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West Africa Frontier Force LS&GC

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I rarely post images relating to LSMs due to a forthcoming book that I've been working on for the past three years or so. However, I thought I'd post this as it's one of my latest aquisitions (and I'm rather chuffed with it).

The medal was instituted in 1903 and is very similar in design to the early colonial LSMs. The WAFF was formed in 1900 as an amalgamation of the colonial forces of British West Africa: the Queen's Own Nigeria Rifles, the Gold Coast Regiment, the Royal Sierra Leone Regiment and the Gambia Regiment, although individual battalions retained their own regional identity within the force.

In 1928 this brigade-sized regiment gained its royal prefix, becoming the Royal West African Frontier Force. This change was reflected on the reverse inscription of the medal. Originally awarded for eighteen years' service. This was subsequently reduced to sixteen.

Following the post-war 'withdrawal from Empire', the various battalions of the RWAFF gradually became absorbed in to the armed forces of the emerging independent nations of Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Gambia, and by 1960 the regiment ceased to exist, as did the medal.

It is, however, suspected that the medal became defunt in the early 1950s - being superseded by appropriate regional issues of the Military LS&GC. This supposition is supported by the absence of any WAFF LSMs bearing Elizabeth II's effigy. Confirmation of such local issues is being sought.

Edited by Tony Farrell
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A perhaps tangental but specific to this unit relevant side question:


The Very Senior Masonic Person above-linked was a "local" RWAFF officer, umpteen times it seems up through a variety of "acting" promotions all of which, near as I can follow this strange British custom, were but soap bubbles overlaid on the fact that he was a "substantive" noncommissioned officer-- MBE and OBE to the contrary.

Would HE have been eligible for this medal or was it SOLELY for the African soldiers? Would European NCO cadres have been granted the same medal as local soldiers?

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Hi Rick: Winward would not have qualified as he was a commissioned officer. All of his "acting" ranks were as an officer but he was commissioned to substantive rank (Lt and QM). His time spent as an NCO, I believe, was on attachment so had he served the requisite time, as a ranker, for an LSGC he would have received the British Army LSGC. Hope that makes some sense... :unsure:

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