Brigadier Joseph Edward Michel, he was a Ghanaian soldier. The Michel Camp of the Ghana Armed Forces located at Tema is named after him in honor of his achievements in the Ghana Army. He died at the age of 44 following injuries he sustained in an air crash at Kumasi in the very month in which he had been due to take up appointment as the Chief of Staff of the United Nations Operation in Congo. He was the first African to have been appointed to such a position.
Joseph Edward Michel was the son of Alexander Michel, a French Trader at Tarkwa, and Afua his wife who hailed from Atikpui near Ho. He received his education at the Ewe Presbyterian Boarding School at Amedzofe and continued at the Presbyterian Training College at Akropong where he qualified as a teacher. Joseph Michel initially taught at the Kpando Presbyterian Senior School.
On 4 August 1943, Brigadier Joseph Edward Michel joined the colonial army at Ho in the Volta Region through the school teachers’ special enlistment programme. He started as a “local” sergeant. He was initially a schoolmaster / instructor in the army. He was appointed full sergeant in January 1945.
Joseph Edward Michel was commissioned as a Second lieutenant in April 1947. He was promoted a Lieutenant in with effect from 27 November 1947. He was appointed Platoon Commander at Kumasi. He attended a Platoon Commander’s Tactical course at Warminster in the United Kingdom in relation to his appointment. Between 1948 and 1950, he was the second-in-charge of the Gold Coast Regiment Training Centre (GCR Training Centre) at Kumasi.
In 1950, he attended the Company Commanders’ Course 67/50 at the School of Infantry, Warminster. He returned to the GCR Training Centre where he was promoted to rank of Captain. He was made the Company Commander of the GCR Training Centre in April 1951.
He was transferred in July 1951 to the 3rd Battalion of the GRC. In August 1952, he was transferred again to the First Battalion of the RTC at Kumasi. In January 1953, he was transferred again to the Boys’ Company as the Commanding Officer.
Brigadier Joseph Edward Michel was promoted to the rank of Major in May 1953. He established the Boys Company (Junior Leaders Company) at Kumasi in 1953 and was the 1st Ghanaian Captain Commanding Officer. He was acclaimed the best officer of his rank (Major) in the Chana Army in 1959. Following the request of the United Nations for Ghanaian troops in the Congo (Leopoldville), Michel was chosen to lead the Ghanaian contingent. In July 1960, he was appointed the A – Brigade Commander in Léopoldville. He was posted to Brigade Headquarters in Léopoldville in August 1960.
He died prematurely at the age of 44 on 3 September 1961 in the very month in which he had been due to take up appointment as the Chief of staff of the United Nations Operation in Congo. He was the first African to have been appointed to such a position. By then he had attained the rank of Brigadier.
The Michel Camp of the Ghana Armed Forces located at Tema is named after him in honor of his achievements in the Ghana Army. He was buried at the Christiansborg military cemetery at Osu, Accra