The ship bell of the SS Mendi discovered decades after the ship went down

The bell of a ship that killed 616 South Africans, the SS Mendi, has been found. The ship went missing decades ago carrying soldiers who had gone to fight in the first world war.

The author of a book We die like brothers: The sinking of the SS Mendi, John Gribble, says the bell had been on the seabed for decades because it is believed it went down with the ship.

It is reported that a British radio broadcaster received an anonymous tip of the whereabouts of the bell. Gribble says it seems someone must have found the bell years ago.

The shipwreck was found by divers in 1976.

He says the wreck had no legal protection and divers would go down to it and take some of the items from it. Some items were kept in museums and pubs. He suspects that the bell was also found by one of the divers who lilely kept it.

Read: Story of SS Mendi comes to life in new film

Read: SA soldiers who died in SS Mendi tragedy remembered

Also read: Book 'Dancing the Death Drill' re-imagines sinking of the SS Mendi 100 years ago

When doing research for the book, divers often scratched their heads about the fact that the bell had never been recovered.

John Gribble, author of a book We die like brothers: The sinking of the SS Mendi

Now we know that it was probable recovered about 20-30 years ago and its been sitting in someones house.

John Gribble, author of a book We die like brothers: The sinking of the SS Mendi

To hear more of this interview, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : The ship bell of the SS Mendi discovered decades after the ship went down


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