South African War Dead Honoured through New Technology
27 November 2013
The vast contribution made by South African servicemen and women
during the two world wars are revealed by the Commonwealth War
Graves Commission through its use of the latest mobile phone
The initiative is part of a drive by the Commission to ensure
that those who died, and in particular the lesser known
contributions made by South Africans, are never forgotten.
During the two world wars, South Africans from all sections of
society, made a vital contribution to allied victory. More than
21,000 of them died. The stories of some of these men and women
will be told using the latest smartphone technology at the
cemeteries and memorials around the globe where they are buried and
commemorated. Two of the latest sites to benefit from this
initiative are the Hollybrook Memorial in
Southampton, UK and Delville Wood
Cemetery in France.
Using new interactive panels - combined with a QR or Quick
Response barcode - the Commission is able to reveal the stories of
men like The Reverend Isaac Wauchope Dyobha and the tragic loss of
the SS Mendi, on which 616 South Africans died. The Reverend Dyobha
is reported to have calmed the men as the ship sank.
Click here to access
the story of Isaac Wauchope Dyobha
The SS Mendi left Cape Town on 25 January 1917, carrying the
last contingent of the South African Native Labour Corps destined
for France. In dense fog on the night of 21 February, the vessel
was struck by another ship and sank within 25 minutes. Many of
those who died on board the SS Mendi are commemorated by the
Commission at the Southampton (Hollybrook) Memorial in the United
Cemetery, near the site of the South African National Memorial
at Delville Wood in France, also features these new information
Click here to
access the story of Delville Wood Cemetery
The South African Infantry Brigade attacked Delville Wood in
July 1916 as part of the Battle of the Somme. The brigade initially
made strong gains before being checked by stiff German resistance.
Surrounded on three sides and ordered to hold the wood 'at all
costs', the South Africans fought without relief for six days. When
they were finally relieved, their ammunition completely spent, only
755 men from a force of 3,153 were left standing.
These two locations are among 500 worldwide where the Commission
is installing this new form of information panel. A further 16
panels are planned for cemeteries in South Africa and Namibia.
Click here to
read the full Media Release