Sea Cadets remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice

Sentries are posted in remembrance of those who lost their lives. Photo: Submitted.

The South African Sea Cadets Training Ship Rook (TS Rook), which is based in Krugersdorp, attended a very successful memorial parade marking the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi. The parade was held at the South African Sea Cadet Training Ship Bounty (TS Bounty), located on the banks of the Vaal River in Vereeniging.

The parade included members of the TS Bounty Sea Cadets based in Vereeniging, TS Rook Sea Cadets, and the M.O.T.H.s (Memorable Order of the Tin Hats) Vereeniging and Buckshee Shell Hole. Also in attendance were family, friends and relatives.

This special event, which took place on 25 February, commemorates those who lost their lives on board the SS Mendi, which was a troopship that was sunk during World War I. It had 805 volunteer black soldiers and their officers on board at the time.There are many stories about the men’s bravery as the ship went down. Memorial services were held in many places nationally and internationally.

Also remembered were the South African servicemen who lost their lives on two other ships – the SAS President Kruger, which sank in 1982 with the loss of 16 lives after colliding with her replenishment oiler, SAS Tafelberg, in the South Atlantic, and HMSAS Southern Floe which was the South African Naval Forces first casualty in World War II when she was sunk by a mine off Tobruk.

The South Africa Sea Cadets is a non-profit organisation with dedicated instructors giving up their free time to train and prepare youngsters for a nautical career. Officers are not remunerated for their time. Cadets have ‘serious fun’ while learning leadership skills, self-discipline and maritime orientated skills as a voluntary extra-mural activity. Any youngster, irrespective of race, gender or religion, is welcome. Training takes place on Saturday afternoons from 12.30pm to 4pm, with leadership camps during selected weekends.

The base is located at the Gereformeerde Kerk in King George Street, Krugersdorp North.

For more information, contact Sub-Lieutenant Lisa Spencer by email to [email protected] or call her on 082 859 6484. Alternatively, contact Staff Instructor Colin Harris by email to [email protected] or call him on 078 453 5584.

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