Mendi heroes remembered
Written by Chris Szabo, Monday, 18 February 2013
Host and chairman of the Atteridgeville Branch of the South African Legion of Military Veterans Legionnaire Abel Sefolosha opened the service at the Mendi Memorial with these words:
“Today is an important day we commemorate, celebrate and are proud of. This day reminds us of our heroes and heroines who stood unshaken by fear of death. We acknowledge the role they played in the history of our beautiful country. The physical war is over. Today we fight spiritual and moral wars. The memorial is to do with encouraging our youth to be spiritual and moral fighters.”
Chaplain M.P.K. Masemola spoke of how another army chaplain, Isaac Dyobha, inspired him. Dyobha was chaplain on the SS Mendi, whose call to the men on the pitched deck of the sinking ship was recorded from memory by survivors. He recalled Dyobha’s heroism on the ship and said: “Let me also pay tribute to a chaplain who perished on the same vessel. Chaplain Isaac Dyobha.
“He stood up as SS Mendi was sinking and had the courage to make a speech. ‘Be calm and quiet, my countrymen, for what is happening now is what we came here to do. Yes, we are going to die, but that is what you came here to do. So let us die like brothers. For though we left our assegais in our kraals, our voices are still with us.’ That’s an example of courage from a man in uniform”. Masemola said.
He spoke of the courage of those in uniform and those who gave their lives for their country saying: “The value of their ultimate sacrifice is timeless. Thus, paying tribute to their ultimate sacrifice should never be abandoned at all.”
Chaplain Masemola also read from a poem he had composed, entitled “Soldier, soldier, you are my hero.”
Master of Ceremonies, Major Tim Lane told the story of the tradition of the Two Minutes’ Silence:
“In South Africa, one of the first instances where this tradition was honoured was in Cape Town. The city was in mourning after the publication of the first casualty list from World War 1 in 1916. At the time this received no publicity. The famous South African author, politician and mining financier, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, is credited with the idea of the two minutes silence. His elder son, Major Percy Nugent George Fitzpatrick, a former member of the Imperial Light Horse, was killed in action at Bourlon in France on December 14, 1917. His father on October 27, 1919, through Lord Milner, the former High Commissioner for South Africa, proposed to King George V, that a moment of silence be observed on November 11 in honour of the dead of World War One.”
He explained that the first minute was thanksgiving for the survivors while the second minute was to remember the dead.
Wreaths were laid for the Chief of the Army, Navy and Air Force and Military Medical Health Services, the British High Commission laid a wreath and numerous veteran’s organisations laid wreaths, including the World Veterans’ Federation, the Council for Military Veterans’ Organisations, the SA Legion and the Memorable Order of Tin Hats (MOTH) as well as various corps of the Army, such as the Gunners and Sappers. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission was also represented.
Music was provided by the Kroonstad Band and according to tradition the Last Post and Reveille were played with the Lament performed by pipers of the SA Infantry Formation.
- Zuma awards medals to Battle of Bangui soldiers in celebration of Armed Forces Day
- Defence Force Service Commission members appointed
- Sad SAAF
- Major upgrade underway at 2 Military Hospital
- Department of Defence on recruitment and youth skills improvement
- New technology tribute to SS Mendi chaplain
- Cassidian's Eurofighter mission planning system protects pilots
- Sisulu condemns piracy
- IMO issues ship security guard guidance
- Mendi on second Copper deployment
Airbus Defence and Space announces management, organisational changes in Military Aircraft, A400M Business Segment
by AIRBUS Defence & Space, 30 January 2015
Fernando Alonso was named head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space.
Denel recognises young achievers who excel in maths, science
by Denel Corporate, 30 January 2015
Engineering students with bursaries from Denel were honoured at the Denel Young Achievers event.
Saab signs co-operation agreement with IBD Deisenroth Engineering
by Saab, 30 January 2015
The synergies in the companies' products will allow the co-operation agreement to provide advanced survivability solutions for land, sea and air applications.
High-power wideband jamming antennas
by Poynting Antennas, 29 January 2015
The Poynting Defence and Specialised's range includes the OMNI-A0201 and the OMNI-A0221, which are designed for vehicle-mount applications.
TH180 coming to HAI Heli-Expo
by Safomar Aviation, 28 January 2015
Enstrom will send the flying TH180 to the helicopter show in Orlando, USA, says Safomar Aviation.
South Tyrolean Tetra network for civil protection organisations to be expanded
by AIRBUS Defence & Space, 22 January 2015
The Tetra network in South Tyrol, Italy, will replace over 40 analogue communications systems currently used by the civil protection organisations.