Hollybrook Memorial: Southampton

The Hollybrook Memorial in Hollybrook Cemetery in Southampton, commemorates by name almost 1,900 servicemen and women of the Commonwealth land and air forces* whose graves are not known, many of whom were lost in transports or other vessels torpedoed or mined in home waters (*Officers and men of the Commonwealth’s navies who have no grave but the sea are commemorated on memorials elsewhere). The memorial also bears the names of those who were lost or buried at sea, or who died at home but whose bodies could not be recovered for burial. Almost one third of the names on the memorial are those of officers and men of the South African Native Labour Corps, who died when the troop transport Mendi sank in the Channel following a collision on 21 February 1917. (Text from Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Memorial at Hollybrook Cemetery in Southampton

Memorial at Hollybrook Cemetery in Southampton

The memorial makes for very sombre reading, especially when you consider that this is probably one of the only places where so many of these people are remembered. It covers both World Wars (there is also a dedicated WW2 plot in the Cemetery), and the highest ranking person on the memorial is Field Marshall Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, who died when the battle cruiser HMS Hampshire was mined and sunk off Scapa Flow on 5 June 1916, he is mentioned on plaque 01.

Mendi Corner

Mendi Corner (1497×752)

The Men of the Mendi are listed on plaques 3-19. Other ships of interest are the Union Castle ships Glenart and Galway Castle.

There are over 100 plaques on the memorial, testifying once again to the magnitude of the loss of life during the Two World Wars. It is a very thought provoking memorial, and a very special one to me as this is where the Mendi Men are remembered.

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