Portrait of a pioneering woman soldier of Ghana

In the-not-too-distant past, it was almost unthinkable for a woman to seek enlist­ment into the Ghana Armed Forces.

For although our history recognises some amazing women of courage — Yaa As­antewaa in Asante and Dede Akai in Ga/Adangbe – the modern army, as instituted in Ghana by the British colo­nialists – only saw women (if it looked at them at all as fit for the armed forces) as fit to be absorbed into the medical corps, the catering, or other “support services.”

Regular soldiers were expected to be “tough” and ruthless. Women were expect­ed to be gentle and capable of bringing up nice children. Army? Forget it. If a woman wanted to enlist in the army and live the ultra-disciplined life of the barracks, then there was something “wrong” with her.

However, that was the story of Letitia Reindorf. Letitia left Achimota School in 1953 and obtained training in jour­nalism and Public Relations before applying for a job in the armed forces in 1964. She was accepted for training and passed out as an officer, with the rank of Sub-Lieutenant, in February 1965.

She subsequently passed all her promotion exams, usually as the only woman in the ex­amination hall. Success steadi­ly brought her promotions – from lieutenant to captain and from captain to major. In 1978, she was selected for a course at the Junior Defence College. She passed through with flying colours, as usual.

Major Reindorf served the Ghana Armed Forces in its Public Relations Department for many years, before retiring in 1980. She also served for a time in the Workers Brigade, and was also posted to take charge of the Tema Harbour and Kotoka Airport.

When Letitia reached the age of 90 on June 1, 2024, scores of family, friends and former colleagues gathered at a retired officers’ recreation venue to pay warm tribute to her.

One of them said: “You see her beautiful and healthy on the outside. But if you could see her on the inside as well, you would be amazed to find that she is filled with light, shining bright from goodness and kindness. Everyone here can attest to an act of love that Aunty Letitia has per­formed on his or her behalf.

God bless you, everybody’s “Aunty”, Letitia!.


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