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  1. ITV Report

Service held to remember the sinking of SS Mendi

A service has taken place at Milton Cemetery in Portsmouth to remember the South African troops who lost their lives in the sinking of SS Mendi in February 1917.

Wreaths were laid by the South African High Commissioner and Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. The Africappella choir sung during the service. The Last Post was sounded and silence held to remember the 616 men who were killed.

SS Mendi

More than 800 soldiers from the South African Native Labour Corps were on board the SS Mendi when it was hit by the larger SS Daro in thick fog off the Isle of Wight. The Mendi was on the final leg of its 5,000 journey to Europe to support Allied troops in World War 1.

The sinking of the ship was one of the worst maritime disasters in British history. Only a few bodies were ever recovered.

9 soldiers are buried at Milton Cemetary in Portsmouth which is why a service was held in the city to remember the tragedy.

  • Watch Mary Stanley's report below