Year 5 have been exploring the significance of the S.S Mendi tragedy. They were shocked that the story of the Mendi, which is one of our biggest local naval disasters, is relatively unknown in the local area. This inspired the children to tell the story of the Mendi to the local community through the Rock Challenge competition (which they won last week)
The children felt that it was a huge injustice that the men were never awarded medals for the bravery shown and felt they wanted to do something to correct this. The children set about creating their own medals to award to the descendants of the Mendi in honour of the men who died and also wrote letters to Theresa May, explaining why it was important for them to do so.
In recognition of the work the children had done on the S.S Mendi, we were lucky enough to be invited to take some of our children to the centennial remembrance day at Hollybrook Cemetery last Monday. The children were proud to be able to pay their respects, creating a wreath to lay on behalf of our school. On the wreath, the children had crafted their own poppies and protea – the South African national flower.
After the ceremony, the children were delighted to meet HRH Princess Anne. The children were amazed by the wealth of knowledge the Princess Royal shared about the disaster.
The children were invited back to the reception, where they heard many stories of bravery from the descendants. The children were able to award their medals to the families of the men lost, which were gratefully received.
It was a really poignant, touching day that the children will remember forever. They understand that they are able to learn from the past and feel morally responsible to make a positive difference to the future – that is a lesson worth learning.