On 21 February 1917, at 05:00, this ship was rammed in the English Channel near the Isle of white; it was cut almost in half by the 11,000 ton cargo liner the SS Darro, causing the SS MENDI to sink.SS Mende A total of 607 Black South African soldiers and nine of their fellow countrymen, drowned in the disaster. After the War, none of the black servicemen on the Mendi, surviving or dead, was awarded a UK war medal. Nor was any other member of the South African Native Labour Corps, although their white officers were decorated. This was the result of a South African Government decision.