THERESA MAY RETURN WW1 SHIPWRECK’S BELL TO SA

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is visiting Cape Town on Tuesday, comes bearing a piece of South African history.

A massively important South Africa naval artefact today (Tuesday) comes home when President Cyril Ramaphosa accepts the SS Mendi ship’s bell from United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May.

According to the Department of international Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO), she will present the bell to the president, who is SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Commander-in-Chief, during a meeting in Cape Town. May is in South Africa as part of a five-day, three-nation African tour. She will also visit Kenya and Nigeria.

The SS Mendi in use as a troopship during World War One sank off the Isle of Wight in 1917 after a collision with the SS Darro. She was carrying SA Native Labour corps personnel to the Western Front where they were to support British troops. Six hundred and sixteen men died.

It is the worst naval disaster in South African military history and is remembered annually on Armed Forces Day – February 21 – the day Mendi went down. The tragedy is also remembered by dint of South Africa’s highest honour for bravery being named the Order of Mendi. One of the SA Navy’s four Valour Class frigates also bears the Mendi name in a further acknowledgement of this significant event in the country’s naval history.

A note in the bag read: “If I handed it in myself it might not go to the rightful place. This needs to be sorted out before I pass away as it could get lost”.

A senior serving South African officer who has some involvement with the Mendi tragedy said indications were the bell was found by a diver sometime in the eighties. It has been on display at Southampton’s Sea City Museum.

There has, as yet, been no indication from the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) as to whether the bell will go on public display and where it will be housed.

Facebook Comments

About author

Oludare J. Olusan
Oludare J. Olusan 249 posts

Publisher, Entrepreneur, Author and founder of The African portal / Presenter at The African Portal Radio / TV

You might also like

Nigerian Man accused of human trafficking in Springs, Ekurhuleni

JOHANNESBURG- A man accused of human trafficking may face additional charges after being arrested in Springs, Ekurhuleni. The 42-year-old was found with allegedly kidnapped teenagers, drugs and pornographic material. Police

NIGERIA-SOUTH AFRICA RELATIONS: A ROLLER COASTER RIDE

Relations between South Africa and Nigeria are pivotal to peace, sustainable development, Pan-Africanism and regional integration in Africa. However, these African powerhouses’ relations have been marked by constant oscillation. As

FELA KUTI AND THE KALAKUTA QUEENS PREMIERES TONIGHT IN PRETORIA

Pretoria – The cast members of Fela and the Kalakuta Queens are ready to dish it out hot, hot, hot to South Africans when the musical premieres at the South

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply