vib-Sanziri to read as follows:
“Will Your Anchor Hold When the fight gets tough?
As one Unit and with one mission,
Unique we stand with the fighting spirit,
Will you join the fight or stay aloof?
We are the loyal, the fighting 2,
Man for man nothing better,
Give us the task and it shall be done,
We will fight to win for our motherland.”
The anthem was officially launched during the unit’s Religious Parade in June 2006. The lyrics were written by Lt DA Bondah and S/Sgt Abana while the tune was composed by Mr Placidus Kojo Dadzie, a music tutor at Myohaung Basic School.
The Battle honours won by the Unit between 1873 and 1945 are as tabulated below:
||West African Medal and Clasp
||1914 – 16
||1916 – 18
||1916 – 18
||WalGaris, El Wak, Jubba, BulloBrillo, Gelilo,AtesscandraOudarra, Abyssinia
||1940 – 41
||North Arakan, KaladanTinma, Mayu Valley, Myouhaung, Arakan Beaches Kangan, Tangup, Burma
||1943 – 45
These battle honours are relevant to the Unit as it marks important events in its history. Personnel of the Unit take pride in laurels won in those battles and therefore, it serves as an inspiration for younger generation of Unit soldiers to strive to attain excellence and greater heights.
THE RELEVANCE OF THE UNIT MASCOT AND ITS TRADITIONS
The Unit has a huge spotless white ram as its mascot. The origin of the mascot dates back to 6 March 1957 when the Unit took part in the Independence Day Parade which was reviewed by the Duchess of Kent. After the parade, Gov Sir Charles Noble Arden Clarke who accompanied the Duchess of Kent presented the Unit with a white spotless ram as mascot (a person, animal or thing that is supposed to bring good fortune). The ram was christened “Charles’’ after the Governor and appointed as L/Cpl Charles I by Lt Col NO Quinn (2nd CO, 1954-57). L/Cpl Charles I died on 16 December 1962, the very day on which Gov Sir Charles Arden Clarke died in the UK. The mascot was buried without any ceremony because the Unit was away on peacekeeping duties in the Congo.
The first successor, L/Cpl Charles II was promoted to the rank of a Cpl but died in 1964 and was buried with full military honours near the Unit Parade Square at Arakan Barracks, Burma Camp, Accra next to the grave of L/Cpl Charles I. Capt RM Baah (Later Lt Col Baah of the erstwhile National Redemption Council), OC HQ Coy officiated at the burial. A 24- hour guard of 1 Officer and 3 Other Ranks was mounted on the grave for seven days.
The second successor, Cpl Charles II, was promoted Sgt by Brig IK Amoah, Commander 1 InfBdeGp, during the Battalion Administrative Inspection Parade in 1978. Sgt Charles III died on 25 November 1980 and was buried with full military honours near the Unit Guard Room at Myohaung Barracks, Takoradi. The tradition thereafter ceased until 1986 when it was revived by Lt George Biah (Later Col George Biah), a former Commanding Officer of 4Bn. This was when as a DetComd on OP HUNTER duties at Osei-Kojokrom, he was invited for the installation ceremony of a chief, where a beautiful ram was donated to the Detachment.
Lt George Biah did not attend the function personally but instead detailed WOI Francis Affizie, who was his CSM to represent him. Rather than slaughter it, the DetComd brought the ram to the Unit to continue the tradition of the mascot institution.
Upon his return to the Unit, Lt George Biah wrote to the then Commanding Officer, Lt Col Charles Okae (Later Maj Gen C Okae) and sold the idea to him.
As was expected, the CO embraced the idea. Arrangements were therefore, made to receive the ram at a colourful reception held at the Unit Main Gate. The ram was the fourth in succession and upon its death in 1990, it was replaced by Sgt Charles V who was promoted S/Sgt by the then CO, Lt Col George Aryiku (Later Maj Gen G Ayiku). It later died in 1994. A successor, S/Sgt Charles VI was found and promoted to the rank of WOII in October 1998 by Lt Gen JH Smith, the then Army Commander, during a working visit to the Unit. WOII Charles VI died in 2003 and was replaced with WOII Charles VII. While the Unit was on peacekeeping mission with UNMIL in Liberia, WOII Charles VII was promoted to the rank of WOI on 18 February 2010 at the Battalion’s Medals Day Parade commanded by Lt Col AK Dawohoso, the 29th Commanding Officer.WOI Charles VIII died on 25 September 2013 and was buried with full military honours in Myohaung Barracks, Takoradi. It has since been replaced with WOI Charles IX.
The mascot is supposed to be the spirit behind the Unit’s Commanding Officer and indeed the soul of the Unit. It is also believed that the mascot inspires the unit to higher achievements and it is its inspiration that has spurred on the Unit from the time of Lt Col Quinn, to the present CO. The mascot takes part in all ceremonial parades, both in and outside the Unit. On 16 December each year, a wreath laying parade is held at the Mascot Cemetery in Myohaung Barracks to honour the dead mascots.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE UNIT FIGHTING SPIRIT
The Unit emblem, “The Fighting Spirit’’, was adopted by Lt Col IK Amoah(13th CO November 1972 –April 1975) to depict the extraordinary fighting qualities of the Unit. It was carved on wood at Essikadu, near Sekondi. The Fighting Spirit is significant to the Unit because it defines the fighting qualities of personnel and invokes the spirit of determination to succeed at all cost against any odd. The emblem depicts a spirit sitting on a quarter moon with a spear in its right hand. It has talismans across its body and around its arms. The emblem reminds the Unit of the African fighting qualities before the advent of western weaponry. The Units is, therefore, poised to fight and win even without the “white man’s weapons”. This explains the slogan “man for man, nothing better”.
Like any human endeavour, one expects continuous development. 2Bn is no exception and therefore, under various commands the following developmental projects were undertaken.
Beautification Projects. Under the tenure of Lt Col SA Ayitor and Lt Col F Vib- Sanziri, the Unit embarked on aggressive beautification projects with designing of landscapes and planting of ornamental plants especially around the Battalion Headquarters. This project improved the work environment to the admiration of all visitors to the Unit.
Construction of CO’s Office. A new office was constructed and furnished under the leadership of Lt Col F Vib-Sanziri. The office was commissioned on 17 Sep 08 by Lt Col Vib-Sanziri. This was done with Unit’s own resources. The construction of the new office became necessary because the old one was no longer befitting the status of a Commanding Officer.
Reconstruction of Units Gate Arch. In 2005, a decision was taken to modernize the main entrance of the Unit to a modern arch. The then Commanding Officer, Lt Col Vib-Sanziri sought the help of Golden Star Resources Limited to finance the project.
The request was approved and funds were released to undertake the project. The then Regional Minister, Hon AE Amoah commissioned the project on 11 Aug 06. The completion of the new arch improved the image of the Unit to the general public.
Myohaung Education Trust Fund. Under the Command of Lt Col AK Dawohoso, the Unit established the Myohaung Education Trust Fund in 2010 to support wards of troops and civilian employees who excel in their BECE exams to continue their education to the SHS. This initiative was taken to imbibe competitive spirit among the pupils in the Myohaung schools. Since the establishment of the fund, 24 pupils have benefited to settle their admission fees and other educational expenses.
Dawohoso Fitness Centre. In 2011, under the tenure of Lt Col AK Dawohoso, the Unit acquired modern gym equipment and renovated an old block to officially start the centre. This project helps Unit personnel and friends from outside to keep fit.
Acquisition of Instruments for Magnificent 2 Band. The Unit dance band has seen retooling and acquisition of modern instruments under various Commanding Officers in the recent past and presently. Prior to embarking on UNMIL GH 5 Peacekeeping Mission, the band instruments were assessed to be in deplorable state.
In line with the Unit tradition to embark on UN missions with the Band, the then CO, Lt Col F Vib-Sanziri purchased a new set of instruments for the Band with Unit own resources. On assumption of command, Lt Col Dawohoso also acquired few more instruments to improve the facilities.
Unit Cloth. In 2006, the Unit, under the command of Lt Col F Vib-Sanziridesgned and printed a unit cloth to be worn by all ranks, civilian employees and families during unit functions. The cloth is basically green and embossed with the unit logo, “the fighting spirit.
Renovation of various Messes. Upon assumption of command, Lt Col GKT Sam realized that both Officers and Men were not patronizing their various messes. The reason attributed to this was that most facilities in the messes were dysfunctional. Knowing the significance of a mess to unit activities, the CO took it as a challenge to renovate and improve upon the facilities in order to encourage a vibrant mess life as it used to be. This, therefore, culminated in major facelift of the various messes. These improvements were done with Unit own resources and assistance from friends of the Unit.
Various Commanding Officers of 2Bn have undertaken income generating ventures to support the Unit in an effort to reduce dependency on central government. Notable among these economic activities are the following:
Unit Kraal. The Unit Kraal was started in 1995 under the Command of Lt Col GE Amamoo, the then Commanding Officer. It was started with 4 cows and currently the Unit has a total of 45 cattle. The animals are used to supplement troops feeding on occasions such as WASSA and other Unit social activities.
Unique Soja Sachet Water. Lt Col F Vib-Sanziri who was then the Commanding Officer inaugurated Unique Soja Water treatment plant on 16 Dec 08. The Unit procured an automatic water pack at the Cost of GH ¢2500.00 and a Hyundai truck at the cost of GH¢28000 to kick start the project. An office apartment in the Quartermaster yard was renovated to accommodate the machine. The Unique Soja Water is an income generating activity to sustain unit activities.
Unit Pharmacy. Under the Command of Lt Col AK Dawohoso, an idea was conceived and subsequently implemented to operate a pharmacy shop in the 2MRS. This was done to alleviate the plight of patients who have to go to town to buy unavailable prescriptions at the dispensary. An office space was renovated and stocked with medicines and commissioned on 17 Dec 10 by the then MCE of STMA, Hon Kobina Prah Annan.
Ayitor Farms. Under the Command of Lt Col SA Ayitor, an idea was conceived to establish an Oil Palm plantation. This idea was borne out of the desire to stop encroachment on Unit lands. The farm was, therefore, established to create a buffer between the barracks and the areas already encroached. It started with 45acres and the current size is approximately 120 acres. Labour was provided by the troops of the Unit. The farm has won 2 national awards for the Unit in 2003 and 2004 during the National Farmers Day Award Events. The Unit was adjudged as the best in farming activities among the Southern Command Units of the Ghana Armed Forces. On each occasion the Unit was given a tractor and its accessories as the prize for emerging the best farming Unit.
The farm is also an income generating venture to help support Unit activities. Apart from the Oil Palm Plantation, the Unit also has a citrus, mango and teak farm. During the tenure of Lt Col F Vib-Sanziri as CO, a KIA truck was purchased for the farm to convey harvested fruits to Benso Oil Palm Plantation for sale.
OTHER KEY EVENT IN UNIT HISTORY
Under the Command of Lt Col SK Ofosu-Appiah, the Unit moved 71 all ranks from Takoradi to Accra from Takoradi to counter the 31 December 1981 coup. This was contrary to the Brigade Commander’s advice to dispatch only 2 Carl Gustav weapons to Accra to assist other units to foil the Coup. The group met stiff opposition from the coup makers and therefore they were unsuccessful in their bid to counter the coup. It must be placed on record, however, that it was only 2Bn that moved troops under the command of the then CO to attempt to counter the coup. This was done purely to safeguard the sanctity of the constitution and not allow anybody to subvert the will of the people.