We Die Like Brothers Education Resource Pack

In February 1917, the First World War troopship Mendi sank after a collision off the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. Almost 650 men, many of them black South Africans, perished in the freezing water. Their tragic sacrifice was not forgotten and is now seen in the modern ‘rainbow nation’ of South Africa as a symbol of the fight for justice and equality. In the UK, the wreck of the Mendi reminds us that the people of many nations fought alongside Britain and that our maritime heritage is a shared heritage.

This pack is part of the web presence of the We Die Like Brothers exhibition at the South African National War Memorial at Delville Wood on the Somme and has been funded by Historic England. It complements the teaching of history at Key Stage 3 (England) and Grades 7-9 (South Africa). It can be used to support a visit to Delville Wood or it can be used to explore the First World War in the classroom.

This pack includes:

Contents and Glossary Four posters:

  • The First World War 
  • The South African Native Labour Corps
  • The Loss of the Mendi
  • The Aftermath and the Mendi’s Legacy

8 Activities to further explore the Mendi and its legacy:

Image credits: Underwater image by Martine Davis Historic images © Cory Library/Rhodes University/Africa Media Online