Private Levi Edge was a member of the Cheshire Regiment during WWII, serving with the 2nd Battalion. He was the son of Thomas and Sarah Jane Edge who lived in Tattenhall. He died on 14 November 1942 when the ship in which he was being transported as a POW, the ‘SS Scillin’, was intercepted and torpedoed by the British submarine P212 ‘HMS Sahib’. Private Levi Edge was 24 years old. His name was added to the Tattenhall War Memorial in 2005. He is also remembered on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt.
In context, it would seem that over 800 Allied POWs, including Private Levi Edge, were ordered into the cargo hold of the Italian transport ship ‘SS Scillin’, resulting in dreadful overcrowding and insanitary conditions. The ‘SS Scillin’ set sail from Tripoli (bound for Sicily) on 13 November 1942 and at 19.47hrs the following evening, 10 nautical miles north of Cape Milazzo, she was shelled and sunk by a single torpedo. Inevitably, those in the hold had little chance of survival, the torpedo having hit the hold itself. The British submarine ‘HMS Sahib’, captained by Lieutenant John Henry Bromage DSO DSC RN, rescued some 27 POWs, the SS Scillin’s Captain and 45 Italian crew members before having to leave the area with the approach of an enemy vessel.
It was reported that Lieutenant Bromage and his men were astonished and deeply shocked to find so many men in the water. The Log of the P212 ‘HMS Sahbib’ recorded ‘… it is known that the torpedo blew the bottom out of the hold in which the British were herded and that they died instantly …’. Lieutenant Bromage was completely absolved from any wrongdoing as the ‘SS Scillan’ was unmarked, unlit and, at that time, he firmly believed she was carrying Italian troops.
Private LEVI EDGE
4123979, 2nd Bn., Cheshire Regiment
Died 14 November 1942
Son of Thomas and Sarah Jane Edge of Tattenhall, Cheshire
Remembered with honour
ALAMEIN MEMORIAL, EGYPT
The campaign in the Western Desert was fought between the Commonwealth forces (with the addition of two brigades of Free French and one each of Polish and Greek troops) all based in Egypt, and the Axis forces (German and Italian) based in Libya. The battlefield across which the fighting surged back and forth between 1940-1942, was the 1000 kilometres of desert between Alexandria in Egypt and Benghazi in Libya. It was a campaign of manoeuvre and movement, the objectives being the control of the Mediterranean, the link with the east through the Suez Canal, the Middle East oil supplies and the supply route to Russia through Persia.
Our personal thanks to Levi Edge’s younger sister, ‘Nancy’, who supplied the photograph of Private Levi Edge shown above. ‘Nancy’s’ story appears in our Oral History section – Nancy is now 94 years old.
Our personal thanks also to Brian Sims for supplying the images of both the Scillin and the Memorial Plaque and for alerting us to his research.