Troop Ship SS Mendi…

“At this year’s service a special tribute was paid to mark the 90th anniversary of the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi, when over 600 men of the South African Native Labour corps perished in the English Channel during World War 1.”

 TROOPSHIP SS MENDI 

The story of the SS Mendi is one of bravery and comradeship in the face of death.  In January 1917 the troopship Mendi sailed to France, carrying a contingent of the South African Labour Corps, comprising five white officers, seventeen non-commissioned officers and 805 black privates.

 

On the morning of 21 February, during World War 1, in thick fog, another ship, the SS Daro, (10 000 tons) traveling at full speed in the English Channel and without warning signals, rammed the SS Mendi (4 230 tons), which sank in 20 minutes.

 

Rev. Isaac Wauchope cried words of encouragement to the dying men”

“Be quiet and calm my countrymen for what is taking place now is what you came here to do.  We are all going to die, and that is what we came for.  Brothers we are drilling the death drill.  I say here and now that you are all my brothers.  Xhosa, Swazis, Pondos, Basotho and all others, let us die like warriors.  We are the sons of Africa.  Raise your war cries my brothers, for though they made us leave our assegais back in the kraals, our voices are left with our bodies…”

 

The men sang and stamped the death dance together as the Mendi sank taking with her all still on board and many who leapt into the freezing water.  Some 609 African soldiers died, along with nine officers and 31 crew members.

 

The next couple of pictures are of two survivors who attended the Remembrance day Parade:

lt-ngwenya-richard-and-mendi-survivors.jpg  lt-richard-ngwenya-and-mendi-survivors.jpg  mendi.jpg  ss-mendi-survivors.jpg  survivors-ss-mendi.jpg  There ages are estimated only as they have no ID documents.  After a quick count we ascertained that they must be about 106 years old if they joined the Army at 16 years of of age.  What absolute gentlemen.

 

More general pictures of Sunday:

 

lt-col-mellitchey.jpg  metro-police.jpg  mike.jpg  mr-bekketts-trek.jpg  mr-and-mrs-bennett.jpg  on-with-the-show.jpg  oom-robbie-concentrates.jpg  piper-irish.jpg  sentry2.jpg  sentry.jpg

 

Till next time.

 

RLI

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