WATCH: SS Mendi centenary commemorated in England

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A memorial to commemorate the sinking of the SS Mendi, takes place at the Hollybush Cemetery in Southampton, England on Monday.

LONDON – The South African National Defence Force held a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the members of the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) who lost their lives during the sinking of the SS Mendi a hundred years ago.

This year marks the centenary of the sinking of SS Mendi.

The ceremony, held at Milton Cemetery in Portsmouth, England, was attended by Chief of the South African Navy, Vice Admiral Mosioua Hlongwane, the South African High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Obed Mlaba, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Clr David Fuller, senior members of the SANDF and military veterans association around the world and descendants of the SS Mendi.

READ: Troopship Tragedy – The Story of the SS Mendi

Fuller and Mlaba unveiled the plaque at Pyramid in remembrance of the SS Mendi.

Nine of the men, Privates WP Tlhomelang, Jonah, KK Letau, CK Kozamula, S Fule, T Plaatjies, JM Mkoni, E Monyele and Lieutenant RA MacTavish, are buried in Milton Cemetery.

They were killed when their troopship, the SS Mendi, was sunk off St Catherines Point, Isle of Wight. 

On the night of 21 February 1917 the SS Mendi was transporting 823 men and officers of the 5th Battalion of the SANLC from Cape Town to Le Havre and was hit by SS Darro.