Ceremony held to remember SA soldiers in SS Mendi disaster

Today marks exactly a century since the ship carrying hundreds of black South African troops sank in the English Channel.

A ceremony to commemorate the SS Mendi Disaster has been attended by South African politicians and soldiers, along with local school children and the Royal family. Picture: @RoyalFamily.

LONDON – A ceremony to commemorate the SS Mendi disaster has been attended by South African politicians and soldiers, along with local school children and the royal family.

Tuesday marks exactly a century since the ship carrying hundreds of black South African troops being deployed to France to assist the allies during World War One sank in the English Channel.

More than 600 men drowned as the SS Mendi sank in less than half an hour, most of the bodies never to be found.

The last post was sounded as those who vanished into the freezing water are remembered.

Quoting Leo Tolstoy, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe spoke about pride and honour about men who danced as warriors as they faced death.

On behalf of the war graves Commission Sir Timothy Lawrence spoke of dignity and bravery.

Princess Anne was amongst the guests at the cemetery in Southampton as were pupils from a nearby primary school learning about a disaster that continues to haunt two nations.