NOORDWIJK, ZUID-HOLLAND – In a dignified ceremony in Noodwijk in the Netherlands today, the fallen South African servicemen of the SS Mendi (at least five of whom lie buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission section of Noordwijk General Cemetery) were fittingly commemorated.
In the annals of South Africa’s military history, 21 February 1917 is a dark day. It marks the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi after it collided with the SS Daro off the Isle of Wight, with the loss of 616 South African servicemen, 607 of them members of the South African Native Labour Corps: Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Swazi, and Tswana. The names on the SS Mendi Roll of Honour are still reflected in Southern African society.
H. E. the South African Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mr Vusi Koloane
Today, the anniversary of the SS Mendi disaster is aptly the day on which South Africa remembers all her fallen soldiers and in particular this tragic event. Across the country, parades and ceremonies will be held to commemorate those South Africans who paid the ultimate price in wars across the globe.
SA Legion Europe Branch Chairman Lgr Andrew Bergman
SA Deputy Military Attache Lt Col Andrew Mafololo and H. E. the South African Ambassador to the Netherlands, Mr Vusi Koloane lay a wreath of proteas on behalf of the Republic of South Africa
Lest we forget!
Text by Lgr Andrew Bergman
Photography by Johanna Bergman Badings