Mendi (SS), disaster
One of the largest loss of life at sea in the English Channel was the loss of the SS Mendi in 1917. The SS Mendi was en-route from Cape Town to Le Havre carrying some 800 members of the 5th Battalion, South African Native Labour Corps.to serve on the Western Front.
In the dark and foggy early morning of 21 February, 1917 while about 11 miles south of St Catherine's Point, the SS Mendi was rammed by the steamship RMS Darro. The SS Mendi was severally damaged and sank within 20 minutes with a loss of over 650 men from drowning, exposure or hypothermia.
The Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton lists the names of many of those who lost their lives in the sinking of the SS Mendi.