It must be twenty years or more since the picture was taken and although it is well thumbed round the edges it is only very slightly faded. It shows a tall, broad-shouldered young man in his very early twenties. He is in a soldier's uniform. There he stands, very erect, grasping his rifle to his left side. Not a flicker of smile crosses his face. His straight lips, his tightly-closed mouth and the drawn brows, shading his already dark eyes give a look of determination to do or die.
Sergeant Edward Lamptey was young to be a sergeant. What hopes, what ambitions he must have had! Maybe in a year or two, he thought of himself with the added title of Major - Sergeant Major Edward Lamptey- it would sound good and look fine on paper.
He would build himself a grand house, maybe in his father's compound. He would marry and so...often did he picture the future. Providence was kind to him, and kept the pages of the future tightly closed lest perhaps he glimpse an hour too soon what lay before him. Let him build his castles and enjoy the building; time was short ere he would see them topple and crumble to dust in the falling.
It was in 1950 that I first met him. He was making what looked to me like the cement steps for a large Celtic cross that might be put on a tomb. It was just to the side of his little thatched house. I stood amazed - there he was, moving back and forth, propelling himself along the ground by his hands, pushing his crippled legs in front of him. The fine uniform was gone, but the training of the soldier in neatness and precision was in him and showed in the job he was doing. he looked up as he heard the gravel crunch under my feet, smiled and welcomed me. He must have seen the amazement in my expression for he began to explain the purpose of the steps.