IWW in 3 minutes Alhaji Grunshi, The First and the Last

Don’t know about you but I’m glad the crap on 4th August is over with. It will be a long funeral service, but hey ho, not my circus and they are not my monkeys. It has all been hijacked by groups with an agenda. from the Government, the Royal British Legion, down to various vanity projects. Key events and people will be missed, forgotten about and the same old cliches wheeled out. Turn off your TV, and save a fortune on newspapers. Go to your local one exhibitions, If you are in Folkestone there is a Great Exhibition in the Sassoon, (Not that one, grief it is going to be a long four years.) Room. Sure there are things missing, forgot, and simply not there. But it is put together by locals for locals and if it was a beer would be a Burton’s Double Diamond.

Of course we will all be commemorating Alhaji Grunshi. On the 7th August. what a wonderful British name Alhaji Grunshi, up there with John Smith, Hamish Henderson, Tom Jones, names that conjure up the vast cultural heritage we have from our days as the world’s number one Imperial power, Gosh, I can just see me nose diving in the popularity stakes there, never mind.

Oh yes where was I Alhaji Grunshi on the 7th august 1914 went down in history. Yes, I know, but treat it as a reminder, and remember some will not know. Alhaji Grunshi on the 7th august 1914 went down in history.
People have forgotten, What for? Who? Aihaji Grunshi, he was a Regimental Sergeant Major in the British Army-the first? No there had been plenty of Regimental Sergeant Majors before him. No wait he was the first. Alhaji Grunshi was the first, the very first British soldier to open fire in the First World War. He did so on the 7th of August in West Africa. far from Tipperary, Piccadilly, Leicester Square!, and of course, Mons.

It really was a World War, We really did have the greatest Empire the World had ever Known, It really was the Empire that went to War. Not all solders came from the playing fields of Eton. (oops wrong war) Oxbridge, or were pals of Accrinton. our soldiers came from Australia, Canada, England, Scotland Ireland Wales, India, New Foundland, New Zealand South Africa, every where the globe was Imperial Red, and the first shot fired by us, by a British soldier was in Africa. Not only that, the last German soldiers to surrender to us did so in Africa at Abercorn in Rhodesia on 25th November 1918.

The silent years go drifting by
As clounds, and yet you do not mind,
Lonely, yet not alone, you lie:
You live in hearts of those behind.

from “The lonely Graves” (To those that fell in Africa, 1914-1918) Malcolm Humphery


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