The Aftermath

King George V with men of the South African Native Labour Corps.: Photograph courtesy of the South African National Museum of Military History.King George V with men of the South African Native Labour Corps.: Photograph courtesy of the South African National Museum of Military History.The South African parliament stood to mark the loss of the Mendi, the second worst loss of South Africans in World War One. An Inquiry was held and the Master of Darro was found to blame, but controversy raged as to why so few survived. The survivors, over 200 of them, were taken back to England before being assigned to other battalions and sailing for France to work in the docks and in construction.
 
They were the last men of the South African Native Labour Corps to be sent to Europe. The Armistice that ended the First World War came into effect at 11:00 a.m. on the 11th November, 1918.
 
After the War, none of the black servicemen on the Mendi, neither the survivors nor the dead, or any other members of the South African Native Labour Corps, received a British War Medal or a ribbon. Their white officers did. This was South African decision. Black members of the South African Labour Corps from the neighbouring British Protectorates of Basutoland (modern Lesotho), Bechuanaland (Botswana) and Swaziland did receive medals.
 
First World War Medal and RibbonFirst World War Medal and Ribbon