SS Mendi

SS Mendi

On 21 February 1917, the 4,000-ton SS Mendi, carrying the last contingent of the South African Native Labour Corps bound for the Western Front, was struck by the much larger SS Darro, in thick fog off the Isle of Wight. On board Mendi were 802 black soldiers, 5 white officers, and 17 NCO's, as well as 89 crew and 56 military passengers. Mendi sank within 25 minutes and most of those on board drowned. The disaster claimed 646 lives in total. Most have no grave but the sea and are remembered at the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton. Nine men whose bodies were washed ashore are buried in Milton Cemetery, Portsmouth. There are also a few graves in other cemeteries in the UK, France, Denmark and the Netherlands. Memorials to the tragedy have also been built in South Africa – notably at Avalon Cemetery in Soweto and the University of Cape Town – and at the South African National Memorial at Delville Wood in France, where bronze reliefs depict the tragedy. For detailed information about the tragedy, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-39027882 , http://blog.cwgc.org/ss-mendi , http://allatsea.co.za/blog/the-loss-of-hmt-mendi/ , https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/first-world-war-home-front/what-we-already-know/sea/ssmendi/ and https://content.historicengland.org.uk/content/docs/education/explorer/ssmendi-we-die-like-brothers-education-resource-pack.pdf . There is also a book called "Troopship Mendi - The Black Titanic" by Nick Ward, based on six years of his research, published by the South African Naval Heritage Trust in Simons Town, and also held by Delville Wood museum on the Somme. This community remembers all those who were on board the Mendi when she sank. Currently all the SANLC men who died have been added, but there are still crew and survivors to add, and further details about the men. Please note that the spelling of names varies between the various sources used, so if you can't find a specific person please email me.

Created by: Yvonne27542

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  • Profile picture for Dokoda Bokleni Or Bikleni

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9377 Lance Corporal South African Native Labour Corps 5th Battalion

  • Profile picture for Jan Malesela

    Died 1917

    South African Services 10363 Private South African Native Labour Corps 5th Bn.

  • Profile picture for Vellum Mohase

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9660 Private South African Native Labour Corps 5th Bn.

  • Profile picture for Soloman Vili Zondi

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9299 Private South African Native Labour Corps 4th Battalion

  • Profile picture for John Mpoa

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9724 Private South African Native Labour Corps 5th Bn.

  • Profile picture for Isaac Jacobo

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9695 Private South African Native Labour Corps 5th Battalion

  • Profile picture for Hamilton Kali

    Died 1917

    South African Services 10021 Private South African Native Labour Corps Medical Section

  • Profile picture for George Stephans

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9413 Private South African Native Labour Corps

  • Profile picture for Simon Phakula

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9953 Private South African Native Labour Corps

  • Profile picture for Koos Mofokeng

    Died 1918

    South African Services 10953 Private South African Native Labour Corps 4th Bn.

  • Profile picture for Hlongwana Sigidi

    Died 1917

    South African Services 11085 Lance Corporal South African Native Labour Corps "C" Coy. 5th Bn.

  • Profile picture for Charlie Mabila

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9126 Private South African Native Labour Corps 4th Battalion

  • Profile picture for Lucas Radzaka

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9781 Private South African Native Labour Corps

  • Profile picture for James Ngwane

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9654 Private South African Native Labour Corps "C" Coy. 5th Bn.

  • Profile picture for Aldum Dengese

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9567 Private South African Native Labour Corps 5th Battalion

  • Profile picture for Windvogel Makhatali Mahaladi

    Died 1917

    South African Services 11067 Private South African Native Labour Corps Medical Section.

  • Profile picture for Karel Kgokong Letau

    Born 1899

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9286 Private South African Native Labour Corps

  • Profile picture for Gerson Ramakhutle

    Died 1917

    South African Services 8992 Private South African Native Labour Corps

  • Profile picture for Freddy Bungane

    Died 1917

    South African Services 11169 Private South African Native Labour Corps Medical Section

  • Profile picture for Roadway Smith

    Died 1917

    South African Services 9656 Private South African Native Labour Corps