Grahamstown and The Mendi: more who died
There are many people alive today who are descendants of troops who went down on The Mendi. I was surprised to discover that I am one of them.
Through Gloria Emslie’s “Robert Emslie 1820 Settler” (the family register 1820-2000), I discovered that I was related to Samuel Emslie. He had been recruited into the army in Umtata in his retirement, aged about 61 years, after a career as a detective officer. Once enlisted, he held the rank of Lt “C” Company, 5th Battalion, SA Native Labour Corps, and must have been a fluent isiXhosa speaker.
His father was William Kenward Emslie and the brother of my great-great grandmother, Jane Emslie Wilmot. His wife died nine months after he did, leaving seven children.
I know that he would have lived a relatively privileged life in Umtata and as an officer on The Mendi, but it would seem appropriate to award the Order of The Mendi to all the families of those who lost men in that disaster.
Adrienne Whisson (one of many descendants of the Emslie family)